I draw the sign of infinity with my body and my life changes.
Drawing with my head, I close my eyes and soar into the depths of history, the present realities, and the unknown future. I connect to the Life Source.
In the rolling of my shoulders, like two gears on a clock rewriting time, I throw open my chest, stand tall and gain the strength to rise beneath my burdens. Although others placed them upon my shoulders, I built a comfy shelf and magnified them until my spine bowed and my ribs caved from the weight. You’re not good enough. You’re too this and that. You’re ugly. You’re so duuuumb. You don’t do it right. You don’t deserve to be loved if you’re like this. These rolling gears propel me out from under those burdens and into the truth of self-knowledge. I learn who I really am.
I learn that I am Love.
Drawing with my ribcage, I connect to other hearts, touching them as they touch me. This infinity weaves together the rifts and puncture wounds of betrayal and loss. My lungs move more freely and begin to chip away at the asthma I have had since another driver’s drunken lurch into my life.
Drawing infinities with hands, I paint a masterpiece of light around myself, or fashion glowing pathways between me and those who surround me. I beckon to Eternity, Destiny, Divinity. I call them to me whether I am ready or not. (I only think I’m not. They would not come if I wasn’t ready.)
In the continuous rippling of undulations, my twisted, compressed spine is strengthened and stretched so that disks have room to breathe once more. As the vertebrae relearn how to articulate, I relearn how to stand up—learn for the first time how to stand up for myself.
In reverse, that body-waving infinity draws the energy of my own life force upward. From my connection to the earth, it resonates in my guts, then my heart, my mind, until at last I know that I am as graceful and sure as my feet, as strong as my dancer’s legs, as fiery and creative as my womanly vessel.
And oh, the infinity of hips! Forward, backward, upward, downward, swiveling and swaying in the currents of life. I was nineteen when I was raped; I was nineteen when I began belly dancing. Coincidence? I think not. It took me five years to remember the incident, and in those five years I drew countless infinities with my pelvis. Little ones, big ones, slow ones, fast ones. I drew them as I traveled; I drew them standing still. As I drew the sign of eternal life, I could no longer ignore the voice of my feminine center. First a polite, “Ahem,” then a heartbroken cry, and finally a raging roar that shattered illusion with the shards of glass falling around me as I pitched onto the living room floor.
But I had been drawing infinities for too long and my connection with life was too strong. I allowed loving hands to help me stand.
I continued to draw infinities.
Circles too. Endless circles of whirls and spins. Slicing sword-circles, windmilling wings, palm-cradled flames drawing orbits and rings. Concentric circles of unfurled skirts, of swirling veils, around and around, dancing the circle of the snake devouring itself. Every year, I am reborn—I tend to shed my skin in the fall. And every month my body is cleansed and renewed with the cycle of the moon. The circles I draw in my hips reflect it. Big flat ones, tight throbbing ones, slow lazy ones.
More hip circles—from the cradle of my mother’s hips, through a dancer’s life, to death and the recycling of my soul. From the implantation of seeds inside my youthful womb and all that was virtually spawned therein, to the mutinous rejection of what I stored in that vessel for years, to the consequent surgery that cut it out so my feminine center could be reborn. From defilement of those first flowers just opening, to coping-sex, blind sex, numb-it-make-me-feel sex, to a vow of celibacy and then marriage and then celibacy in marriage and divorce and finally, to union with that protective, nurturing presence inside myself. I bloom again with rolling hips, curling hips, juicy-throbbing-pounding hips.
And chest circles. Hurt in; hurt out, dumped into the ground to become the fertilizer that it is—fertilizer for creative crops. Love in; love out, poured back out tenfold so there is room for more to come in. Blood in; blood out, pumped by my internal drum, speeding and slowing with the pulse of the music and the world. Breathe in; breathe out. Breathe in; breathe out. Breathe in; breathe out. A gasp of excitement, a huff of frustration, a deep inhalation to sample a fragrance, a sigh of contentment. Breathe in... breathe out…
Curling circles with my hands, I wind up the scattered pieces of my spirit like winding the threads of the bobbins I have dropped and that the cats have batted around the floor, around the legs of the table and under the refrigerator. I draw them into me, reunite them with the whole, and I entice others to do the same. Come on, come on, we whisper to each other in the circular dance of smiling gazes in the hafla ring, or between performer and audience, or between musician and dancer. Our curling hands mirror that sentiment. Come with me, take up your dance—your own dance of circles and infinities.
With head circles, I work through the stiffness of my neck, through the crunching pain of scar tissue and arthritis. Each move opens my throat—that fortress sealed for too many years. Out comes a laugh, a song, a growl, a bark at boundary-crossers. My truth. Around and around, winding new pathways up my cervical spine into the ravaged wastelands of my brain.
In the relearned skills of playing zills, in the circular patterns of memorizing music and choreography, in the patience and diligence of honing a craft, I bridge chasms and fill potholes created by three separate impacts to my head.
Infinities and circles, from top to bottom and bottom to top, spiraling me ever-deeper inside myself, ever deeper into the universe. I work to train my body and my body ends up teaching me about me, and so I dance to express the ME I have found and inspire someone else to do the same, and in watching the other someones I see expressions and movements that inspire me, so I go home and work to train my body, and my body teaches me about me and…
Drawing my life in the patterns of this dance.
**Originally written in 2004 for Ye Olde Blog, and updated for the passage of time.