my journey with truth

Archive for the ‘dancing’ Category

**NOTE: This post was started in December of 2010.  It used to begin like this: I got my hair cut in October.  Why am I writing about it now?  Because I’m finally able to embrace it without crying, basically.  Yes, yes.  I cried myself to sleep three nights in a row after the incident.  Three nights.  In a row.  Me, in bed, crying quiet tears about my hair.  My hair.  Not the people of the world suffering – my hair.  But see, hair is like a secret power.  Hair is a stronghold.  Hair is a treasure.  It’s like the plumage of the human body.  And like Samson, my October haircut sapped my strength.

Now, it continues, a year and a half after the haircut incident… but then, that’s partly what this post is all about:  I asked around about a new place to get my hair cut because the last place I went in Durham I had the most boring haircut ever, and my hair had finally grown out from my first above-the-shoulders cut since 7th grade two summers before in Corpus Christi.  That looked cute:

but the inbetween phase was killing me.  And I’d finally grown out some length that needed to be shaped.  Anyway, I asked around about where to go, and a place in Chapel Hill called Moshi Moshi was recommended by a couple people.

So, I went.  And this is nothing against that place, I’m not reviewing it, per se.  But I got the world’s worst haircut.  Seriously.  I guess it was super “in” at the time, especially with hipsters and people who like to trash their hair to make a statement, or a sort of homage to many decades past – part 80s rock, part 70s lady-mullet, part 90s Rachel Green/Jennifer Aniston.  But mostly it was awful.  It was like a sort of nice haircut down to just above my shoulders and then this long single layer of hair that stuck out about 4 inches beyond the rest of the hair.  But there were layers (uneven, chunky ones) cut above my ears, for crying out loud.  Which might be okay if my hair is cut above my shoulders overall, but there was still length.  Awkward length.  And she just. kept. cutting.  (I will say this, though: I had some sexy, sexy bangs going on).  I don’t think I’ve ever had a haircut take so long.  I kept thinking “I don’t have this much hair to cut, lady… WHAT THE DEUCE ARE YOU DOING?”

But of course, I didn’t say a word.  When she asked what I thought, I tried to keep from imploding on the spot, grabbed my coat, and wrote her an obscenely large check in part because I just wanted to get out of there and didn’t want to think about what the tip actually should’ve been.  I’ve always had some combination of believing the hair person knows what they’re doing better than I do, a fear of confrontation and disturbing the peace of just swallowing it down and moving on, and the fact that after it’s done… it’s done and you’re supposed to pay that person for their services (and I know that I’m saying I was dissatisfied but see the previous parts of the combination that lead to me not ever saying anything to the hair person).

It was awful, though.  I remember calling Charlotte and heading to school after bobby-pinning the crap out of it, and she and Amy and Morgan are all trying to be helpful and positive and then I take down the bobby pins and everyone’s face is revealing the tension with which they are trying to maintain a sort of positive face and then Charlotte finally says “Yeah, I’d invest in bobby pins for the near future.”

Fast forward 4 months and I’m finally ready to let someone else try to touch up and correct the haircut (I have a thing about not really liking my hair short if that’s not already clear, so I didn’t feel like I could go to anyone to get the world’s worst haircut fixed because it would just mean chopping off most of my hair.  It stems in part from the fact that my mom made me keep this one chili-bowl haircut for all of childhood [see pic]

which in retrospect looks kind of sweet, but I was always jealous of Rachel’s long, luscious locks).  I have never given so much instruction before a haircut in my life.  I told the whole story, gesturing to my still-ugly hair, which by the way had always laid straight before and had picked up this weird habit of just always looking unbrushed no matter what I did.  The following 40 minutes was the most vindicating moment of my life aside from 8th grade when I was accused of cheating on a math test and then got a 100 on the replacement test they made me take.  She kept holding up pieces of hair and saying “See these?  They should be the same length.”  And then she said after a bit “…did… she… THIN your hair?” and I said “well she just kept going with that razor blade” and she freaked out and said “WHY would she use a razor on your hair??  You have the completely wrong texture of hair for that.  You should never use a razor to layer fine hair.”

So.  A year and a half later, I’m finally able to talk about it.  I mean, mostly I’m embarrassed now that I cried so much over my hair.  But the thing is, I’ve learned this isn’t an uncommon thing.  A woman in a class I go to on Sundays said when she heard the passage in Matthew about reconciling yourself to your brother or sister before laying your offering at the altar, she thought of how it took her TWO YEARS to go back to her hairdresser and talk to her about how she’d cut her hair too short.  And it’s not just women.  My friends Brian and Maggie visited me last Sunday and he told a story about trimming his beard really close (it was still there, just really short) and when Maggie got home, he kept asking “Do I look like a woman?” and staring off into nothingness about it.

