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I touch myself. The touching I am writing about is not of the sexual type. Sexual touching, that’s a given with me but it is one that I feel no need to share with you. I am checking that everything I know is as it should be. I am feeling for change. I am asking much. I am listening with my hands.

As I start to fall asleep, or am waking up, I run my hands over my body. It’s an exploration. If I find soreness or a tight muscle, I press my fingers into the spot and massage it. I push my palm flat against my ribs or my stomach and breath in and out, feeling muscles shift under my touch. I contract my muscles and play with the push and pull of what I can control.

It’s almost been a year. This time the year doesn’t mark the earthquake. It is a year since I moved deeper into my body.

Books are my religion. I open the pages and look through other eyes. Over time the overlapping perceptions, landscapes, and lives compress to form another strata of my morality and thought process. I internalize the words and combine them with my own personal experiences. This constant compression, readjustment, composting, and tectonic shifting eventually becomes expressed in my own words and writing.

I do not pray. I do not meditate. I move my body. I do this to elevate my mind and my moods beyond my words.

Dance is the zenith of my movement.

I cannot reach that peak with laying a foundation. I cannot bring forth words without my books, my ears, my life and time. I similarly cannot dance without feeding my body with food, inspiration, and exercise. I must erect a scaffolding that can support my weight before I can be weightless

My body changed more than usual over the last year. Part of my post-earthquake reality was that the economic damage to Tokyo restaurants resulted in my once/twice a week paid performances going to dancers who charged half my price. It hurt. It was an economic loss, for sure, but more than that it was the lost of a large part of how I defined myself as a dancer and an endpoint for which I had built my at-home practice toward. I carried around with me a sense of emptiness. I was simultaneously ashamed of feeling the loss because I was well aware of how minor it was in comparison to the loss of home, life, safety, income, and stability endured by those in Northern Japan.

In the first week of May, 2011, I started to add intense cardio-strength training into my routine of dance/dance practice/ and yoga. It is the difference this change made that I have felt as I run my hands along my body to check, test, explore….wonder.

I know that the workouts did more than build me physically. It was a way to stay emotionally stable. I needed to feel that I was in control of something after the trauma. The aftermath of the earthquake laid bare my vulnerability to nuclear contamination of air, water, and food as well as my lack of control over the earth I stand on. I felt my smallness in comparisons to governments, embassies, and regulations. My body seemed to be what was left to me.

I became more focused on my food and my water, for obvious reasons. I’ve been cooking for myself, with a solid grasp of nutrition and taste, for over a decade…which helped as I scanned daily government charts for cesium counts and made choices about my water and food sources.

I am thankful that I did have this body to repair within. My horrors were external. I don’t know where I would have turned if it were my body that were the source of the trauma as it must feel with a severe illness or injury. I haven't struggled with those I am thankful.

I can’t always write at my pinnacle. I can’t always dance at the zenith. To do either can be to stand naked and alone in the face of your emotions and experiences. There’s a reason it’s a peak, you can’t always be balanced on the narrowest point. It comes with dangers.

I wrote volumes in the weeks after the quake…and then I was quiet. I reduced my writing because I’d reached a point of diminishing returns where the healing rewards weren’t large enough to justify the pain of the process. I was also entering a severe depression. Still, I never stopped reading and thinking. I fed the body of my words even as I allowed my writing to go into hibernation.

I danced less. This reduction was not completely by choice yet it was tempered by the fact that I felt pre-emptive dread at what emotions dancing full-out would expose me to. I built my body through intense cardio and strength training, dance drills, yoga, seeing more shows and internalizing the inspiration and eating well. I did this all to have control over something, to be building something, with the dream of being able to feel free and vulnerable in movement.

I am writing this. There is a novel in my bag. My shoulders are sore from this morning’s workout. My desk calendar shows the dance classes I’ll teach this week. I have workshops and a show to attend this weekend and performances I am looking forward to in the near future.

It is spring again.

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Still in bed, doing a lot of sleeping. The coughing seems to have subsided. I'm simply in a cycle of sleep, produce more snotty tissues, take pile of tissues to the trash...repeat as needed. I'm trying to be back to work tomorrow.

