“The older the fiddle, the finer the tune” ~ M

Awful nightmare during an attempted mid-afternoon nap yesterday. I don’t think I was truly asleep but I was trapped. My nightmare revolved around a thought that nags me when I’m awake: I’m single with no children. My mother is all I have left and when she’s gone, I’ll truly be alone. In my nightmare, my mother had passed and I felt so alone, I killed myself.


Burned sage around the bedroom and the house to try and shake off the funk. I remember something “L” told me: talk to your past, tell it you are breaking those contracts of regret and resentment and you want to clear your name with your enemies. Bring on the peace. Slept better last night but anxiety set in again as the next day wore on and my weekend ran out.

First weekend out of the boot and I put an insane amount of pressure on myself to get out and dance. Showed up to train for Diavolo on Saturday but they were working on another piece I wasn’t in so training canceled. And next weekend because of Labor day, they decided. Too many people out of town. I should have been one of them.

Sunday, I went to an Afro Cuban dance class but it was more Bomba than Afro. I couldn’t see the footwork under the skirts, understood only every fifth word, and felt like my soul never left the bed today. I used the foot to excuse myself 40 minutes into the class.

I called a friend and said last chance to dance this weekend, let’s hit Sunday Sabrosura! But that event is crazy crowded and if you don’t get there early to make friends and find a place to throw your purse, you’ll spend the entire time painting the wall with your backside. She wasn’t up for that.

So two middle-aged, divorced dancers headed to the waterfront to drink and poke fun of the men our aged, trying to pick up on the women half our age. But truth is, around here, a drink and a box of “touch of grey” beardcolor and they get those onesie-wearing 20 somethings. Can’t really blame them. I might have had a daddy complex at that age too. But now I’m 43 and my friend is turning 60. Good dancers, decent shape for our age, career women, low-maintenance…but men around here don’t go for “age appropriate”.


What helped was calling another friend, “S”.  Divorced and in dating-hell as well but on the opposite coast. I told him he’d have much more luck fishing here. We should trade. We chatted about my birthday hiking trip which got postponed when I broke my foot. He’ll be joining me in a few weeks on a fast, exhausting trip around Mt. Ranier. Somehow we got to chatting about another friend of mine who lives a few hours away near Portland. Well, that is, I consider him a friend. We all served in the same Battalion but different Companies. Plus, “M” and I went through AIT together so I knew “M” a bit better than “S” did. Still, “S” being a good wingman mentioned: “If you told him you were coming here, he would make the drive, I’m sure of it”.

“M” was one of those people you (Okay, I) meet and think, he’s a good person, we get on well, he’s into me and he’s not hard to look at… So what’s the problem? Chemistry.

Ten years ago, I cited lack of chemistry. He poured his heart out to me and I was flattered but also crushing on a former sniper turned philanthropist and a year later, a former Jesuit priest turned sniper. You might say I have a type. M particularly hated the Priest. M also never made a move on me so who’s to say a firm hand in my hair and mouth crushing kiss wouldn’t have gotten my attention?


I vaguely recall an article based on some supposed scientific study years ago about how we are instinctually attracted to people with symmetric features.  M is asymmetric in a John Wayne meets Daniel Craig sort of mash up. It’s been more than 10 years now since I’ve seen him in person but in a recent photo, on the day of his military retirement, he is reclining, foot propped on an ammo can, thumbs hooked in his belt loops and squinting into the sun. I think “Lookin good, old man” and I know he would reply “The older the fiddle, the finer the tune”. 

I usually hike solo but I’m staying with “S” and he’s taking time off to hike with me. Would S want to share our time together? I think not but again, I assume he’s just being a dutiful wingman suggesting I mention it to “M”. But it got me thinking.

So I text M. Said it was only three days, I was staying with S, understood it was a far drive…he text back immediately “Shoot, it’s only a three hour drive. I’m down for a hike and a drink.”

