I met a 74 year old Belly dancer last night

(This entry was written 12 days after I left a very questionable ‘mentoring’ relationship that had little to do with mentoring and a lot to do with a wanky relationship of potentially dangerous proportions.  I had little to sum up except confusion at the time.  It took me almost a year to understand what was going on.

“Dangerous” has a  lot of connotations, but in this case, it was danger to the psyche.  The ‘mentor’ was nothing but a man bound by his own ego, power and control issues.  I was vulnerable and stupid…at least I can say so now.

It was a convoluted ‘relationship’ around D/s and some bdsm aspects.  Did I learn anything?  Yes, that I wasn’t this ‘wind ’em up toy submissive’ that he seemed to be comfortable but a woman with a lot of parts to her.  And they were good parts that weren’t going to be denied for long.  So, I grew, but mostly….I grew when I gathered myself and ran.  I came to my right mind, to my senses.

It took me a long time and a visit to figure out what the cat was about…and when I finally did, I understood just how much I had that was good and decent and normal.   And I found out that there are a lot of these ‘cats’ out there who prey on the unwise.

Lady Nyo)

…..who could dance circles around all of us. She had such grace and quiet presence we could feel the confidence that oozed from her body.

She was American, so that blows the myth that only Middle Eastern women ‘born’ to this particular dance can do it in later life. She wasn’t always a belly dancer, but took it up rather ‘late’ in life. She also is a tango dancer, Argentine-style.

I got a chance to talk to Alice for quite a while after class. She is that kind of woman who gives of herself freely and encourages other women in their life paths. She is the kind of woman who inspires confidences.

For the past year or so, I have been on a rather ‘weird’ path, strange to outsiders, but not so strange to myself. Something of discovery. Along the way I have picked up many influences, some good and some confusing. There was really nothing ‘bad’ in any of these influences, but there was something missing.

That ‘missing’ was a fuller knowledge of my own qualities and a replacing of things of others that I didn’t understand enough to adopt as my own. And that was the problem. I also needed a big dose of discretion.

There were great holes in my self-knowledge, and they were bigger obstacles than my lack of understanding on this particular path I was walking. I was feeling inadequate, losing confidence, losing my way.

It is easy to blame others, but the material I was working with, myself, was full of holes. In an important way, had I not gone through this rather confusing and painful process with this ‘experience’, I wouldn’t have understood that I needed to work on myself in some very fundamental ways.

There came a time that I could no longer stay because within the framework of this particular relationship, I couldn’t concentrate on what was missing in me. I was trying to ‘please’ and though this sounds like a small thing, it became an obstacle that I threw up in order not to look at what really was going on with myself. If I was ‘successful’ in pleasing on a task, I then thought I was ‘ok’. If I wasn’t, then I thought otherwise. I was concentrating on another, when the major work needed to be done was by me….on me.

It’s not that I am a rotten person, it’s that I felt like a rotten person. I became very aware of these ‘holes’ in my character. They became self-evident.

Perhaps the realization that I was living a personal lie came when I discovered these writings of John Ralston Saul, and I saw that these ‘holes’ were really something that were bigger than just in me. They were points of concern for all of us, were complacencies, but sometimes obscuring the defects in character. Obscuring the answers that could effect the important changes in how I ‘behaved’ and could contribute to society by ‘fixing’ my own character.

Here was something I could fix with some work, some hard work. I needed a sharp knife to cut into some illusions and fallacies. And I needed to be unrestricted and have the privacy to try to be brutally honest.

I left this particular situation and almost, almost, fell into something that would have been worse. I was in a nose-dive of escapism, thinking that ‘more’ of the same, and a deeper level of the same, would be the answer. I pulled up in time, but then I was floating, not sure of how to scramble out and land.

A couple of women, of various ‘persuasions’, helped me to a ‘safe’ place, somewhere I could start the process of stripping the layers of deceit and denial within. They gave me of themselves, and each was fierce this time be of looking inward and trying to find who I really was, unhindered by any desire of approval.

They have piled me full of websites, writings, their own and others, and I can’t thank them enough for their efforts. I don’t know if I will emerge from this time a ‘better’ person, but I damn well will know what makes me tick.

I am thankful  to D, to a, to s, to M, to Ted and others. Each has attempted to give me particular answers, and each has impacted me deeply. Now it’s my task to strip layers and find the essence of myself, to fill those ‘holes’ with conviction that will make me stronger and of more value to life.

Alice sat and told me her life story….or as much as she could. She made me realize that it’s not a straight path forward, it’s full of potholes and detours. If we think it is, we are not living an ‘examined’ life. We need doubt about ourselves to change, and sometimes the doubt hits us between the eyes and makes us really stop and consider what we are doing and where we are going.

We really need to know ourselves before we can leap into the water and swim.

Lady Nyo

These are a form of poetry called cinquains.

The Soul,
Like the new moon
Refreshes, born again
And I write down: “Live in the light”.
I begin to obey,
Shedding shame, joy-

Washes my fear
Away like small, pale sins.
Then I begin to go naked,
Shedding doubts like snake skin,

Cranes, spring appears
Like white arrows the sky
Is pierced with their honking tribute

Bend their white heads
Polite bowing to the ground
Like courtiers that seek favors

I live
In sadness on
This pale spring moon-lit night,
My body thin, like a
Flower dropped from heaven
Petals scatter,

2 Responses to “I met a 74 year old Belly dancer last night”

  1. avatara Says:

    Beautiful, and so incredible Jane.

    When we are open, people come into our lives with the things we need. They won’t, and can’t, push us along the path, but by sharing their own personal pathways, they help you understand that you are worthy of the work….yet, you alone can do it.

    The goal, and this lovely woman will verify this for you, is to love yourself first, forgive yourself for what you consider bad choices, and realize that all the choices we make, be they good or bad, and the people and experiences of our lives, be they good or bad, work together to make us into the incredible people we are!

    Love yourself woman, and know that you are loved….


  2. Jane Says:

    Thank you, avatara…

    I have such a full plate right now and knowing that intelligent women like you and others are walking with me and chatting me up!

    There are no bad people, just so many choices to get through with life.

    gives me laughter and purpose. I need Laughter!!! Monty Python!!



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