WELL CRAP, NOW I'M TOO WHITE - Part 3: My CON-Fusing Search To Find Home
If you're just joining us, I highly recommend that you read these first:
--THE GREAT "WHITE BELLY DANCER" WAR OF 2014
--IF *I'M* NOT WHITE ENOUGH?! - Then Yeah, Houston, We Have a Problem
--IF *I'M* NOT WHITE ENOUGH?! - Part 2: A French Canadian in MN vs. CO
I know I'm late to this party. At first, it was because I did way more listening and journaling than popping off with my immediate reactions. Then I needed to put this topic away for awhile and let the shifts truly settle inside me. Finally, it's taken a long time to edit because it's too important a subject to slap my thoughts and feelings out there without taking the time to examine them from a myriad different angles.
But here I am. Finally.
Gah. This is such a long post. I should chop it up. I've already done that four times. I'm not doing it again.
Because I'm not only late to this party that blew up over the summer (and that didn't disappear just because an election season happened). As we covered in the first post of this series, I'm actually about a decade late, so I've got a lot to say about this subject that has impacted my dance career since its official inception in college.
It's impacted my whole life, whether or not I knew that.
Until that yearbook conversation, I'd never understood why I had always hated certain characteristics about my looks that many others extolled, especially once I moved from Minnesota to Colorado. I am an obviously white woman from predominantly white neighborhoods with predominantly white friends and all the inherited privilege, ignorance, and accidental racism that goes along with it.
This means I don’t have the widely varied buffet of shitstorms that being a Person of any other Color than white (1, 2) brings down on somebody's head, especially in places like the US. And for that, I am grateful. And fortunate. Spoiled? For sure. I'm blessed.
At the same time, I was an outcast--partly because of the way I looked, partly because I'm neurodivergent, and partly because I won a boatload of things other people wanted to win across way too many categories. But it was also due to my unyielding refusal to participate in the type of prejudice and cruelty that ran rampant among so many people I grew up around. So I defected from them at a young age and kept shedding with every year.
They were not kind to me. They were not kind to my favorite forest, to the creatures who lived in it, and to the beautiful countryside of our home. They were not kind to animals except their own, and sometimes not even then. They were not kind to any people who were different from them. Heck, they weren't even kind to their own "best friends," which I found absolutely unacceptable and ensured that I didn't WANT to be one of them.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find societal belonging anywhere else either. Only later did I understand how much this question of color and race had to do with it, because as a kid of the 70s & 80s, I had been fed the Kool-aid of, "We handled all that prejudice stuff back in the 60s".
My explorations into other cultures did, however, give me a taste of what it's like to be the only person of one hated race in a roomful of another. I am, after all, that clueless pasty girl who fell in love with some of the dances, martial arts, cultures, clothing, decor, cuisine, personal expressions, and spiritual practices of the Middle East, North Africa, Mediterranean Europe, Ireland & Scotland, the Silk Road travelers, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Mexico, and the indigenous Americas.
I swoon from afar over the dances and music from other parts of the African continent and various Black cultures in the US. Alas, my bright-eyed toe-dips in those directions were met with an even harder NO and thumb-jerk than when I became that one white-chick invited to dance onstage with Grupo Folklorico de México in Pueblo, Colorado.
I lived next door to the school, and rented space to teach my own dance classes there. When I fell in love with their dancing, too, I asked if I could learn. I had studied tap and flamenco before that, and found that Mexican dance came even more naturally to me. And oh, the heaven of ginormous skirts! Their artistic director and I became friends with a mutual love of theater, quality show production, storytelling, and the desire to bring culture, history, and art to our smallish town.
Eventually, they asked me to perform with them. I did. And I was over the moon.
Until we got onstage.
Shortly after that, I bowed out as politely and gracefully as I could. I get it. As well as I can, given who I am.
