I was 26 when I chose to stop performing as a dancer. Too many experiences of being told I was too short, too heavy, too slow, too difficult . . . To earn a salary I taught dance, and on occasion choreographed dance programs, but I never felt fulfilled. Then, I started a children’s theatre company in a settlement house in a poor section of town. I earned an MA in theatre and began teaching movement and nonverbal communication for actors in a university theatre program, which I loved. I found a way to love moving that was not dancing.
In 1984, I attended a cousin’s wedding and had such an unpleasant encounter with my mother I dreaded the thought of having to be with her for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, less than a month away.
Some days later, I was on the phone with my friend Maria, a neighbor, who often helped me deal with difficult issues. This time I didn’t hold back, grumping about enduring another Thanksgiving with my mother—the complicated holiday food preparation, comments about how I look, how I’m living my life, what an ungrateful daughter I am . . . Moan. Groan. Groan. Moan.
In 1988, as part of my work for a PhD I chose a seminar in Hawaii: Cross Cultural Community Cooperation. To feel rested before beginning the first session I arrived a few days early. Even in my summer clothes I was too hot. I looked around at Hawaiian women, many of whom were wearing long flowing loosely fitting dresses in bright patterns. They looked a whole lot cooler than I felt. I was wondering where I might find a place selling dresses like they wore when I noticed an advertisement for a shop that made muumuus to order. I didn’t know what a muumuu was but when I saw the image of the dress, it was exactly what I was looking for.
Life tales from a woman different living in The City Different.