Most of my medicine courses have ended, so I'm back to a few pills in the morning and evening instead of 5-8 in the morning and evening.

I have 2-3 months worth of my regular asthma/allergy meds. Mrs.N knows of an asthma/allergy specialist her daughter goes to nearby who also happens to be bi-lingual. She'll be helping me with that information because I really would like a new specialist. My guy is no good.
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I really wish my asthma/allergy specialist had had to good sense to slap a thermometer on me when I was there yesterday coughing so hard I couldn't talk. Had I thought I was suffering from something other than a fullblown asthma attack induced by the start of pollen...I would not have tried to dance.

Welcome to Influenza Type A. My supervisor took me to a clinic today (Sunday) and I gots it...will be away from classes of all sizes for a week.
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November 22nd, 2011
My parents are readers. This was not enough to keep them together, they divorced when I was three, but it did provide me two separate but extensive book collections to grow up in. They both continue to send me books they have read. I’m rarely surprised but usually pleased with what they include in care packages. My mother and I are close enough in taste that she’s learned to ask before sending, lest I’ve already read what she intended to mail.
And when we need to escape, when we need to burrow into a book that will allow time to fall away but not tax us too much, the three of us turn to mysteries. There is nothing like a good procedural. The unknown falls into patterns. There is also comfort in knowing that even though the case has been solved that the eccentric detective/ private eye/ lawyer/ old lady/ forensic scientist you’ve grown comfortable with will return in the next volume.
We book readers are not alone in our love with the crime procedural, television is as smitten. The bodies will continue but so will the battle for justice. The world is continually dark and trying to reach the light. Patterns will be exposed and evidence will bring us closer to the truth. Our biases will be revealed. Our flaws will compromise the outcome. The seemingly insignificant moments will be unwound and found to be the clue we needed all along. We will have our answers, but finding them has changed us…but never enough that we’ll be unrecognizable next week.
I also start with the body. What can I say? It provides me with structure. What I have written in the past, they photos I have taken, and those who can confirm my story are not always nearby, but I’m always within reach.
 More )
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Because this month has five Tuesdays, I am taking this Tuesday off from teaching dance…and am very excited about that. It’s Monday and I feel only the pressure to make use of my next two nights for my dancing and workouts.
(Which, as of posting, I have done. I’ve worked out, shimmy drilled, and cooked for my bento tomorrow…now a large sweet potato is cooking)
So what did October bring to me?Blah Blah ginger dance blah. )
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Today has been a busy day.

I woke up and got cracking on smoothing out my three lesson plans. Not working a full day and spending an hour on the train to Tokyo before I teach makes an understandable world of difference in my energy levels.

I've had three studnets in my Zills&Drills and Roma&More and really felt totally in control of my lesson, no hesitation. I'm getting a better sense of how to mentally pre-plan a lesson. In the break Eva and I planned for me to teach three short workshops in December: Intro to Zills. Zill choreography, and veil combinations. I had no beginners show up for the beginner class, but that should change after I do the student halfa tomorrow.

It was a good thing I got out early, as I had to scurry to Maihama (home to Disney land, Disney Sea, Ikspiari shopping and Cirque Du Soliel) because Ara had left me a ticket for Cirque. Ara is a bellydancer who moved to Japan 3 years ago when her husband got a job as a musician in the Cirque show Zed. They've let me see the show before, with my mom, up in teh sound booth. This time they left me a ticket to sit in the actual theater. Great show! Unfortunately, Cirque is a earthquake tourist/economy casualty and will close at the end of the year.

On the way out I caught an approved Ikspiari street performer....juggling/magic/comedy/unicycle and stopped and watched, because I realized that the performer, Jeremy, is one of the Tokyo Facebook friends I've had for 2-3 years and never met in person. I tipped well and sent a thank-you facebook message after.

Now I'm at home, ready to fall asleep early. No nausea today with the meds, but my head has started to hurt and the increased urination continues and annoys me.

I have many comments to reply to, please give me a day or two.

Tomorrow the Eva's studio is having a student and studio show, very small and informal, and I'll be dancing there as an instructor.