I panicked a little then and laid the groundwork of expectations: “I’m fat and slow now so don’t judge.”

He replied “I’ll leave it to the Christians to do the judging.”

I said “Great! Can’t wait to pee in the woods with you next month”.

“That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me” he text back.


Maybe he wont be able to make it, I think. Maybe I don’t want him to. I don’t have any mojo currently. Especially after Friday night’s costuming attempt at home that became a private humiliation, discovering I couldn’t squeeze into pre-laced corsets that I fit just two months ago. I was big then and I’m even bigger now.

So there I was: Prancing around feeling like I was caught in a giant Chinese finger trap, singing “Look ma! I’m a sausage!” and wondering if I was going to have to call for backup before I finally Hulked and ripped the zipper clean off. Fuck, that was my leather Gamora / BDSM corset too.

Meanwhile, M looks the same. And I’m obsessing “Maybe he wont come. Maybe he wont want me anymore. Maybe I wont want him. Maybe he will want me but still won’t make a move. Maybe his dick doesn’t work either, I mean, he is ten years older than me…maybe I should just stick to hiking alone. And don’t nap in the afternoon. And for g-d’s sake, don’t wear that tunic with those pants anymore…”

Another blogger I follow just posted this:

“Until the new moon in Virgo on Friday, we stand in the liminal darkness of the waning Moon, the dark of the Moon. Slowdown your pace, reflect, contemplate, clean, cleanse, purge, stretch, create space for the wisdom to enter, collect the strength from the Earth, lay low.”

But I’ve been “laying low” for 7 weeks while my foot healed. But if this weekend proves anything, it’s that Something or Someone is still holding my arms and trying to tell me “pace, reflect, cleanse”. Heal. Create space for wisdom to enter. These thoughts racing through my head this weekend do not come from a place of wisdom. Okay, okay…I’ll try to do better.

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“In the Summertime, when it’s hot outside, and the streets are bare, there’s no one there” ~Black Keys

 I skipped sitting on the sidelines of Cabaret rehearsal to follow the
excited advice of a nurse: Go to the ER now! I napped on a hospital bed
while a retired Colonel ran tests on my heart. My ticker is great to my
relief. It’s something else. What that is, no one knows yet but it’s not my
heart so that’s all I needed to hear. 
. How many times did they ask me “Do you have anyone here with you? Do you want us to call someone?” Nope. And Nope. I know in a worst case scenario, CK would come swiflty. But I don’t want him. I note the absence of a ring on my doctor’s hand as we trade a couple of war stories. He’s too old for me, complete with wooden cane, but he’s funny and his cane adds to his austere image the way a pair of glasses makes people look “smart”. HOw did you break your foot, he asked? Living like I’m still 23 instead of 43. He laughed and said “right on”.
Cabaret presses on like I’m not there and not coming back. New choreography without me. New dancers. Even a new singer to create competition in the one market I had cornered. 
Three weeks until my podiatrist follow up and I still feel the break in my
foot. But three weeks more is all you get, I silently tell No One. Then I
need to dance. I need to train. I logged back into Crackbook briefly to view
dance events coming up at the end of the month, when I hopefully get the
green light from the doctor. Nothing looks particularly inspiring. Or maybe
that’s my state of mind grumbling. 
I’ve gone from panicked “WTF do I DO with myself?!?!?!” to “I don’t want to
do anything”. 

Feverish planets, climate crisis, and the now-public sweeping under the rug
of military sex-crimes have fired up the nightmare machine again. Plus I
still think of “C” unbidden. His name popped up in a spam email this week
and I wondered if he was reaching out to me from the grave or if it was
something more malevolent and real. Times like this, I do wish I wasn’t so
isolated. 

My breath catches and chest tightens but not like “false alarm” heart attack
of yesterday. No, this is just despair. My headphones are on at work but I’m
not listening to anything. I don’t know what is more distracting: the
converastions around me or the music that I’m not feeling.

