Friday, July 17, 2009

Bellydance Anyone?

Not working for a year means doing all the things I have wanted to do but have not had the time for. But perhaps I am also too old to do so many things I have held off on. Belly dancing for one. Maya and I arrived in Baltimore in time to watch Daphne and her bellydance troupe perform. Although I would love to learn to bellydance, I truly cannot imagine that I can. I was surprised to see the women in all their shapes and sizes being so unselfconscious. Or perhaps they were but were working hard to overcome shyness or discomfort. I love the music and the moves. I wonder if Maya or Tara will one day learn to dance this way. It is remarkably sensuous and daring, particularly considering that it originated in the Middle East. There is no doubt that women in Islamic culture have significant behavioural constraints; bellydancing doesn't quite fit.

It is more likely that next year I will dance the salsa and the merengue and the cumbia. I will focus on the culture I am going to be living in. Ecuadorians like to dance, and thankfully, Eric does a version of the salsa. We took lessons together, and he did learn some moves. Dance is probably the only activity that women and men engage in together where the men lead and the women follow. Absolutely.

I am trying to figure out how to be together with Eric and maintain my sense of self. Looking back at the years as a couple; we have lived parallel lives, each moving along on different planes, taking care of the family by concentrating on alternative tasks. Even when our focus is on the same goal, we have divided up the work and have made contact along the way. I anticipate that our year in Ecuador will be different in that being away from all that is familiar, we will gravitate toward each other, but perhaps not.

What is entirely different is that I am no longer working or contributing financially, and that is particularly unsettling for me. I am consciously letting go of control and letting Eric make most of the financial decisions, now that he is 'the breadwinner'. Of course, I always have an opinion, and I cannot help but express it, but the ultimate decision rests with Eric. He leads and I follow. I am trying to get used to the balance of power.

I am following Eric. I am finishing my life here and moving to Ecuador. It feels as if for the first time since childhood, I am not leading the way. I wonder how long I will be comfortable with this new way of being.

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