Sep. 2nd, 2011 07:03 pm
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Last night, after the psyche session and after joining up with Eva and Mona for food in Ueno, I took my first Lexapro and my first ambien.

Ambien! My body doesn't care for most sleeping pills and anxiety makes it worse. My system scoffs at sleeping pills. I was an amazingly happy camper when Ambien dragged me down and gave me the deep sleep I have been missing...unfortunately it was only 6 hours of deep sleep, due to my schedule, but it was nice.

I went to work pretty out of it and snuck off to the room they've been reserving for us so that we don't go crazy. In past days (even yesterday) I worked out in that room and prepared for dance lessons. Today, I fell asleep on the floor for two hours.

Lexapro side effects bothering me: nausea, fatigue, and increased urination. I am hoping these pass. Mid-day I googled them and, yup, right up there with common side effects. A dodgy stomach makes coffee a bit problematic which doesn't help the fatigue.

In the afternoon I managed to plot out two of tomorrow's three lessons (Zill&Drills, Roma&More and Beginer Bellydace) and review some dvds for teaching inspiration, I'm watching for how to teach using body language and easy to remember motions.

I've yet to write out what I am teaching day one in Roma & More. It's almost 7 PM and my body is fighting the idea of running through anything. It might just make sense to get to bed early and map out Roma in the morning before I teach. Most of it will be revieiwing the same thing I taught in the "taster" class last month...and I can build up layers a bit by spending more time on "throwing the stomach" in the moves...still, I'd like a good gesture-flow of sorts (basic front back step X4, side-sideX3, gesture combo...change feet and repeat as needed)...that may make more sense after I sleep.

My dance classes start at 11:30 tomorrow, with a lunch break, ending at 2. Then I've got a comp ticket for me to see Cirque du Soleil: Zed at 4pm as a me-reward.

There is a dance show I'd wanted to see, but I didn't get tickets because I realized that would be overload for me. Ganbatte, Hannah!

I think I'm going to prep my class bag and such, put out what I need for lesson planning, and watch brainless funny stuff for and hour and then CRASH.
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I’ve been working out 6 days a week, using a variety of those accursed Jillian Michaels DVDs, since May 5th. I know some people loathe her but I do enjoy that she isn’t all smiles and perky talk. I don’t like people being peppy at me when my body hurts. I like it when I feel like my occasional swearing would garner a laugh, not a frowny face, from the lady on the screen. I think she’s just a little too fond of plank variations and high-intensity jumpy shit. Jillian gets a bit guru-ish about this being about changing your life, not just your body, but that’s fairly common in many belly dance teachers and yoga teacher so it seems, well, normal.

workout and dance body blather )
parasitegirl: (Default)

Perhaps having LJ and FB blocked at work is what I needed to update and write more.


I’ve had a hard time writing this month…about the quake, my life, anything. It’s not so much about being blocked as it is feeling like I don’t have the energy or desire.


I shouldn’t be surprised and I shouldn’t feel like less than a writer for it. The quake overloaded me with words and starting points. I had things I needed to write about. It was the sort of writing that transports you to a highly emotional state, it revisited and catalogued difficult emotions, and while the rewards were high (working through/ understanding those emotions and staying connected to the outside world) it was exhausting and unsustainable.


Even thought the changes the quake have cause for me and my friends are not over, there is still much to write, in early May I hit a point where I needed to take a break. I needed to be free from words.


continued. )


parasitegirl: (Default)


(Crossposted to my costume page)

Well... look, I think the question I get asked the most is... I mean, it happens a lot. Enough that I would remark on it. A lot of people come up to me and they say, 'Tom, is it possible for a woman to get pregnant without intercourse?' And my answer is always the same. I say, 'Well, listen. We're gonna have to go all the way back to the Civil War.'”…Wait, that’s not what they ask me. That’s what they ask Tom Waits.

