The other day I posted a dream where I was taking a picture. My awareness was behind the camera looking through the lens. A volcano was in the background and I think it was Haleakala, but it could have been Kilauea. The person in front of the camera was a younger me.
Two nights before I had been at my friend’s house (“P”) for an Oscar party. While we were watching the Oscars, she busted out a photo album from 1983 (P and I were roommates) and was showing my daughter pictures. She wanted to show my daughter pictures of an event we worked once. Another friend of ours is a dancer (she was also at the Oscar party). Our dancer friend (“T”) led an exciting life back in the 80’s, traveled the world dancing, and even now works events as a ballroom dancer. Did you know that wealthy people hire ballroom dancers to start the dancing at their events? I guess the professional dancers make the rest of them feel like they are dancing better just by being on the same dance floor with them. Anyhoos, T and her troupe were working a huge convention event once in 1983, and they needed a couple of extra dancers to dance in the go-go booths. Yes, while T and her group were doing jazz numbers on the stage, P and I were put in go-go booths. The theme was under the sea and we had these humongous head pieces on that I think were supposed to be seaweed. Our dance costumes were beige leotards with green sequins spiraling around us.
You could tell in the pictures that we were having the time of our lives. We went through the rest of the album, and it reminded me how much carefree fun we had back then. We started off living in Waikiki and made friends with several of the beach boys that worked the sailboats. We would sail for free at sunset with them when they took the boats back to the harbor. There were pictures of us on the sailboat. We were in swim suits I had forgotten and in bodies that left us long ago. Or at least are trying to leave us by heading in sags towards the ground.
The movie Flashdance came out that year and P had pictures of us lined up in the apartment before going out clubbing. We were dressed in miniskirts, pumps and little white anklets. Our T’s were ripped to fall off the shoulder like Jennifer Beals. My daughter looked at these pictures and asked if we had worked another show that night and that she like our “costumes.”
There were pictures from a birthday party we had in our apartment when my dad was visiting and staying with us. If I was 25, he was 58. Only a few years older than I am now. He was sitting there surrounded by my Bobby McGee’s friends. While everyone else was hamming it up and posing for the camera, he sat in the midst with a beer in his hand. I remember he went to bed early while the rest of us drank late into the night and then he woke me up first thing in the morning and wanted his tourist day. We rented mopeds and went for hours on them, winding up at the harbor where he wanted to take a cruise on the glass bottomed boat. He got pissed off that I wanted to take a nap on the deck in the sun when he had paid good money for me to be below deck, looking through the glass. It was stuffy and gross down there and made me want to throw up. I was hung over after all.
So in this midst of a chaotic week where life piles up around me faster than dirty laundry, my dreams are pointing me toward reflection. My readers left some wonderful insights in the comment thread that also point me in that direction.
When I look at the photos of all the younger me’s, I see myself living life, not getting beaten up by it. Next month I will make my three year mark as a cancer survivor. No matter how much busy each day hands me, I want to remember to stay centered and focused on what is important. I want to live life, not just get through each day. I want to acknowledge all the different selves I have evolved through over the years. Here is a quote from a favorite story. Sandra Cisneros says it so well, I’ll let her say it for me.
What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you've eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don't. You open your eyes and everything's just like yesterday, only it's today. And you are--underneath the year that makes you eleven.
Like some days you might say something stupid, and that's the part of you that's still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama's lap because you're scared, and that's the part of you that's five. And maybe one day when you're all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you're three, and that's okay. That's what I tell Mama when she's sad and needs to cry. Maybe she's feeling three.
Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree truck or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one.
Sandra Cisneros, Eleven
Your sound is fine. The music comes in a t 20 seconds. I know you are busy, but relax and enjoy the video. This is one of my favorite Hawaiian songs. It always reminds me of change and growing older and wanting to go back to our childhood selves. In 1987 this song was played at the funeral of a friend of mine. She was married to a bartender at my work and they had three young children. She was killed in a car accident and at the funeral, when the musicians were playing this song, and I had to sit there and watch those three kids in the front row, I really lost it. I "cried like my three year old self."
Change is a strange thing it cannot be denied
It can help you find yourself or make you lose your pride
Move with it slowly as on the road we go
Please do not hold on to me we all must go alone
Now this song always brings a lump to my throat and reminds me of my own mortality. So, no matter how busy things seem, the yield sign starts flashing and I leave busy for a few minutes and do something that will make memories instead of just making a living.
I have no idea who the dancer is in the video, but I thought her interpretive dance was kind of cool. It is not traditional hula, and the YouTube site says it is a combination of several dance styles.
For more spins on change, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.