What is it about our hair?

I think for myself, I can say that because I have long-held self-esteem issues about my appearance, there has always been my hair.  It’s blonde, naturally, which is supposedly a unicorn of sorts (though it’s getting dirtier and I kind of want to dye it all the way dark brown but that’s a whole other post about how I don’t know if I could basically give up being a blonde since hair never really goes quite back to what it was before once you mess with it chemically).  It lays straight without much effort (or used to).  It can be manipulated into all sorts of styles.  Yeah, my hair has been a physical refuge for me.  A stronghold.  It was my pretty part when all I could think about the rest of my body was “ugh.”

So, seriously strange, just weeks before my haircut incident, Willow Smith released “Whip My Hair,” weeks shy, herself, from being 10 years old.  Now, while she didn’t write the song, I have to give credit to the little sassy sasserson for her sense of self and willingness to do what she wants without really caring about convention.  The song suits her.  And she has some mad dance skillz in the video besides the actual hair whipping part.

I have to say I appreciate the gist of things lyrically, despite the hook being, as some describe, “grating” and “a nightmare of a brain drill.”  She knows that there’s power in the hair, too.  But she knows something more:

Don’t let haters keep me off my grind
Keep my head up and I know I’ll be fine
Keep fighting until I get there
Am down and I feel like giving up

I whip my hair back and forth…

All my ladies, if you feel me
Do it, do it, whip your hair
Don’t matter if it’s long, short
Do it, do it, whip your hair

A freaking 9-year-old knew better how to be herself and claim herself while I was crying in my bed 3 nights in a row.  She’s saying I can whip my hair back and forth no matter what it looks like, and I think that basically the whipping is a metaphor.  A year and a half later, I still can’t really tell you what that means fully.  But this is the truth I’ve come to understand via grieving my hair and listening to the wisdom of Willow Smith: I’m awesome no matter what my hair looks like.  I’m awesome even though I’m overweight.  I’m awesome even though I’m a pastor and that apparently makes a lot of people uncomfortable (which in turn, and I don’t think people realize this, makes me uncomfortable like I’m the one actually being judged for being assumed to be a judgy person myself).  I’m awesome even though I am not very good at sports.  I’m awesome even though I live alone with my cat.  I’m awesome.  I’m awesome no matter what my hair looks like.

Sidenote: I have these AMAZING new, big, argon oil hot rollers that make my hair look FANTASTIC.  But I’d be awesome without them too.

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If I’m completely honest, I should say that sometimes I wonder if I’m going to end up alone.  And sometimes I wonder if the only way I won’t end up alone is to settle for not being alone as opposed to being with someone who truly delights me.  I’ve been thinking of these things especially since moving to Smithville.  At times it seems like the balance for loving this little town is that I have to give up finding someone while I live here, and so the more I long to stay here in this appointment for a longer duration, the more I feel like I am giving up some piece of my hope for a partner in this life.  Because we all know that you can’t have everything, that nothing is perfect.

Then I met my friend Tina and her husband Andy.  They are lovely.  I mean, Tina is my friend and all, so of course I like her.  And you’d think whoever she’s married to would have to be great.  But no, really.  They, together, are lovely and wonderful.  And their love story is delightful.  And everything about their story actually sounds like a sweet, sweet story you couldn’t write better, and Tina has said that everything she wanted in a partner she has in Andy – so they seriously are like the closest thing to perfect for each other.

One night, I confessed a little to Tina that there are times I feel like I should give up dreaming of some “perfect-for-me” guy.  And that at times the dreaming I do sort of feels like that scene towards the beginning of Practical Magic where Sally makes up characteristics about a man who is to be her true love, but all the characteristics are too much or too silly for one person to actually exist with them all.  So that even if I kept dreaming, what good would it do?  What man could fulfill 26 years of dreaming?  It’s not just unfair to me, it’s unfair to men, right?  So sometimes I think I should give up dreaming up with whom I want to share my life.