The question I get is, “When do you sleep?” It usually gets asked in relationship to the time it takes to make costume or fix them up. “You have a day job?” “Yes” You dance regularly” “Not an overwhelming amount, there are dancers who gig a hell of a lot more than I do on top of day jobs but I dance two… sometimes three times a week…yes.” “You make costumes?” “Yes”…

I do a lot, yes. I cook my veg meals. I try to have a social life. I try to keep my place clean and fun to live in. I try to write every day. I practice. I go to shows and workshops. I am gearing up for teaching…and, yes, I still find time to sit in my pjs (which I made!) eating my Hagendaaz and laughing at the internet. On the surface, bon-bons and stories are not the best use of my time but we all have our unwinding rituals and if I didn’t sloth and mock I wouldn’t be human and I wouldn’t be able to shake negative things off and get on with life easily…and Japan’s seasonal flavors of Hagendaaz are not to be missed, except pumpkin. I am not 100% ok with pumpkin as an ice cream flavor.

I’m not Martha Stewart. I am not a Stepford wife. I am not inhuman (although if my atopic dermatitis breaks out I do get a lovely flaky zombie-like face). I am not popping pills. I do sleep.


The How )
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I may have to do nothing tonight. I overdid it on the biking recently…my legs are super sore and my fingers…they feel the beating of beading. I’ve been practicing/drilling dance between and hour to and hour and a half every night for a week and a half and have been planning for this Wednesday, my hair coloring at Aveda night, to be my night of sloth…but my body is telling me otherwise today. It’s laughing at even slow, pose-y moves. Perhaps an hour of watching various performance DVDs is the way to go. I may just leave my bike at work and take the train home.

The darkening has begun as well. Last Friday I got way too bent out of shape about a slip-up with my gas bill. I was on the verge of tears and feeling all “I can’t do ANYTHING RIGHT. Doom! Gloom! I R failure” and even though my reasonable brain was saying “Um, dude…your reaction is out of proportion. You KNOW it is” and even “Shut up. You’ve transferred the cash and contacted them, everything is ok. Minor crisis is not only minor, it is over” it took a while for my sympathetic nervous system to stop going OMG YOU NEED MORE EPINEPHRINE AND FRIENDS as it likes to do as the darken season looms.

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I should have time tomorrow to actually blog again, and have my lunchtime on-line coffee date.

Thursday is my zill/percussion lesson and I'm dancing this Friday and Saturday (Istanbul Ginza/ Istanbul Shinjuku) .

In preparing to teach (and I will write more about that later) I've been better about practicing and keeping a practice log...who knows how long that will last, but it helps me think about how I learn and how I have come to, half-assed as it is, structure my practice.

I've also started practicing more often and longer and the weather has cleared up for biking to work and on errands...which has left me, over the last few days, feeling hella hungry and then realizing "duuuuurrr, you're biking and you've ramped up your dance practice and your generally healthy eating habits (with frequent Hagendaaz punctuations) are NOT cutting it..."

I'm not the sort of girl who forgets to eat, not by a long shot...but every once in a while it strikes me how much my eating habits and fitness levels (and better management at preventing needless stressors) have changed over the last, what, 7 years. DO I have picture from 7 years ago at my heaviest in Japan? No, no I do not.

This also struck me because THE costume I waited two weeks to figure out if it was mine or it I'd lost to the woman ahead of me (lost it)...THE costume that inspired me to make the Emerald City costume from scratch in October of 2006 and that really ratcheted up my costuming skills...well, the current owner contacted me today about selling it. I am waiting on measurements I but I think there is no way in hell I could possibly wear it now. I just don't have that build anymore.

At most, I found this picture of me about halfway between where I was and where I am now....behold baby-dancer at one of her first workshops!I look messy but cute. )

Pee! Pack

Aug. 10th, 2010 02:53 pm
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There’s stuff going on in my life that makes me smile but I can’t find the words…but I can bring you a regrettable impulse purchase! I may have learned not to buy every craptastic alcohol-based drink at the convini…I don7t dress in bad English or fill my house with bad-English spewing products...but I can’t always be trusted not to buy beauty products of the damned. 

My friend Renee pointed out that Miss. Super Sensitive Skin should have known better. Coming to terms with my mercurial skin has reduced purchases of lotions, salves, bath products, and the like...but…I have me some wicked hooves.

