This blog first appeared at Indie-Visible as part of the My Big Mouth column.
The older I get the more convinced I am that I should be making significant, chartable spiritual progress, especially as I was raised without religion and have yet to adopt one (unless you count occasional psychic reading/shamanic clearing/energy workshops pursued in my twenties). My friend Alegra calls my evolution “consistent, erratic progression.” But the more I try to find myself spiritually, the more I’m drawn into the world of my body, which almost all traditions agree means the least in the final pass to the Great Beyond.
You can’t take it with you.
But you can shake its booty to pop music.
That’s right, it’s in my exercise classes–a hybrid of hip-hop and world dance styles–taught by one of my besties, Suzi, her purple hair flying, her torso flexing in three different directions at once, that I feel most “at one” with myself.
I used to hate pop music—synthetic beats, syrupy lyrics, because I was still a yearning poet-soul full of Deep Dark Meaning that needed expression (best done wearing black, while artfully scribbling into huge journals).
So I spent three decades expressing it. But two years after my son was born (he’s 4), my body then melted into a lethargic mass of breastfeeding and sleep deprivation, toddler babble and kid-song, these new voices in class began speaking to me in breathy falsettos set to bass beats; they sang about love-at-first-bar-sighting and freaks in da club. The bass thump matched my heartbeat and stirred parts of me that had always felt coltish and goofy into an illusion of competence.
My body and I have always had an awkward relationship. To wit: I have calves carved out of matchsticks, and a boy I had a mad crush on in sixth grade once called me “tic-tac-tits.” Out loud. In a classroom full of my peers.
The only avenue of my enlightenment I’ve managed to walk since middle school is the understanding that most of what we think matters about our bodies, matters to no one but ourselves. And most of the time we think we are making a fool of ourselves, others are enviously looking on wishing they had the courage to do the same or not care what others think.
Pop music, and the dance classes I’ve found it in, has freed me. When I come away from class, I’m clear, baby—strangely free of the troubles and insecurities that lock themselves into my limbs, making me graceless and dorky.
Because of this newfound liberation I’m proud, not embarrassed, to have been caught mid crotch-thrust on the latest front page of my small town newspaper doing a flashmob to a Korean pop song.
My body may not bring me any rewards in the Great Beyond, but in the Here, Right Now, I’m learning how to dance (Gangnam style).
(Photo Credit: Lora Schraft, Morgan Hill Times.)