Thursday, February 28, 2008

My First Ailey Experience

I had the fortunate luck to attend a student show of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The best part was that I went as a chaperone with a group of high school ladies and attended the show for free.

I am happy I waited until now to see Ailey for the first time because I appreciated it so much more after beginning to study dance. The control of some of the dancers was outstanding! I can only dream that I will be able to become half as good. Maybe one day I will be able to do the leap pictured above :) (Ha!)

The student show took place during the day and was only about an hour long. I look forward to next year's calendar, when I will make sure to attend a regular show. (and probably attend the student show as well ;-)

I was completely mesmerized watching them, and they were wonderful inspiration for my own show later this weekend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Smashing Stereotypes

My dance troupe recently performed with a Master Chorale. It was extremely interesting and liberating.

Let's set the scene, our very eclectic, colorful and very African-American troupe performed at a Jewish temple with an all Caucasian chorus.

Not amused yet? Hold on.

The chorus performed Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes and Mack Wilberg’s Dances to Life complete with two Steinway pianists as we danced very lyrical and ballet heavy numbers complete with high lifts and throws. Mesh all of that together for a very entertaining Sunday afternoon.

Now, if we can only get a copy of the DVD. Judging from the conversations of the patrons after the show, I am more than positive there are some hilarious looks on the faces of the crowd ;-)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love…Liberating or Limiting?

This was the timely topic of interest for Valentine's Day on a natural hair board I frequent. I had tossed around a few subjects for my next post and settled on this one since it has been weighing on me a lot lately.

Love and relationships should never be just flat out hard. Love is a choice that is made and given freely without expectations. You can love someone and not spend your life with them as a spouse or significant other. You can also love someone and not have them love you in return. I know plenty of people who say that their relationship is hard and trying all the time. I can’t help but ask why? I had a teacher in high school whose favorite quote was “Love should make you happy 90% of the time.” When complaining to a friend about my own relationship, this quote came back to me in a light bulb moment.

Maybe we do force ourselves to be in relationships that are not healthy. Often we get caught up in looks, the feeling of loneliness and the “I’m ready to be married/have a family because I’m _____ years old” mentality.

Love should come easily and should not be limiting. I was in a relationship that mirrored who I was and I did not like what I saw. Anger, emotional abuse, jealousy, trust issues and neediness that surpassed all traits of love. Imagine tensing up every time your spouse walks in the door? Crazy, right? Ironically, I receive the best kind of love from my friends. We have many conversations on the fact that you may pick your friends with greater sincerity than you pick your partner/spouse. Let me explain.

One of my friends is a man who I have known for almost 20 years. We made the decision to remain “just friends” about 4 years into our friendship. I love my friend tremendously and he has become a family member to me. We do not have to talk everyday or even once a month, but we always seem to find each other when one of us needs emotional support. We have no expectations on the other person; we are free to be the person we are rather it be weak, strong, hurtful or prideful. I was asked if we became friends because we wanted to have the other person in our lives for a lifetime and I had to think about it.

We have been friends through failed relationships, marriages, separations, deaths, births and career changes. I am sure we will continue to be friends for a long to come, so the answer would be yes. Yes, I picked him as a friend so I would have him in my life forever.

If friendships can be so liberating why can’t relationships? Do we really make a bigger investment in choosing our friends than we do our mates?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Used, Abused and Rescued

This is my Shiba Inu doing what he does best, relaxing. He is happy, spoiled in fact. He has his own room (his crate which hardly ever has the door closed), he has a toy box overflowing with toys that I constantly replenish (more on that later) and he goes for long walks and hikes with me regularly. I even participate with a Shiba Inu group of owners who get together to let their dogs play. When I look at him I sometimes think of everything he encountered before he came to live with me.

He is a rescue, meaning he went to a home as a young puppy. His original owner decided he would not fit into the life they envisioned and returned him to his breeder. He stayed with his breeder for four months until he came to live with me. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting him, he is a beautiful dog. Even though he can be a handful at times, he makes it bearable to enter an empty home after a long day of work.

This is my Guinea Pig who is also a rescue (in his upside down house he's chewed on ;-). He was supposed to be a pet for a friend’s daughter, but somehow ended up with me as well. He is my first guinea pig and is a learning experience. Like my Shiba, he first went to a home and after fathering a litter was returned to the pet store unwanted. He is also spoiled and has trained me to give him carrots when he bites at his cage and squeals (which brings my Shiba like he called his name).

I look around my house and realize that all of the living creatures that dwell there have been rescued. We are an interesting group, often misunderstood and returned because we were not what the original owners expected. How was I returned? I have separated from the person I thought I would spend my life with. Now, I understand that some people think that I have been returned and deem me used or unworthy.

Often people say that divorce or separation means that you are forever the spouse of the person you originally married. I am not sure I agree for a variety of reasons. Mainly because many of us enter into relationships knowing that we should not be there. We see the warning signs before we walk down the aisle but in an effort to save face and get what we desire, we make that walk anyway and spend countless years wondering why it just does not work out.

A friend of a friend once said “When it is wrong there is nothing you can do to make it right.” That is the only thing she says that I totally agree with. So now that I have been returned, I wonder how long it will take me to entertain the possibility of sharing my life again.

Right now I am happy with building my friendships and strengthening the other relationships I have neglected while trying to make my failing marriage work. But, God heals all and forgives all, right?