So when you tell me that you need me to get a clue, this is what I sit down with on my couch in the quiet, after watching a movie or documentary to learn more about your Black Lives matters. Or when I lie in bed in the dark with words running through my mind from your article on trans-gender hate-crimes, or your YouTube video on Indigenous genocide, or your live "WTF?" footage amidst the riot tearing your neighborhood apart by mostly white people who have descended "on your behalf."
I feel into the pain and terror you describe by remembering mine and then applying it to a different situation, while magnifying it to the degree and frequency you've experienced.
No. This isn't my first rodeo with feeling these emotions.
No. I can't fully comprehend, even with my astronomical HSP imagination and empathetic response born of my own pain (4), what it has been like for you and yours, and what it continues to be like.
Just as you cannot fully comprehend mine.
But we can sure as shit try.
And when we fail? Well, I guess simply giving a shit will have to suffice.
Summer: Coventry Gardens, Bentonville, AR
As the decades have passed, I've come to understand that prejudice isn’t merely a trait of white people, especially males. It is a trait of humans. Race. Religion. Politics. Skin color. Clothing color or price tag or brand name. Borders. Age. Class. (Dis)Ability. Gender. Gender identity. Who I like to bang and how I like to bang them...
FFS. The list goes on.
And annoyingly on.
It also shifts with location and date. Do you remember that, once upon a time in Ancient Rome, if you were blonde and blue-eyed, you were probably either a prostitute or a slave?
Yeah, you also remember what those "barbarians" did to the Romans, right? Heh, helped along by a little microscopic badass called Plague. Hmmmmm... 🤔 And then what did the descendants of those same "barbarians" turn around and do when they got their chance on top?
Don't get me started on slavery, its more subtle disguises, and genocide throughout global history.
When are we going to learn? When will it ever stop?
Humans are an aggressive, territorial species with a primary weapon of Communal Cooperation to match our opposable thumbs and our swollen frontal lobes. Yet I have rarely felt At Home on this planet except when I'm out in tourist-free nature, or within the four walls of my own house. (Often not even then, depending on who was also living there.)
So anytime repressed, oppressed, abused, used, and silenced voices explode up to be heard, acknowledged, and appreciated, it always makes my flippin' day. Your turn at the mic has been long overdue, and I'm really glad to see you in the spotlight.
I also wish I had a clue what to do--finally, once and for all, book closed--about the fact that my entire personal expression, career track, and way of connecting with the Divine is called disrespectful, mortifying, sinful, and unconscionable. Lately, it's called racial abuse and white supremacy.
Shit, I always called it a desperate search to find anybody like me. To find a better way of doing things. To find alternatives to greed, manipulation, lies, degraded lust, shaming, and power-hungry abuses that run rampant right outside the doors of my house.
I wanted to find Home.
I still do.
But in searching the ends of the Earth for it, and by making kintsugi of myself--by filling in those blasted craters and cracks inside me with the shining beauty of things I learned from people who had better solutions and ways of Being than what had wounded me, y'all over there in that corner and y'all over here in this other corner now demand that I obliterate every piece of my own Being that is not "white."
(Whatever that means.)
Because of the nationality on my passport and the color of my skin.
Now isn't that just fascinating?
I’m not going to carve up and extract some of the best parts of me, just because they traditionally come from cultures that are not "white."
Let me say that again.
Some of the best parts of me are things I learn while searching the world for who I want to be. I passionately allow myself to be influenced and inspired by other cultures, foreign ideas, and alternative perspectives from the dookie I'm constantly bombarded with and from the crappy parts of my cultural inheritance. I refuse to hack-and-slash the person I’ve become, boxing up and hiding all those brilliant pieces just because they’re not seen as “white stuff”.
I refuse to deny the positive impact you've had upon me.
