Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My Little Dancers

Last Saturday evening I trekked down to a high school many miles away to attend a dance performance. I had already had a full day and was exhausted, but I absolutely wanted to be at this show! 

Back in November I started teaching private silks lessons to a small group of these high school dancers; nearly every Saturday they would show up to the studio at 8am, some of the girls having crawled out of bed only 15 minutes before we began, to learn what they needed to incorporate silks into their year-end performance. They worked hard! Many of these girls attended extra classes during the week to try and improve even faster. One girl had been coming to my classes longer than the rest and was assigned by her dance coach to choreograph their aerial routine. I guided, instructed, and corrected as their routine began to take form, was changed and polished. We ran that routine over and over and over.

The results were beautiful! A smoke machine created a cloud-like effect on the stage, and dancers dressed in blush pink tulle moved between the white silks as my girls wrapped and climbed up and down the silks in sync. I watched as each girl put her best effort out on that stage on Saturday; the audience cheering, and my heart bursting with pride. They had learned so much in a few short months, and conquered what they set out to do! It really is the best feeling ever to see my aerial students wowing an audience and thinking "I taught them how to do that!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trade Places With Me. Anytime.

The older I get while I'm single, the less some married people seem to understand me. Or even try to understand me. Tonight gave me a couple of examples.

I attended a meeting to discuss the needs of various women who attend my church. Along with another single gal (we'll call her A), I was asked to come prepared with ideas and suggestions to help meet the goals and visions that had been established at the beginning of the year. Since we don't normally attend this meeting, A and I met a couple of days in advance to talk and prepare.

During this pre-meeting A and I discovered that we both had similar feelings about the way some assignments are made within our women's organization. Within the church's women's organization we are assigned to visit a few other women on a regular basis to check in on them and offer support where possible, whether that be emotional or spiritual. We noticed that the women in our congregation were most often assigned to visit each other based on what they appeared to have in common, meaning women with husbands and families were assigned to others with similar family structures, and single 30-something aged women were assigned to visit other singles. While I understand that this was probably to help establish friendships, A and I were feeling a little pigeon-holed. We already have activities and events that the church creates and supports just for single people in our age group, and we have a good network of single friends. But on Sundays we attend a congregation with families; families we would like to get to know and be friends with too. A and I wanted to share our feelings during the meeting, but weren't quite sure how to bring it up. The opportunity ended up presenting itself nicely.

During tonight's meeting a new assignment was being discussed, and the ladies in charge immediately started suggesting one woman visit another because they were both married and had kids. A and I looked at each other and knew this was the moment. I spoke up and explained our viewpoint as kindly as I could, sharing that the single women would probably love an opportunity to get to know someone outside of their single social circle, and that not having everything on the surface in common can work out well. It's nice to have someone to talk to who isn't in the same walk of life; I said I could sit and commiserate with other single people about our singlehood any day, but often I want to step out of that bubble and see what the rest of the world is up to.

I thought I was getting our message through, until I was suddenly interrupted. One married lady with two small children (who has never shown any interest in getting to know me) butted in and tried telling me how much easier our lives were as singles and that we don't really have a right to complain about anything because we're not married. She was simply brushing off our concerns that we felt were important enough to bring up. Maybe it's because this last Sunday was Mother's Day - a day I struggle to attend church as I battle feelings of jealousy and loneliness while watching the young children sing about how much they love their mother, wondering if I'll ever get the chance to have a family of my own, but what she said stung. I looked straight at her and said those 5 words titling this post: trade places with me. Anytime.

At this point I finally thought I had an ally as another woman spoke up saying she agreed it would be good to assign a single woman to check up on a woman with a family...because then she could babysit! And that's where I gave up.