That’s when Tina was all “Bullshit.  Keep dreaming.”  And I thought of her and Andy.  And so I confessed to her that I actually had written a letter to Santa a little over a year ago, sort of as a catharsis as writing exercises often tend to be (hello, blog).  I said I should probably tell her the list because she’s obviously got good man mojo (and she actually kind of has generally good mojo for getting things done or bringing good to her when she’s made up her mind about something).  So here’s the letter for you all.  Judge me all you want.  Or find me this man:

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is a man to share my life with.  He doesn’t need to want to get married right away, but I do not want a man who does not want me for the long-term.  It would be great if he could have as many of the following characteristics as possible:

  • wears a good cologne
  • calls me ‘sugar’ or any variation of ‘sugar’
  • perceives me as sassy and/or feisty and likes that about me
  • frequently be found to be wearing a dress shirt and tie, a dress shirt with a sweater over it, a dress shirt and sweater vest
  • have played football or soccer when younger, maybe baseball
  • be a really good kisser
  • doesn’t back down and is passionate about what he believes and loves
  • preferably not an only child
  • knows how to tease me about stupid stuff
  • holds my hand
  • has a dog, but not a crusty small kind (not required, but doesn’t like animals is a deal-breaker)
  • has a little bit of a fix-it gene of some sort, even if it is computer-related
  • gets me flowers every now and then
  • is Methodist? that may be asking too much.  Could you find one that understands my vocation and still loves me?
  • likes to dance
  • loves his family
  • likes to go out and be with friends
  • pushes me to be more outdoorsy
  • cares about broken things in the world
  • likes to travel and explore new places
  • cooks and likes to cook together, preferably with loud music in the background
  • lets me sit in his lap to do the crossword together
  • tells me lots of stories from when he was younger
  • likes to argue a little bit

I know this is a lot to ask, and I plan to keep thinking about it.  Of course, it’s probably too late for this Christmas, but maybe you could try by next year?

Lots of love and I’m trying to be a very good girl,
Lizzie

Dear Beatrice,
Wuz [up arrow]?  I’m sorry that I haven’t written for a while.  Yesterday was another cotillion.  The theme was western.  I like Ian so much.  I’m really thankful for the song Garth Brooks sings called “Unanswered Prayers.”  It makes me think that my boyfriends and husband are so special that I have to wait for them.  Ian likes Sarah and Sarah rubs it in.  I just wish someone nice, sweet, sensitive, funny and cute as Ian seriously liked me.  Maybe it is okay not to have anyone like you.  Besides, all most guys I know are jerks.  I should feel lucky.  Last night I spent the night at Sarah’s house.  I stayed until about 5:30 today.  Mom & Dad don’t know but I called Ian and Sarah and I talked to him alot [sic] of the afternoon.  Rachel went to see “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” with friends yesterday night.  She’s going to babysit Cassady Spruill [Spruiell, actually] tonight.  The only change in my favorites is that my favorite songs are “These Arms” & “Unanswered Prayers.”

Lizzie  😦

Aside from the fact that I kind of threw up a little in my mouth when I read the first line about “Unanswered Prayers” and the sentence that follows it, I am drawn to the line

Maybe it is okay not to have anyone like you.

See, the lines after that are a clear, overt attempt to convince myself that it might be ok to not have anyone like me.  It’s all very ‘rawr boys are stupid rawr rawr.’  But I feel like that ‘maybe’ statement is an honest wondering of sorts.  Like for the first time in a while it seemed less than a stretch to think it might be okay not to have anyone like me.

Maybe it is okay not to have anyone like you.  Maybe it is okay not to have anyone like me.  Hmm.  Maybe.  Maybe it is o-kay.

You know, maybe it is okay not to have anyone like me.  I’ve had a history of yo-yo’ing with this.  For a while, I was on this free dating/social site, okcupid.com.  I saw it mostly as a way to widen the pool of possibilities while being able to sort of pre-screen people.  I mean, I go out (on the prowl) and I meet other people who are out (on the prowl).  But inevitably, 80% of the time the conversation goes

[him] So what do you do?
[me] I’m a grad student.
[him] Duke?
[me] Yep, what about you?
[him] Yeah, I’m insert-profession-or-area-of-study-that-the-world-takes-more-seriously-than-the-study-of-theology-and/or-pays-a-much-prettier-penny
[me] Cool, so do you…
[him] (interrupting) What do you study?
[me] (pauuuuuuuuuuse and internal reflection “Ughhhhhhhhhhh here goes)…………Theology.
[him] Theology.  What kind of degree do you get with that? (Read: Is that something people actually study?)
[me] I’m getting a Masters of Divinity, which is the practical degree as opposed to the type of theological degree which is more like prep for work in Academia.
[him] Oh.  So…um…what are you going to do with that?
[me] (smile and pauuuuuuuuuuuuse “goodbye”)…….Well.  I’m pursuing ordination as an elder in the United Methodist Church, so I’m studying to become a pastor.
[him] Wow, that’s… great (he says as he takes small steps away and points in an ambiguous direction at his “buddies” who were waiting for him) [OR] (insert some sort of statement about how he’s been meaning to go back to church and his brother-in-law chairs some sort of committee or other strange reference to churchiness) [OR] (the rare but brain-scarring instances when he actually says something about whether or not I’m allowed to kiss/getmarried/havesex/somethingelsethatmakesmethinkohmygoshpleasestoptalkingandletmewalkawaynow)

