Committed Action. It’s a buzz word / phrase / piece of dogma left over from my Lifespring days. It’s one of my favorites though. If you asked my dad, he’d tell you I learned that one early. Shit or get off the pot or something like that. Maybe more like, are you going to do that or sit there and talk about it all day? (because if you’re going to just talk about it, shut the eff up)
He’s probably right. Skydivers are a harsh crowd, harsh being seriously subjective. I don’t consider the breed particularly harsh *but* if you were to ask my brother he’d tell you he spent his career working at making the sport a kinder, gentler place. He probably did too. All that means is he found a nicer way to say put up or shut up. Seriously, I’m not making this up. He’s also the guy who told me with a grin I could hear on the phone (maybe he’ll deny this), Alecto, they pay me to be an asshole. He’s an excutive level corporate coach. He gets paid to tell people who make critical decisions (and make a shit load of money and answer to often really PO’d stockholders) that they’re doing some really stupid things. Or something like that.
I admire my brother very much and it’s not because of what he does for a living. That part is hardly relevant. It’s how he is in the world.
CG is another story entirely. It’s too much to go into here but a lot of years ago (it is now officially a lot of years) she decided she wanted to ride horses again. Given her life choices this didn’t exactly fit within the lines and there wasn’t an easy answer. There could be a lot of talking about it or even more easily a lot of talking about why not but that isn’t what happened. What happened is that CG started riding horses again in a really huge and incredibly empowering way. Seriously. And she didn’t have the answers either. She still doesn’t have the answers to how she’s going to get to what’s next. Sometimes she doesn’t even know what’s next, there’s just a what’s next because of how and who she’s being. CG is in a constant state of growth, movement and what’s possible. And people, here’s the most important part of all. This is effing earth shattering if you can actually let it in:
The Contrary Goddess did not have the authority or necessarily agreement to do or cause any of this. She just reached for it. Period. End of story.
I’m pointing this out because it is a way to live in the world. I might just as well tell my brother’s story or even part of mine or talk about what Elizabeth is doing right now and how we’re getting there (and how we have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what comes next or how we’re going to do it or how we might be crazy and how people look at us and blah fucking blah). CG’s is a really good story.
I got really, really mad the other day. Last night, actually. Livid, actually. As in red in the face and back away from Facebook and text and IM and any other possible conversation because You. Are. Not. Fit. To. Speak. To. Anyone. at the moment…
I was mad enough to recognize one of my very humongous buttons was being pushed from a couple of different directions and I needed to take myself off by myself and wipe myself off before I got some of myself on a whole bunch of people or even just one person and boy did that take a bit. I had to think about why I was so upset too. I mean, really, the world is full of hot air and I live at Bureaucracy Central so come on, Alecto, what’s this really all about? Why are you so vested in the behavior of other people right now? Why is it you think you can run first and third person together and get away with it? Oh, right, never mind.
OK, so here it is.
A little more than a year ago I became aware of a conversation (a LOT of conversations) about the concept of gender free calling in the contra world – or the desire for or possibility of. What does this mean? Dancers are referred to by their gender. Positions are determined by gender, the dance is (or we are conditioned to think of it as) lead/follow (not necessarily true at all). It all starts during the teaching. How do we start and end a swing. Think ballroom. My right arm is out because I am a woman and I am in the follow position (unless I have done a role swap which I am not very good at yet but I need to handle that). A swing ends with the woman/follow to the right of the man/lead. Teaching is like this: The woman is always on the right… the woman is always right… ha ha… hackles rise – mine do, anyway.
Here is an even better one – hand position during the asking and accepting of a dance – the woman’s hands are palm down and the man’s hands are palm up… I find that particularly offensive for an awful lot of reasons but I am terribly off topic. When I ask a man to dance, my hands are palm up *because* I am asking. This has caused some confusion because I am not asking to be in the left side role, but I refuse to ask in what I consider a submissive gesture. Ain’t happening. Anyway.
Back to, this conversation about gender neutral or even gender free terminology has been going on for a long time. I’ve been listening to it for a year. I’ve been listening to it LOUD, up close and personal emotional for a year. Not always in my face, but DAYUM, there’s some STUFF going on where I live (dance) as in an awful lot of energy on the subject and when I stop and compare where I dance up against some other big dances well, yeah, I can see it’s a bit progressive where I’m spending my time and there’s an awful lot of room for ideas and acceptance and some things I don’t even blink at although in thinking about it, I’m not likely to blink at much. I’m from New York (I’m from a lot of places, one of them being New York, this will be important in a minute).
After a lot of exhausting conversation (me listening, a lot of other people talking) NM said something about one place in particular likely to be the one place that would just up and do it one day and that would be the only way it was going to happen because nobody was ever going to agree on one solution or one set of terminology. People still can’t agree on whether or not it’s a lead/follow dance. I’ve been waiting for one day. My assumption was a lot of people were waiting for one day or being at cause for one day or something like that. I have not been at cause for much of anything short of being clear about how I feel about the subject. I’m not a caller, I don’t live North in that community and I can’t even call it my home dance even if I do dance there more than anywhere else. But I’ve been waiting for it. And I had an expectation. I still have one. Might be my expectation was way bigger than the noise I’ve been listening too.
I hate it when that happens.
A local college is going to do this second Wednesday in February. It’s a 2.5 – 3 hour drive for me on a school night and you’d better believe I’m going to be there. It’s not a very nice place to dance in terms of other places I could dance in that area. Floors aren’t the best, there are posts in the way and the band might be a bit unknown but the caller is good. The dancers are mostly new (students) and then older locals so there’s that… All this fed to me within minutes of making a fairly public statement of support. In other words, Alecto, don’t bother, it won’t be worth the drive.
You support this change, right? You support this change and you’re trying to talk me out of supporting it also? Pause. Blink.
I don’t think anyone is going to this dance. I think the students who want a gender neutral dance are going to this dance. I think some older local dancers who are used to supporting that dance when it actually happens (it’s not self-funding yet) may go to that dance.
I’ll be at that dance.
But the noise. I don’t think the noise is going to be at that dance.
The noise is still on Facebook collecting statistics and arguing itself blue in its collective face. It feels collectively superior and good about itself or collectively outraged depending on which side of the fence it’s sitting on. I don’t hold the collectively outraged contingent accountable other than maybe they ought to show up and check this out, maybe just to see if they’re as offended as all that to be referred to as something other than a lady or a gentleman when asked to star left.
But the collectively superior pontificating noise? I hold you accountable and I’m feeling just a small bit contemptuous at the moment.
Your New York siblings have a very small dance in comparison. A lot of turnover and a fair percentage of perpetual beginners and somebody referred to them as Bellevue on a day pass (might have been accurate once upon a time). New York decided to do something big. Nothing nearly as big as changing terminology, but big all the same. Big enough to hit the Facebook boards and be questioned about whether or not they could pull it off. They pulled it off. 200 people showed up. Yes, the band was good. Yes, the caller was good. Yes, they got in free (but they had to WORK the entire 2 hours). They showed up.
I have no idea what it took for New York to come up with the funds for that dance but they did that too.
So there’s all that. Expectation. Nasty stuff. But I HAVE expectation. I do.
I’m going to that dance. I’m very excited about this. I have no idea what’s going to happen. Maybe we will all fall down. Maybe we will not.
(p.s. show up in your own life. It’s important)