Oh, my feet retain cute points just because they are small boxes with tiny toes…but get closer to them and they are a calloused mess with some cuticle issues thrown in for fun. I wear dance sandals for restaurant gigs, so I don7t need half the hoof I have. I have never had a pedi and now live in fear that when I do (Seattle) the unfortunate soul in charge of my tooties will gag first and scold will be like when i got a haircut after a year and a half of doing it myself. I was verbally assaulted in two languages that time.

My foot scolding fears are I why I impulse bought Foot Pee! Pack. I wanted to think that the Pee! was just and unfortunate typography choice for Peel…but it indeed involves some urea. The Japanese, they loooooove putting urea in beauty products.                                                                                                      

Picture of front of box:

Ignore English sites about Foot Pee!...they tell lies. Foot Pee! is not a pack of plastic baggies you urinate into and stick on your foot.

What Foot Pee! is, however, is a product that promises to attack your feet with such  savagery that your dead skin peels off. There is a horrible picture of this on the back of the packaging…did that stop me? NO! I thought “That is delightfully grotesque. I must!” Was there Japanese I did not understand on the box? No! Do I have anyone but me to blame for this choice? NO! 

At home I cut the footie bags open, slid my feet into the rose-scented chemicals,  and taped everything closed.I expected to, ya know, lounge around for the 30minutes to one hour it takes.

I did not. It was a disgusting feeling and soon I realized that having sloshy plastic baggies taped to your feet makes you very unstable in the walking department.

The liquid also made me reassess my foot situation. I thought of myself as having heavily calloused feet…it turns out that I actually have very scraped-up heavily calloused feet. Mild cuts and abrasions…they burn. They burn like sin on Sunday.

As I tried to focus on Mr. Show to take the pain away, my chat pinged me. Oh! Great! Boy I like is awake and excited to chat with me…and all I talk about is my disgusting rose-piss soaking feet and OMG THEY BURN THEY BURN! and I can’t NOT type about it. I don’t have filters and small-talk abilities on the best of days…and being chemically burned isn’t on my best days list. 

He eventually decided it was better not to chat with me then...can't blame him.

I started reading the box more carefully. This concoction causes your dead skin to peel away…days after the application. That can’t be good, I thought. This is a chemical that penetrates your skin and slowly eats away for days and days and dead chunks of you fall away…suddenly the thing that sold me wasn’t seeming like an asset because OMG BURNS!! FOOT HERPES !

I couldn’t even bring myself to photograph the back of the box with the peeling picture because I felt shame and additional pain when I looked at

A few minutes shy of 30 I slip-waddled my way to the bathroom, perched on the bathtub edge and showered my feet.

They still stung, but less so now, and my bathroom  smelled like some mythical rose monster had urinated and defecated all over the place.

I shuffled back to my room and pondered what I had done. The burning…and the knowledge that my skin would eventually peel reminded me of the time an ex-boyfriend and I had partaken of liquid salvia in a New York hotel room.

He had thought me a wuss at the time. I had reacted by I locking myself in the bathroom so I could have some quality Alice-in-Wonderland freak outs about being tiny on a giant tiled expanse followed by the belief that I was vomiting lime green frogs…and then, over the next two days, he witnessed the inside of my mouth blister and peel away and felt bad for laughing.

My experience with Foot Pee! was last night…but today my feet have been tingling, burning, and experiencing warm flashes. It would be a lie to say that I wouldn’t be disappointed if nothing happens…but I am still freaked out by it.

When I posted about this on Facebook, Trish…who will be taking me for my first pedi while I am in Seattle..found a good bi-lingual page for a related product, a competitor of Foot Pee!, Baby Feet. Baby Feet seem to be a 2 hour process.

This is the page for basic info…I am linking to it because I know some people have issues with looking at feet.

This is the page for OMG GROOOOOOSSS pictures of the peeeeeeeeling and molting feet.

parasitegirl: (Opp!)

I forwarded the you tube clip of my local dental debut in a Japanese educational film to a friend last night..and he noticed how I cover my face slightly when I smile.

I posted a photo of the latest costume in progress last night, another friend remarked on the peace fingers I was flashing and noted that my hand has “Gone native.”

