May 27th, 2001

red panda eating bamboo

The eternal public vs. private

I am always waffling about how much to say in my Firecat LiveJournal vs. my private LJ.

OK, so what is the goal here?
*not to embarrass or hurt anybody I'm friends with by saying too much about them.
*not to embarrass me by talking too publicly about stuff I generally consider private.
*to play.
*to find like minded people. But honestly that's pretty far down on the list. There are better ways to find like minded people than LJ.

I'll try writing most of my stuff except really heavy stuff in the Firecat journal for a while. If you are a friend of mine and want the heavy stuff too, drop me an email and I'll tell you the name of the other journal. But please note, there is a chance I will say I don't know you well enough to feel comfortable sharing the other journal with you. If that happens I hope you won't be offended.

red panda eating bamboo

Do I wanna be a star?

M. asked me to join her new performaing fat grrl hip-hop dance group.

I am ambivalent. For one thing, I am concerned about taking up lots of weekend time for rehearsals that I would have to drive to. On the other hand, I would probably get something out of it. I shouldn't be so anti-performance. ("Shouldn't"? By that I mean performance is something I've felt ambivalent about, both drawn to and repelled from. I think that getting some experience in it would improve me as a person--by that I mean give me more options and choices.)

In 8th grade, I was in a singing group. We were going to perform "You're So Vain." I quit when the other members wanted to use costumes and dance steps instead of just singing. I laugh contentedly over that now because it was so nerdy of me and at the same time I am proud that I was firmly standing up for My Vision of What I Thought Singing Should And Should Not Be.

I was pretty good at standing up for My Principles in grade school. It's kind of weird that I hate conflict much more now and and less of a loner, and as a result I am more likely to "go along" with things that aren't exactly attuned to My Vision.

So now I have an opportunity to do a dance performance, with costumes and choreography, among people I belong with (fat women). Overall that feels like a good thing.

More angst: I am worried that I won't be good enough. Based on my experience in class, it takes a lot of effort for me to learn arm movements, and to remember routines of longer than a minute, and if I get tired I am more likely to forget stuff. On the other hand, M's classes are one-shots and we have very little time to learn the routine. I'm sure I'd get better at it if I could practice it more than once.

So why am I consider this sort of a "second tier" activity? For one thing, OH can't participate because it's women-only. But why should that matter? Because I also have another first tier thing, the animal shelter, that he doesn't participate in. (Doesn't is different from can't, I note.) I am also thinking it's second tier because I feel like I should devote the time I'm not socializing and doing the animal shelter stuff to learning computer stuff and crafts. (Where did *that* "should" come from? It came from thinking that I ought to specialize more. But I have always "specialized" in dance -- that is, one form or another of dance has generally been an important part of my life. I just haven't gone the performance route before.)

This year my mission is to "be my concentrated essence." The animal shelter is because I love animals and I enjoy volunteer work. So does being in a fat grrl hip-hop performance troupe count? Answer: No. Dancing hip-hop is, but the performance aspect isn't. My essence is not about performance.

So does that mean I shouldn't do it? Means I still haven't decided, I guess.

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red panda eating bamboo

Report on the NAAFA convention

Enjoy, beth666ann!

9:20pm, 26 May 01
Went to the NAAFA conference. The registration desk wasn't open. I looked in the Trunk Sale rooms, but I couldn't find my friend I had come to meet up with. I collected a bunch of brochures and headed up to the 5th floor because I thought some people would be selling clothes out of their room up there. A conventionally attractive tall guy got in the elevator with me and smiled and talked to me and tried to be helpful (he said that no one was selling out of their rooms right now, and I said I had just arrived and was trying to find my friend, and he asked her name). I found that a very interesting experience because in the real world conventionally attractive guys almost never smile at me in that way. I found it a bit disconcerting to be honest, even though he didn't seem creepy or anything. It reminded me of an interview on E! with Gwynyth Paltrow, about her new movie where she wears a fat suit for part of the movie (she wears a fat suit instead of having a fat actress play the part because the point of the movie is that someone falls in love with a fat chick and "sees" her in his mind's eye as "beautiful". Now, it drives me up a tree that they have to show a "thin" woman in order to express that her lover finds her "beautiful," but that's Hollywood.) Anyway, she said that she put on the fat suit and went into the lobby of this swanky hotel and it really upset her because no one paid any attention to her. I thought that I rather like not being paid attention to much of the time, and it would be damned annoying to go into the lobby of a hotel and have all sorts of strangers paying attention to me. So I guess it is about what you're used to.

So no one was selling out of their rooms, and I went back to the Trunk Sale rooms and looked around, feeling self-conscious. I ran into my friend G (not the person I was to meet up with, but seeing her helped me relax a bit). Then I saw Cathy who runs Big on Batik and I relaxed some more. I have bought a lot of her stuff over the years. Her husband was with her. I hadn't met him before, because in the past I've always seen her at women-only conventions. He was also smiley and helpful. I bought a "bare back" top from her. Unfortunately she is no longer making the fringed caftan tops in NONSHRINKING rayon that I love. She said that there was too much competition in that particular cut.

I also tried on an item from Sandie's Boutique for size. She didn't have anything I wanted in my size, but she had a lot of very beautiful fabrics, including "tie dye purple stretch velvet" and "sparkle poodle" and "sheer red velvet burnout." She bragged about how people think she and her daughter are sisters and how she might be a grandmother but she didn't want to dress like one. I said "We just have to change the idea of how grandmothers are supposed to dress." I hate it when people have negative attitudes about age, but I will save that rant for another time.

I got bored with shopping and wandered to the other end of the hotel where M's dance class was going to be. R, the instructor for another movement class, was there. She had the shape of a typical skinny personal trainer type and I was suspicious of her. I figured I would just get a glass of water and sit down for a minute, but she came over and introduced herself. I ended up staying for her class, which involved a lot of core-muscle-group strength training. It was pretty good -- R has a good sense for large bodies and how they move. I was mildly annoyed that because I had told R I was not currently doing much exercise (by which I meant I'd let my exercise habit slack off for about a month so I am currently on the "more weak and out of shape" end of my fitness curve) she seemed to assume I had never done any, and she came across a bit patronizing.

So then I stayed for M's class. My friend who was supposed to be going to it didn't show up but a couple of other people I knew from other conferences were there. I am frustrated with one aspect of M's teaching style, but I had fun learning the routine and dancing it in front of the other group. M wanted to go out to the hotel lobby to do it for an audience, but we didn't.

I was exhausted after 3 hours of movement classes. Three of us went to the pool, which was a really big T-shaped one with a nice hot tub, but it had a domed glass ceiling which created a lot of sharp echoes (there were some non-NAAFA folks in the pool having a loud game of "volleyball"). I sat in the hot tub for a while but I was too tired to push my way into any of the conversations that were happening. So I got into the pool instead, which was very pleasantly cold, and I paddled around for about 15 minutes. I decided I was too exhausted to go to the next event, which was a formal dinner-and-dance, and I went home.

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    accomplished accomplished