On the flip side, I refuse to disparage my entire heritage. The American ideals of individual expression and innovation over homogenous tradition and strict societal limitation...these things work for me. For some women, you would have to tear their hijabs and burkas from their cold, dead hands because they choose it. Passionately. Devotedly. In ways they can explain both emotionally and intellectually. They're not some "pitiable, two-legged chattel who can't think for themselves because they were brainwashed and need to be educated and civilized."
Same with democracy. Contrary to popular belief around here, it's not everybody's ideal. Not everybody wants the freedom to choose any life path they could ever dream of--and the responsibilities of then pursuing and competing for that position against everybody else who wants it, instead of inheriting one through a long tradition of lineage.
But I'll tell you who does want that stuff for herself: THIS GIRL.
That's why I became a cherry-picker, and I do this in everything I pursue, especially the things I pursue passionately. Because I am an American by choice. Otherwise I would be an ex-pat somewhere that worked better for me.
In the United States, I have the right to cherry-pick. (At least, for now I do. We'll see what comes down the pipe as we go along.) Lucky me, I was ignorant, pale-skinned, and dreamy-eyed enough to believe it when they handed me the Koolaid of, "We were founded on freedom of religion, speech, and personal expression for all. It no longer matters that you're not male. You can do anything they can do. You have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. RAWR."
So I've spent my past half-century saying to my society, "Oh, yeah? Did you really mean that? Prove it." My pale skin has let me do that in ways many others couldn't. But it's still been an uphill battle because I'm not Christian, vanilla, abled, neurotypical, or completely heterosexual. I'm not feminine in the societally acceptable ways--not in terms of gender expression (I have too big of a dick for my "she/her" pronouns), and not in terms of traditional feminine "modesty and virtue." But yet, I'm demisexual and have my personal breed of things I like to keep private, so I also don't fit into the selfie/swipe right/hookup/nudie-shots culture either.
For my entire life, I've been told that's okay. That I can choose all these things, and I can change my mind if I realize something no longer works.
Okay, cool. Well, I've never found One Way of anything that works for me. I'm a multipotentialite in every aspect of my multipotentiality. (5) So I constantly tinker. Learn. Research. Try. Experiment. Grow. Change.
That's about the only consistent thing that does work for me, in spite of what the Majorities think of it.
Therefore, I refuse to be ashamed of the ways I don't merely parrot your dance, chants, or martial theories, trying to make a "perfect" mimicry of something I could never be or fully understand because I AM a white, recovering-Catholic, American female born in Northern Minnesota in the early 70s. My nation is big patchwork, multihued tapestry built on the backs of genocide, theft, lies, and slavery. I cannot change my born nationality, and I will not be ashamed of being devoted to Bruce Lee's famous saying:
Absorb what is useful
Discard what is not
Add what is uniquely your own
I refuse to be ashamed of taking in only the pieces of my lineage and foreign explorations that resonate with my distinctive vibration. By blowing on those embers, I come to my own conclusions about what they mean and how they are best utilized by my hands and heart, whether or not that follows anyone else's traditions.
I'm an innovator, not a preservationist.
And the world needs both.
I have spent the last 30 years in search of how to let the best parts of our planet and our universe change me for the better without harming anyone else, and to pass on the thoughts and feelings that this search inspires.
Unfortunately, the amount of misinformation that infiltrated so much of what I was able to get my hands on amidst this search?
Well, it's all tainted with the myriad pains now coming to the surface to be purged and healed. My steady, gradual awakening to these things is why I course-correct so often. Why I rename and rebrand and recalibrate every time I learn some major new thing.
Oh, I'm nineteen and I just became a belly dancer! It's so glorious and--
Whoa...oh crap. Sorry, no actually I'm not a belly dancer shaking my shit to get laid and get tips in my belt. I beg your pardon, sir, I have just learned from my new teachers that I am a Middle Eastern Dancer--
Oh crap! Sorry!! No, I absolutely am NOT a Middle Eastern Dancer! Hooooo boy! Nope, I'm a Fusion Belly DAMMIT!
