So, this happened this weekend:
The dance studio I go to/work for was invited to be a part of the entertainment for a little event called Masquerage -- an annual fundraising event for The AIDS Resource Center of Ohio (a group with which I'm also involved) that is a masquerade ball on amped up on glitter and pheromones, if you will, and is basically the coolest thing to do in Dayton that isn't so ... Dayton-ish. The organizers wanted ladies to be eye candy on a few hoops throughout the party, and my stupid self volunteered though I'd never taken a hoop class.
Three weeks and four classes later, I spent four hours with my not-quite-as-tiny-and-trim-and-cute-as-my-fellow-hoopsterellas-ass on an inch-thick circle of metal suspended above the party guests and volunteers. The theme of the party this year was Villains and Vixens, and my inner feminist just couldn't get behind looking like a hooker because I am somebody's mother -- two somebodies, actually -- so I went the villain route.
Enter Ursula. Which I made myself. This is part of why I've been crazy busy lately -- I've been prepping for this event and sewing my little heart out. Now you know.
It was an incredible experience. My brother babysat so that Kyle could come with me and help guard the hoops so the drunkies and the creepers (because there were plenty of both) didn't molest or injure us and my fellow Femme Fatales wowed the crowds with their skills while I tried to sit as prettily as possible and made Kyle spin the hoop a few times so at least I looked like I knew how to do something.
But there was a moment, towards the end of the night, where I found a new position to sit in that gave relief to the backs of my knees and that place where your thighs meet your ass and I hung sort-of cradled in the hoop, looking up at the ceiling of the venue (a historic building on the county fairgrounds called the Roundhouse) while the lights strobed and flashed and somehow above the din and chaos, I was at peace.
It occurred to me that I am so incredibly lucky to have the life I have. I mean, here I am, a 28 year old housewife and mother of two living out a quiet childhood fantasy of performing fantastical feats in front of an appreciative crowd.
You see, when I was little and we went to the circus for the first time, I was always in awe of the acrobats -- everything from the extreme athleticism to the glitzy unitards -- and that carried into watching Summer Olympic gymnastics and even my first Cirque exposure on TV. I was always enraptured with the grace and skill that came from marrying extreme strength with showmanship and, well, RHINESTONES. However this being the Midwest and therefore not very exciting just about ever, I long ago resigned myself to the fact that as long as I stayed in Dayton, I was never going to get the chance to see if I was capable, so I never set my heart on it.
I never wanted to run away with the circus -- I just always wanted to know what it felt like to feel magical.
And there I was, pretty much doing exactly that.
I mean, I may not have been in a unitard, but I think two pairs of Spanx tights and a compression top are damn near close. And there were rhinestones and glitter abound, so there's that.
There were people who spoke to me who assumed this was my profession and were (I hope pleasantly) surprised to hear that I was just an average Daytonian with some unusual, yet totally accessible training under my belt(tutu). There was that one guy who kissed my hand and told me I was his favorite because I had the power and I wondered if he thought I was some crazy incarnation of She-Ra, but took it as a compliment anyway. And there were just the looks of awe and wonder as I attempted the few tricks I knew and mostly just smiled and nodded to people who would never see me as anything other than a glittery evil sea witch dangling above their heads.
I was keenly aware that I never could have been there, though, without the support of Kyle and my friends who have helped to pick up the slack so I could go play, essentially. I sat struck by the near absurdity of the whole spectacle, and how my husband stood below nonchalantly taking it all in as if this were a normal part of our social lives, me hanging from a hoop in stage makeup and a tentacle tutu and him playing bouncer, no big. He takes so much in stride from me, without so much as flinching, as long as it makes me happy. I've been with my studio for a little over a year now and he's never once given me grief about what it is I do there -- he just comments quietly that sometimes he misses me when I'm gone at class most nights a week. I know other women there aren't as lucky, with husbands who are less understanding and more fearful of what others may think, and despite everything it really is remarkable how he makes sure that I am free to go to class or events, because it is important to me and therefore important to him.
I am so incredibly lucky to be in a place and surrounded by people who understand and love me, and therefore make the space for awesomeness to happen on it's own schedule.
And for that, for them, for one night, I got to sparkle.
And it was magnificent.