And any friend who has seen me within 48 hours of flying in America knows that there is a patina to my motions that is new…although it can be subtle in comparision to my temporary in-ability to see large empty streets without wondering what terrible nuclear event has happened, my freezing when faced with the choices and sizes of food,and the fact that I talk and gesture like I assume most everyone around me has a rudimentary grasp of English.

I get nervous for a while when we eat without saying itadakemasu. I bow my head at everyone.

When I first moved to Japan I disappeared. I slipped into a body language foreign to me…and I did so without checking to see if it fit. I became unrecognizable. I averted my gaze, reduced my eye contact, brought everything closer to my body. My voice didn’t jump octaves but it did sink in volume. My gait, and it is a distinctive strut, decreased.

And if you’d asked me, I’d have told you that I wasn’t experiencing culture shock…that my research into Japanese life and culture had protected me from such bumps. I was in shock. My studies created a sensitivity to my otherness and potential offenses that I was reacting against, and probably increased how lost I became in body and mind.

I didn’t see it happen. Those around me had no idea, because they had no sense of who I was across the ocean.

Then I visited Praveen in Singapore and he came to Japan to see me…and he saw it all. He saw it in disturbing detail. He saw the brash, explicit, skin-dweller of loud awkwardnesses and desires that he’d loved replaced by an alien of unsure smallness. I wasn’t myself…and when pushed to be who I was, and Praveen can push like no man I’ve ever loved, I brought forth fractured parodies. There were moments, but so much of who I am was obscured and confused.

We talked of foxes and hedgehogs…and while I don’t believe in such strong dichotomies to describe the intricate lives and personalities we are…I will agree that finding me rolled-up in a ball to protect myself from externals is something that would rightly share the shit out of most people who know me.

On August 8th, 2010, I will mark nine years since I landed in Narita for the first time.

I have adapted to my surroundings. My otherness has also become clarified in a way I now embrace. I continue to have jobs that are predicated on my otherness and yet require that I can integrate in traditional Japanese ways. I used to think of this as a balancing act, but now it is just what I do. Yes, it is a state of inhereint and shifting contradictions, but it is also the state where I live. I know my limits and also retain the flexibility required to prevent me from becoming the bitter ex-pat I could be.

I cover my teeth when I laugh but it is a laugh you can hear from rooms away.

I bring my hand up to the back of my neck in a move of modesty, nerves, submission, and then I look into you with the eyes I’ve always had.

I continue to be the girl you’ve always known…and that girl was always in flux....but I am also that girl who stood strong and solid.

parasitegirl: (Default)

I moved.

I can hear my brain and my body again without an overlay of “Can I afford it? Who will sign? What will I fuck up? Can I do this myself?”…and you know what my body is saying?

It wants to be fed.

Because when the mental noise lifts I am reminded that it is summer time, a time of great fecundity. The world is in full bloom. Petals strain open. Stamens quiver. Everything is so goddamned obvious in what it wants. I am.

I know this time of year. I might not know you. When I leave this train, or step onto a side street, I may never see you again…but…in my mind you are undressed, posed, and prodded into elaborate fantasies strangely evoking than the ones my depraved Barbies were once sent on (although slightly less colored by the video for Whip-it, I’ve seen more). I’d apologize… but I feel no remorse and am unwilling to give this up.

I communicate.

I send texts. I miss you. I barely knew you. I ask when you’re free. I figure out when we can meet up. I wonder about bending time and distance. I shield my chats from coworkers. At it slowly falls into place: The close and the next weeks and the far flung anticipations that could take months…years.

Do my past missteps inform me? Do I tread carefully? Let me just say that care is for the slippery slopes and thin ice of winter, my friends.

Enjoy your summer.





parasitegirl: (Default)

Two more people this week have suggested that I should remove all my make-up after gigs and “dress down”…for my safety.


Ya know what, my make-up and looks might make me a target. You know what else? Dressing down, removing all my make-up, making the attempt to deliberately cover my body more…that might also signal “passive, afraid, good target…won’t fight” and make me a target. I’m not saying “if I remove my make-up the terrorists and harassers have already won.” but I am saying “Removing my make-up doesn’t mean they don’t win or that I am safer, it just means I am more inconvenienced in what is already an unfair and frustrating situation “

I also feel that measures like washing all traces of make-up provide a sense of false security and may mean more effective ways of reducing risk are overlooked.