FINE! I'm a Dancer. Period. I am inspired to dance by music from around the world and by the rhythms of nature's elements, and I can't help moving in the myriad ways my teachers have taught me and how the Muses demand. I also have a gazillion amazing costume pieces that I've spent (what in my household constitutes) a fortune on, and they all need to dance, so that's what I'm gonna wear because they're pretty and I love them! Now then, here's where every influence and inspiration comes from and--
Wait. Now acknowledging that is more disrespectful than completely creating a fantastical form that can't be traced to any specific culture--
But wait, I can't do that either because I'm being disrespectful if I DON'T acknowledge every single nuance of--
You know what?
I'm gonna make a dance form inspired by this planet. We all need Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Metal, and that Magic Stuff we don't quite have the science to describe yet. We all come from them. We're all made up of them. So if that's still not acceptable because of the combination of what I wear, the way I move, what music I dance to, the nationality on my passport, and the color of my skin?
BITE ME. Don't like it? Scroll on, citizen.
It's an issue, and we're still not done discussing it. Not remotely.
Because amidst all these decades of civil rights falsehoods and millennia of oppression and exploitation, something has happened out here in the borderlands outside the Birthplaces of Belly Dance. Those of us who believed our teachers and any hard-to-find, often inaccurate belly dance "source" materials created...
Something that revolves around Love. Soul Expression. Truth & Beauty. Sisterhood. Unashamed and Powerful Femininity. It's branched out beyond the Feminine now, and continues to grow and branch and change and grow some more with every generation and every culture that touches it--and with every culture it touches.
That touch is a transformational power in either direction.
Every dancer influences the Dance;
The Dance influences each dancer.
Exchange, absorption, and transformation is something that's always happened across borders. Good thing too. Anything that exists in a vacuum is not going to exist for long. We have global communication now, and transoceanic, transcontinental flights, so this type of exchange is going to happen in an accelerated and intensified fashion. It's also going to happen in a little flit here and a flicker there, because it no longer takes a month to cross a small country, so exposure is often fleeting now.
But that doesn't mean it didn't make a deep impact, in spite of the knowledge base being shallow. This is the path of the multipotentialite, not the specializer.
Alas, we're all subject to the plague of misinformation and the ever-increasing inability to distinguish truth from lies. I'm not only talking about crafted political slants and subtle tactics of war. Heck, I could get online with someone from any continent and ask them what it's like in their corner of the world. I can ask them, "What does this word mean? Why do you wear this? Why do you not eat that? What is the symbolism of this thing here?"
And here's the kicker:
How do I KNOW that I can trust my source in order to feel confident passing on what I've just learned, whether casually or in what I teach?
Were they as qualified to answer my question as they said they were?
Were they being honest with me?
Did they tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Or did they lie to me because I'm a stupid American and ha-ha fuck me?
Or because I'm a *choose your adjective* foreigner/non-believer not allowed to know such things?
Or because their culture denigrates their traditions for not being modern/ civilized/"Western enough" and they really wanted to appear cultured and hip and worldly and awesome while talking to the American? It happens. Sadly, too often.
Was my source's truth vastly different yet equally true from the person who lives in the next flat or the next city? That's absolutely the case between me and my neighbors.
As information and global experience gets transmitted ever more quickly and efficiently, we have to develop new ways of deciding what belongs to whom, what is considered theft or misrepresentation, and what is considered healthy, respectful exchange of ideas that then become creative innovation and self-expression. (Some of which become new traditions; others last a little while or mutate again; others die as a flash in the pan.)
Did our great-dance-grandmothers use tidbits of Orientalist exoticism while falsely advertising who they were and what they were doing? Did they take jobs from People of Color and reap all the allure/mystique/freedom/money from dancing like they were Indian Goddesses or Javanese Princesses without having to live under the societal oppression and stigmas that being an actual Indian or Javanese dancer experienced? Yup.
Is some of that stuff still going on today? Yup.
