Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Being

Yesterday I posted a note about feelings, what my friend Andrew rated a "three-finger gag reflex" note. Seems I'm not done writing about this stuff, 'cuz here I am again at the keyboard.

A trainer at a recent workshop got a good chuckle out of me when he said, "Women are human beings, men are human doers. I laughed, and I've used that line a few times with clients myself. It just kinda nails it, doesn't it?

This morning, the Little One and I were discussing art. She was heading out on a field trip to an art museum. She has received some recognition for her art work, and she has quite a grasp of all things artistic. We agreed that art wasn't all about what is pleasing to the recipient, but also about how it serves as an expression of the artist.

That's when it hit me - that's when I realized why I have such trouble reigning in my emotions and keeping them under lock and key. Deep down in my inner core, beneath the good grades and the smooth delivery and the attention to grooming, is an artist. And art is reduced to simple elements of technique without emotion.

Dance is just an exercise in kinetics without feeling. Music can be dissected into math and physics without mood. Paintings that are mere representations of objects are no better then photographs. Exclude the descriptive words from an essay and you are left with an article for a technical journal. Tell a story without emotion, and you resemble my college government professor. Boring. Sterile.

I don't want to be sterile. I don't want to be neat and clean and tidy. I don't even want to be pleasant. I want to be messy. I want to be flawed. I want to be real. If I decide I care for you, I want to reach inside of you, grab you by the gut, and shake you up.

I don't want to just go through life accomplishing tasks. I want to be a human being, not a human doer. That's what I want.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Never Grow Up

This morning the Not-So-Little-One performed a tap routine for her peers in the school talent show. Since I see clients on Thursday evenings and will be unable to attend the real show tomorrow night, I sat with the students and watched.

There was some pretty surprising talent among those 11 and 12 year olds. I watched dancers, gaped in utter amazement at a classical piano movement, laughed at a comedy routine, listened intently to Spanish guitar, patted my foot along with electric guitars, was duly impressed with a cellist, and pondered once again the origins of baton twirling.

The Not-So-Little-One has an admirer, a boy that phones her incessantly and follows her around like a puppy at school. She is too nice to tell him to back off, although she has admitted to being quite annoyed with this uninvited attention.

The admirer happened to be sitting on the floor near me at the show this morning.

When the Not-So-Little-One took command of the stage, the admirer sat bolt upright. (I think I might have even heard him gasp.) And then, when she flashed that million-watt smile of hers, I watched him just melt into the floor.

And it all came rushing back to me. I was 12 all over again and pining… no, aching… for some boy. I remembered and heard and smelled and tasted and felt everything as if it were 1974 and I were right back in the school cafeteria, stealing glances at Gary Maxwell as we assembled year books.

For me, memory has always been more emotion and sensation than events. Has this ever happened to you? You step outside and the temperature and sunlight and sounds are just exactly right, and you are suddenly transported to your second-grade classroom...

It seems like just yesterday I was melting into a puddle as I watched the object of my desire stride toward me. And it wasn’t long ago at all that I felt big, cool, drops splatter on my face as I kissed the love of my life in the summer rain - the warmth of his embrace warding off the chill of the water, laughter bubbling out of me and taking hold of his annoyance and smoothing it from his brow.

Some people equate emotions with immaturity. For many of those folks, emotional maturity resembles taking your feelings by the throat, stuffing them into a sound-proof vault, and bolting the door shut. (Just picture a Klingon and a Vulcan at opposite ends of an emotional spectrum.)

If that is maturity, then I don’t ever intend to grow up. I want to feel every feeling, recall every sensation, replay every meaningful memory, and be young in my mind and in my heart forever. And when I believe I really need to act like a grown up, I’ll figure out how to have all of that without annoying the people around me… too much.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dancing Queens

The girls (and their parents) survived the second dance competition of the year and are looking forward to recital in a few weeks. Here are the spectacular results from Midwest City, OK:

Little Less Conversation (tap) - gold achievement

Blackbird (ballet) - high gold achievement

Ain't Nothin' Wrong with That (jazz) - high gold schievement, fifth overall Division 2 large group

Gravity (lyrical) - high gold achievement, fourth overall Division 2 large group

School of Rock (production) - high gold achievement

A special thank you to Mikel's sister and nieces (and great niece) for driving down from Kansas to cheer the girls on. It meant so much to all of us.

Year Nine, here we come!