So yeah.  I saw okcupid as a chance to maybe get past some of that awkwardness and poll the field, so-to-speak.  I’d chat or exchange a few messages and then try to set up coffee or dinner or something.  And I never tolerated anyone who tried to stall the first meeting.  That, my friends, is a major red flag.  You know if he’s not willing to meet that he is either killing the neighborhood cats by night or working for the CIA, and I don’t need that drama either way.  The problem with this set-up was that I felt like I had to put way too much time and effort into something that’s ideally organic (out of probably 50 solid exchanges – not creeeper from the start ones – before I swore off the site, I went on dates with only 4 different guys partly because it seemed like the conversation went the same as in real life only even more frequently, like 99% of the time.  UGH.).

So when I go the organic route, I inevitably find myself pining away for a menu of boys who usually fit the 4 different roles of:
1. that boy who lives far far away and treats me like a bottomless pit into which he can pour his soul day after day yet also as second-string to some other girl who’s much more petite, is “unsure” of her interest for far-far-away-boy and always seems to be brunette somehow (which is just puzzling, not a commentary on blonde-brunette relations)
2. Dreamy McDreamerson who is not just the cutest boy in school or smart or witty or passionate about something incredibly endearing but ALL OF THE ABOVE and then some, including a little mysterious or something, and somehow the girl at school that all the boys like can’t even get him
3. The One with the Long-Distance Girlfriend Who also has Opposite Political Views but is a HUGE FLIRT.  Pretty self-explanatory and self-destructive when I get wound up in that one… and then there’s
4. The all-around, really great, 80% of everything is in common and the other 20% is still interesting, not-too-far out of my league, hours can be spent together, friend.  This is the one I fall the hardest for but usually avoid the most because it’s the one that hurts the worst since it seems so right but doesn’t work out somehow.  This is the one I wait a LOT longer to confide to girlfriends about.  This is the one where I end up acting like a middle school girl again.

Right now there is one of each of these types of boys in my life and occasionally (read: too frequently) on my mind.  And just like I had an “UGH! This is a total waste of time” moment with the online stuff when I felt like I was wasting way too much energy trying to make myself seem wantable to a wide audience of crappiness, I have these moments occasionally (read: too infrequently) when I think “UGH! This is a total waste of time” because, after all, I should have someone who feels like they’ve been hit over the head with a sledgehammer when they meet me (that’s a Gidget reference; fastforward to 4 minutes).

So see, if the only options are a guy that’s just not that into me (whether he’s a 1,2, 3, or 4), then maybe it is ok to not have anyone like me. It’s just not worth it to invest so much in someone who doesn’t think I’m amazing, who putzes around and makes me feel worse about myself than better.  Not to be trite, but being trite nonetheless, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, “I’m looking for love.  Real love.  Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love” (though maybe a little less co-dependent…).  And if that’s not what boy #1, 2, 3, or 4 is offering, then maybe it is okay not to have anyone like me.

And just in case you’re wondering, I think Ian probably counted as a version of #1, the Far-far-away boy since he went to a different middle school and he liked Sarah, who kissed him but never really liked him back and happened to be a brunette.

Dear Beatrice,
Sorry I haven’t written in a long time.  I need to update my favorites.  The only difference is that instead of Blake Cash being my favorite guy, Ian Witherspoon as my favorite guy.  He has longish (sort of) brown hair with the most beautiful blue
eyes I have ever seen.  He has braces and the best smile.  The only problem is he likes Sarah, I think.  He asked her to dance with him at the sock hop/cotillion.  Today I went bowling instead of P.E. and Connections.  This Sunday is Super Bowl XXXI.  Greenbay is playing the Patriots.  I guess that’s all I have to say for now.  I ❤ IAN WITHERSPOON!!!!

See Ya,
Lizzie

I ❤ I.W.