There is no magic look that makes women safe.

I try to adopt behaviors that reduce my risk: I don’t listen to my ipod as I walk home. I try to stay aware of my surroundings. I alter my route home sometimes. If I see suspicious behavior towards me I stop and get a GOOD look at it and am not afraid of offending with a negative reaction to potential untoward behavior or looking like a crazy bitch. I do what I can to stay safe and to keep things safe for other women. I am vocal. I tell. I talk. I share my experience. I endure annoying questions from police officers in order to reduce my future risk and to give other neighborhood women who may be targeted by this creep a better chance at justice.

I’m not going to scrub my face of make-up that is appropriate for outdoor wear just because it might make me look “too pretty”

Yeah, I also would like to be back to "see my pretty costumes/ stories of crazy children/ good writing" on this here blog.

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It’s been a slow time for dance. I texted E to make sure the lack of gigs was due to slowness at the restaurants and not due to any fuck-ups on my part. Just slow, she says.


That’s ok because we’re coming up on what should be a challenging re-invigorating weekend. AZIZA! Woooty wooot! Friday is the show and Saturday and Sunday are workshops. The workshops I haven’t paid for I am working at…so I’ll be getting the full experience.


In the meantime, while I haven’t been practicing much I have been getting back in the swing of biking. When I returned from Taiwan I promptly bought a new (working) bike with multiple speeds and the essential basket. A single speed, point-A-to-point-B, normal Japanese bike wasn’t going to cut it because the primary use is getting to the schools I teach at and the city hall I work at…and the name of the city I work in is 流山 (literally something like “flowing through the mountain” ) …so…thar be mountain. I’’m not getting hardcore (I looked at hardcore bikes, but they aren’t the sort of thing you toss baskets on and I usually have teaching supplies and a lunch…) but I do feel the difference in my thighs and calves…but the first few nights I woke up with screamingly bad calve cramps. I’ve upped the potassium. I should also look into getting a backpack again.


The biking means I should be able to find more local produce stands on my trips home. Time in Taiwan and the transition back to a more Tokyo diet reminded me how little my body likes processed foods and….(sigh) dairy. I’m moving back to more veggies and fewer breads and cheeses…gave up milk a while ago but cheese is never going away 100%


More biking will mean more urgency in finding a face sunscreen that agrees with me. Yesterday, in my test run to work, my sunscreen caused my eyes to water and for a few allergic blotches to bloom. I’ve ordered Aubrey’s from our local organic supplier. I should also look into oxidized zinc because it has worked in the past but is impossible to find here. I may need to place a favor order from one of you guys.


I need to cancel my sports club membership. I don’t have time and if I am biking 30-50 minutes a day (weather permitting) and dancing…something is going to go. My sports club is closed once a week and doesn’t open early…so I don’t get to it much.


This weekend I also came across flyers for the dancer I know in Matsudo and Kashiwa (my hood). She’s got a studio, looks like she’s gone full time with it. I’ll see her at Aziza. I know she wants me to be a guest dancer at some shows for her student…maybe I should see if she wants another teacher at the studio and just plunge in.

parasitegirl: (Default)

People had asked for face/make-up updates, so here you go:


My make-up will not be of interest to all. )


parasitegirl: (Default)
Arguably the number one topic belly dancers would like to stop having to educate people on/or deal with is the perceived goal of seduction the dance is said to have.

Dance uses the body. Dancers show the world what their bodies can do. Dance shows people that bodies in motion have impact. The impact can be visual, emotional, political, apolitical…it can be about the music, or a narrative, or the person dancing…and it can also be about opposition to the music, or about the dancer as a body and not as a person…like any art, it is complex and is often about many things at one and can be read in many ways.

We can’t control how everyone reacts to our art or interprets it. We can work toward a specific reaction or try to convey a fixed idea, but ultimately it’s out of our control.