Do white people still get chosen/seen/heard/read/paid over more qualified, knowledgeable People of Color because they're white? Yup.
Do people use sacred items/practices from another culture in "trendy," shallow, or even disparaging ways? Are cultural and racial stereotypes propagated in art and media? Are entire races and cultures turned into jokes, fetishes, and cruel parody to this day? Yup. Yup. Yup.
Are these the legit complaints about cultural appropriation? Abso-fuckin-lutely. (3)
Did I unintentionally and ignorantly pass on some of these traditions? You betcha. We'll be opening those cans of worms in all their stinky glory. Yaaaay!
But belly dance is a THING in the United States now. In fact, it's quite a few distinctive THINGS because it's been part of our culture long enough to have branched and made dance-babies. So has yoga. So has karate, aikido, and judo.
Personally, I don't mind that for some Chinese people, watching foreigners do kung fu is like nails on a chalkboard, and they refuse to teach anyone who is not Chinese. It's their class. They can run it as they like. I don't mind that some Egyptians can't stand American belly dancers. I don't mind that for some Indians, watching what Americans do with yoga is an affront.
We may poke fun. Sometimes that's the gentlest entry into a tough conversation for someone just hearing it for the first time and realizing, "Ohhhh shit! I'm acting like an asshole and didn't have a clue!"
Because there are genuine issues here that we're all trying to sort out as we adjust the traditions we've inherited and decide if we'd like to keep them or change them--you know, like white people who don't want to keep everyone non-white bent over under the Big White Weenie? 🤔
EDIT 12/12/21: After several years of trying to get the Categories pre-built into my blog platform to work, I finally got the problem fixed so I'm migrating the old Table of Contents into these categories. That means having to go through evvvvery post and click their cross-pollinated topics. While I'm here, I'm searching for broken links. The above video had one.
It also now has a counter-video that demonstrates the myriad nuances involved in each of these issues, and the fact that there are so many different arguments that could be made from conflicting sides.
Now back to the original post. These two videos only reaffirm my next quandary even harder.
Here is my eternal question: how to stop committing any abuses while still staying true to my heart and who I have become while influenced by lies, outdated habits, and twisted or incomplete truths alongside miraculous beauty and healing.
Well, maybe I've finally found it, and today that's going to have to be good enough. Because my movement and artistic style--and therefore my spiritual and healing modalities (they're intertwined in me)--have been denuded of cultural or traditional influence.
Oh, and I know! I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't.
If I create a dance form that is an innovative fusion style but I don't give credence and pedigree to where every single nuance of movement and costuming comes from, at best, I have CON-Fusion, not Fusion. (6) At worst, I deserved to be garroted with my silk scarves for being such a "disrespectful, dishonoring hack-thief."
Yet, if I do try to list and pedigree the gobs and gazillions of pieces that make up my dancing--worse if I use the languages of origin--then I deserve to be impaled upon my dance sword for being a cultural appropriator because my American ass is pasty-white and I'm not a professional dance historian.
It never seems to matter how loudly I broadcast that I'm a fusion artist. I'm still labeled disrespectful for not having mastered every one of these ancient art forms under the tutelage of a master in the country of origin for a prescribed number of years before fusing them, thus earning the official stamp of approval to bypass the cultural appropriator label. (Nobody can tell me the prescribed number of years I have to spend there or which masters are qualified and which are not, because...well...they can't. But they'll know it when they see it!)
In other words, I just need to stick to dancing like an American white-chick.
Well, what the heck does that look like?
My omission of culture and tradition from the way I break down and teach my style these days is not done from disrespect. No one can copyright and "own" movements of the human body. You can copyright sequences of movements. You cannot copyright the movements themselves. My hand gestures, for example, have come to be a storytelling form that is my own artistic language, much like the singing of Lisa Gerrard, Enya, and Azam Ali--all artists I love to dance to. It's also similar to creating the Dothraki or Elven languages.