Oh right.  I think I remember Ian Witherspoon.  He was sort of medium-cute…

J/K!  I TOTALLY remember Ian Witherspoon.  Though I only really saw him at the monthly cotillion dances, I was pretty smitten by his blue (why underline that adjective?) eyes, and the fact that he was super nice, not that distant or impersonal, more-like-tolerant kind of nice.  Plus, I think I remember he laughed a lot at my jokes (and if you know me at all, you know how much laughing at my jokes can totally transform my esteem for a person).

And I think I liked the idea that if we ended up getting married, I could keep my initials.  I guess it’s ok we didn’t end up together since I’m probably keeping my name.  No need to keep Ian around to keep my initials.

I took ballet as a child from Ms. Bobbie at the Comfort Hermann Sons Dance School.  Believe it or not, Ms. Bobbie still runs the whole show (see this flier, bottom right corner).  Either she’s ancient or she was succeeded by another Ms. Bobbie.  Either way, I’m kind of not shocked.

I was a very meticulous 5 year old in ballet.  My mom always says I looked so serious because I was concentrating on getting everything right, but then, I got everything right.  That was a time in my life when I felt good about my body.  Even as a little girl, I knew I was a little bit bigger than the other girls in my class, but I was good at ballet.  I could do all the moves.  I was a little hesitant when we did “gymnastics” (somersaults and cartwheels) at the end of each class, but otherwise, I felt just right.  My body felt just right.  My body was technically the best in the class.  And my body looked amazing in those recital outfits.  My body was transformed into a princess’s body.  The shirt I’m wearing below used to be my cover-up shirt – that’s the one you wear over your black leotard and pink tights before and after class.  It used to go down to my knees.  I also used to fit on playgrounds.

We moved from Comfort when I was 7.  I never really got back into dance after that move.  I had also been playing tee ball before the move (only girl on my team and a slugger of sorts), and should have moved up to softball the next year.  But we moved.  And I never really got back into a sport after that, either.  All the kids in my new neighborhood swam (I cheered the Forest Oaks Frogs at many a meet) and it seemed like you needed to have been swimming for years to keep up – next to no one even had a pool in Comfort, TX.  The active things that had made my body capable or even a little talented were gone, so all I was left with was the part where I remembered and saw my body as bigger.  And soon that came to mean it was incapable and untalented.  It was just big.

Nearly 20 years later, enter Ninth Street Dance Studio.

“Ninth Street Dance opened its doors in 1993 with the belief that people of all ages, shapes and sizes can enjoy and benefit from learning to dance. Not a studio for professional dancers, we invite anyone who would like to explore new ways of moving and inhabiting their bodies to join us. We strive to provide a nurturing, non-threatening environment in which beginners as well as experienced dancers/movers can enjoy their favorite movement styles or try out a wide variety of new ones.”

I take beginner ballet on Thursdays with Raina and Saturdays with Danielle.  For 60 short minutes twice a week, I feel long and graceful.  Even when I look in the mirror and remember I’m short and wide, I see my arms and my legs doing the right thing, and I’m still graceful.  Grace-full, I should say.  For 60 short minutes twice a week, I gracefully give my body a little slack for being short and wide.  It doesn’t have to be anything other than what it already is.  Even short and wide my body is able to turn my feet out into 1st position, my arms curve well and not stiffly en bas or in 5th position (don’t forget to keep your shoulders down).  For 60 short minutes twice a week, I love my body for knowing how to move rhythmically, keeping time without thinking about it – it’s just something it knows how to do, even if it is short and wide.

I am not a ballerina.  That is the harsh truth.  I have terrible flexibility – you can see it in my demi-plié, which is shallow (if I try to dip just a little bit farther, keeping my pelvis tucked under and not sticking out my butt, that means my heels have to try desperately to stay grounded so as not to cross over into grand-plié in 1st position) but maintains good form.  My feet don’t curve as much as I’d like them to for that beautiful shape ballerinas make in tendu or dégagé, but they curve and my big toe just touches and I strain to keep my turnout, imagining my ankles being pulled forward (as Raina reminds me).

I am not a ballerina.  But for 60 short minutes twice a week, my short, wide body is long and grace-full.



  • None
  • myjourneywithtruth: i had it in my office at my internship in Corpus Christi two summers ago. ellen davis is brilliant and glows with an aura of holy.
  • amy h: i love this quote. i think i may need it hanging on my wall where i'll see it daily. perhaps in front of the toilet? by the door? bedside table? i'll
  • chaz: That post made me really sad too. Mostly because I want to take young Lizzie by the shoulders and shake her (gently?) into sublime realization that sh

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