I speak as an artist who studied drawing/fine arts and specialized in figure drawing long before I came to the dance. I know what it is to have my 2-d artwork cast as sexual simply because it is about the body. Often the body I depict is my own, which always carries with it some risk.

Bellydance can be interpreted in sexual terms. It’s about the body. It's not only about the body but the body is always involved. This doesn’t mean that the goal of the dance is to be sexual or seduce, simply that sexual interpretation is one of many ways people may potentially react and interpret what we do.

Sure, seeing bellydance only in sexual terms is a gross reduction of the complexity of the art and culture of the dance. It’s like saying punk music is only about being loud and doesn’t come from a place/time/structure and isn’t trying to evoke certain specific reactions…or that ballet is about showing the world thin people in motion…or that modern fiction is about dirty words and unromantic situations….or modern cinema is about unlovable people...

To only see it in sexual terms does it a disservice. To assume that because one finds it arousing that the intent of the dance is to arouse or seduce is ignorant.

Yet I also feel that dancers who react to any and all reactions to the dance as sensual/seductive/sexual are foolish and are foolishly denying part of the power of the body in motion. You can’t define how people react to art, you can only define your intentions.

I think it is perfectly possible to acknowledge that sexual reactions to a body in motion are natural (and out of our control) and still have artistic integrity.

I don’t care who “gets off” on the dance, only that if they do that they continue to be polite and not treat me in an unacceptable manner, that they don’t make me an unwilling part of their fantasy life, and that they don’t wrongly assume that their reactions are a reflection of the conscious goals of the art form or a reflection of the culture it comes from
parasitegirl: (Default)
Asthma presenting itself before any allergy or illness is relatively new for me. It started last winter. My eyes/ears/throat doctor gave me asthma medication but urged me to see a specialist and made a recommendation.

For those of you who've read me for a few years, you might have noticed that despite the fact I've been going to this new doctor for over 7 months now and am on daily medication, my asthma seems to be more frequent and urgent (usually requiring extra medication for short amounts of time) despite my general health and quality of life being a little better...but if you didn't notice I don't blame you...I didn't notice it. I just thought "I have asthma now, this is what it is like."

I have found my doctor to be too brief in explanations, low on questions, and he has simply been prescribing the same daily meds and "bad time meds" each time I end up having to go in before our scheduled follow-up due to asthma severity.

Yesterday, at work, I started showing signs that looked like influenza. Despite the fact my latest asthma problem (last week) was responding to more medicine, I was red, dizzy, my body ached, I lost my appetite, and started to retch. Two co-workers, Including Mr.West, found a clinic near my home to take me to.

In the car I began to hyperventilate. I cycled through partial blackouts, weakness, and hyperventilation about 6 or 7 times...including collapsing in the parking lot and once in the clinic where tiny Japanese nurses had to lift me, put me in a wheelchair, and lift me onto a table. I also succeeded in freaking the fuck out of many elderly patients.

The doctor suspects I had an anxiety triggered attack due to my allergies and asthma and stress. Life outside of my lungs has been rather wonderful lately and I've been feeling less stress than in past years. I was prescribed antihistemines to knock me out for the night...

And they didn't.

At 6;30AM I organized a help squad including two bi-lingual support staffers who care about me (and one is a dentist, so she can get the respect I may need when talking to my doctor) and my co-workers. I have had a short nap since then.

I strongly suspect that the medication(s) I have been on has made my asthma worse and have increased my anxiety, insomnia, and poor mental health.

Today at 1:30 the dentist (yes, the one responsible for me being in an educational film) and I will go to my doctor together. She will report findings to my co-workers and we understand that I may need to find a different physician.

Tomorrow the other support staff will help me with communicating with my co-workers about how I feel about my job. I think Mr.West and my new boss have made my job vastly less stressful and more productive over the last 7 months, so I want to convey that any anxiety I might be displaying is not because of them and that I like the challenging nature of my work. I have had more difficult jobs in Japan and survived without any dramatic hyperventilation meltdowns.

I will keep you guys posted.

I have also cancelled dancing in the Ava Fleming show this weekend and know I cannot go to workshops. I've never canceled a show.


parasitegirl: (Default)

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