Besides, different gestures mean widely different things in different cultures. Don't believe me? Go to Iran, stand on the side of the road, and give that classic "thumbs up!" gesture to passing vehicles with your big, toothy American grin and then come argue with me.
There's another reason for this shift from my old attempts to quantify and label and give histories. Just as I was just learning that much of what I had been taught was actually a bunch of Orientalist fantasy and Feminist Goddess Rah-Rah twaddle--Life Happened. I suddenly needed to learn how to defend myself from violence and stop being an emotional punching bag way more than I needed to spend my time, money, and limited memorization capacity on dance history.
I didn't want to drop that passion and responsibility but...priorities.
Then I got punched in the face anyway. That gave me a year of seizures which pretty much wiped all those specific details of names, labels, origins, gesture meaning, etc. from my scrambled brains. (Also covered in that piece about CONfusion.) The amount of time and energy that it would have taken me to re-learn all that?
That's not how I wanted to spend my limited neurological resources. I had fully transitioned to Creation & Innovation Mode from the History Major I'd been in college. So my Dain Bramage pretty much made the choice for me.
The music comes on. I start to move. I have no recollection anymore of where I learned a bunch of it. I Just Dance. But then, it's been that way from the beginning. I didn't start moving my hands in floras after taking flamenco. I'd been doing that for seven years. I just didn't have a name for it. It started around the SCA drum circles while I mimicked the way fire moved. I didn't know why. It just felt right and it complimented the watery ripples I'd learned from watching Madame Lucy and the Minneapolis dancers. Maybe it was tucked away from watching a James Bond movie as a kid that one time? I dunno.
Some of the other hand gestures with pretty fingers...I didn't know why they felt good, any more than I know why my hands make rapid-fire mudra-and-sign-language-eque gestures when I'm in deep meditation. Where does that come from? What does it mean?
But the biggest reason I've finally succumbed to my acknowledgment that I dance CON-Fusion--I call it Elemental Alchemy--is because I'm done with these constantly changing hoops I'm "required" to jump through in order to be "allowed" to dance the way I dance without being called a disrespectful, abusive hack by the "authorities" (ahem--especially by those whose root issue is that they dislike fusion or they simply dislike mine) (3).
Fusion is not automatically cultural appropriation, and those who champion that assumption do damage to the legitimate abuses that need to stop.
Please read that again.
After thirty years of this battle in dance, compounded by a half-century of it in general, I am really, REALLY tired of these bristling borders and boundaries. I'm tired of hatred. I'm just...tired.
As such, I've taken my toys and come home--my own home where anybody looking for something similar can come play with me in my sandbox. Heck, if you wanna cherry-pick my teachings and create your own awesome thingie or bring it to your traditions, flame on. That's actually what it's designed for, not to make a bunch of mini-mes.
My style--the Dance of Elemental Alchemy--is purely movement-, direction-, and energy-based. It is inspired by this planet:
We all need Water.
We all need Air.
We all need the Fire which dwells at the core of our planet and that which radiates its light and warmth down upon it.
We all need dietary Metal, and we all need protection from the Elements.
We all need the Earth.
Oh. And no.
I'm not solely referring to humans. I'm referring to The System at large.
Humans are such a piddly part of this planet and especially of the Earth's history. We are even more minuscule in the grand scheme of the Universe. (Universes?)
So no, I won't carve you out of me, my arts and my home. That would be foolish. Pretty impossible at this point. Self-destructive to try. And detrimental to not only me, but to everyone I come into contact with.
I try to hold you as reverently and lovingly as I can, but I AM human. I have American cultural perspectives, I have the perspectives of the generations that my toddler brain was first baked in, and I have my personal perspectives as well. This means in some cases it's simply different from yours. In other cases, I fuck it up. So then I try to stop fucking it up. I also can't make everybody happy. Neither can you.
So for today, this is the direction I'm choosing to explore as my latest attempt to find yet another solution to being that American white-chick who fell in love with the world and who is transformed by it every day.
A plethora of styles all patch-worked together to create one solitary expression of artistry and spiritual devotion: MINE.
Like most of the mega-important issues constantly burning up gears in my brain, I have far more questions and curiosities about this topic than I have Almighty Answers.
As I type those words, others bounce to the forefront of my mind. These words may be idealistic and naive, and they're all I can think to say right now.
Can't we? Be excellent to each other and party together? Work together and then party again? After all, we don't have much time left. Even those babies who are being born right now...and right now...and...........
Yep, right now.
Those are your kids. Your grandkids. They're OUR kids. This is OUR home. And if we're not careful, if we keep going as we have, we'll have even less time than we think.
Or else the time we have here will become a miserable experience, and grow even more miserable for those in pain already.
And what the fuck is the point of that?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT LAST TIME:
1) The labels and acronyms that I'm "supposed" to use keep changing. Sometimes they change on a monthly basis. By the time anyone ever finds this blog (IF anyone ever finds it besides my three friends who read it) the proper PC terms will have probably changed again. Of course, they also change according to who you're talking to. Can I tell you how many times I've met someone or read a piece like this who negates the current PC teachings of what I'm "supposed" to do? Rather, they proudly insist upon, for instance, being called Indian rather than Native American, or Gypsy/Gitana rather than Romany, or this one over here who despises when people call zir Latinx. In these cases, I have to adjust according to each individual.
2) Hmmmmm... Treating people as individual people and actually doing it how they like it done instead of making ASSumptions based on what I think their race and heritage and gender and etc. etc. etc. is at first glance? (Now, I personally have other topics I'd like to get to when I interact with someone than identifiers, so if I get it wrong at first glance, I'll be thrilled with a specification of your favored
identifier. I'll also be apologetic if I can't keep track of everybody's individual preferences until we've interacted for some time. With simple human limitation compounded by my Dain Bramage in mind, I'll appreciate YOUR sensitivity and consideration for my disability. Thanks.)
So that's pretty much my policy. What do YOU prefer? Cool. It is done.*clap-clap* If you like ze/zir, I’m happy to learn the mental acrobatics to carve it into my 50-year-old automatic vocabulary. If you prefer Lakota, I will be thrilled to be specific. If you like your B capitalized as a sign of respect, consider them all capitalized in my writing and in my mind and heart, even if I miss one out of old habit. If you like your W capitalized as a white supremacist middle finger, consider all my w's staunchly lowercase.
3) This is why people who piggyback the important and legitimate issues of cultural appropriation in order to express their dislike of fusion arts really piss me off. It closes the ears of those who might otherwise have listened, just to back up their personal tastes and preferences. When I first started hearing this term, I was one of them because these individuals were not talking about abuse. They were talking about what they prefer to see on a stage and hiding behind the shield of a Big Issue after they couldn't make us go away and stop hack-bastardizing art through any other bullying, pressuring, badmouthing, or blacklisting tactics. Not cool.
4) HSP: Highly Sensitive Person. I was born with many areas of neurological hyper-sensitivity. Empathic sensation, empathetic response, and imagination are a few of them.
5) "What's a multipotentialite?" you ask.
6) One of my dance mentors and inspirations, Mona N'waal introduced me ages ago to a theory from her teacher, the great Ibrahim "Bobby" Farrah: "If you don't know exactly what you are fusing with what, you don't have Fusion. You have CON-Fusion." For a long time, I was great proponent of this. Well, then Dain Bramage worsened, and this big cultural mess exploded so...yeah. This is my way of dealing with it all. At least...today it is.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
UP NEXT: BABY BELLY DANCER - My First Belly Dance Class
--OR if you're missing the gap in the chronological timeline, here's where I had started telling my tales of college where I officially got to study Dance, Theater, Language, & History including how belly dance literally saved my life.