“If you can’t hold on, hold on” ~The Killers

I told my family I loved and appreciated them. I don’t say it enough even
though they occupy the first row of my mind. I’m nearly 43 and my mother
still covers me with a blanket. I fear the day she’s no longer here. I’ll be
alone and that’s a fact.
Last night, I was dry-eyed as I moved a few pictures of “C” to a folder
where they would be out of sight but not deleted. Even the picture of the
apple and honey as he observed Yom Kippur with me long distance.
I’m compartmentalizing, I think.
Although as I nurse my forsaken body from a the most punishing training in
years, the grief creeps into the stillness. Of all feelings, there is an
intense loneliness that I havent felt in years. Back when I used to think I
would die alone and cry myself to sleep barricaded by pillows at night.
Well, I still believe I will die alone but I had reached a space where I was
okay with that. Now, I’m back to wishing I had someone that I could call
just to come over and “distract” me for an hour or two. Take the edge off.
Touch me. But it can’t be just anyone. Who do I even want? Who even wants
me? Both faces are necessary to make a coin so I’m flat broke as ever.
Thirteen days, I’ll be another year older and had plans to again, again, to summit
mountains. One of my few friends will be with me this time and as honest as
we have always been with each other, I’m afraid he will mistake my
loneliness as an invitation. I don’t know if I’m physically capable of doing
10+ miles a day on a mountain right now with my knees and feet swollen and
taped. I don’t know if I’m up for conversation either.
During a round of acupuncture at a community clinic, I watched him through
my eyelashes: former Cavalry, Afghanistan vet, a humanitarian, a healer,
married with two kids. Two fat tears leaked out and I was grateful for the
darkness. All the good ones are gone. Or their dick doesn’t work.
Or they didn’t pick me.
That’s something my mother gently reminded me of. Maybe that’s not THE point
she was trying to make as the only person I’ve discussed the death of “C”
with. But that was my take-away and maybe what helps me cope when the image
of him unstaring, with a bullet hole in his head comes unbidden to mind.
“You offered him a better life, and he didn’t take it,” she said. Reminding
me, he didn’t choose me. If I hadnt completely moved on, I must now. That
business will have to remain unfinished. It was finished to him. I thought I
could “save” him but he didn’t want to be saved. How often do we do that to
ourselves? Cling, thinking we will be the unshakeable force of change in
someone’s life?
And I’m back to wondering if G-d exists, if there is a “plan”, if I have a
“purpose”, if I will die alone…

Later. X-rays confirm one of my feet is broken. Mountaineering is off. Well, postponed until September. I ate the plane tickets. I’ll be at work on my birthday but the worst part is my coping mechanism, dancing, is off the table for six to eight weeks.

“I’m the bad guy. Duh!” ~ Billie Eilish

Three Thursdays ago would’ve been our month-a-versary. Which I never remembered but he always did. He reached out, in pain, said he won’t pressure me, he respects my decision though he disagrees with it and believes that our story is not finished. I told him that while I am sticking to the decision, I miss him and think of him every day. That was three weeks ago and it wasn’t a lie. Then another week went by and I saw his name pop up on Facebook and suddenly wondered, when was the last time I thought of him? Was it a few days ago? Yes, it had been several days since he crossed my mind. Then another week. And another. And I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t miss him at all.

Why is it that all my unworthy exes who treated me poorly took me so much longer to get over? Even when I was the one who ended it, as I always did, eventually coming to my senses, I thanked G-d as the time between thinking of them gradually stretched out a little further. Still, in every case, it was months and months get to that point. And they were nothing to my heart compared to CK.

Or so I thought. I feel guilty as I wonder again, if I didn’t love him as much as I should have, or as much as I thought I did. He’s suffering and I am not. I am busy as always between a new job (that I DON’T hate), working out new dance routines with my cabaret troupe and reclaiming some sanity with “me time”. If you ask me when the last time I had a climax during penetrative sex was…frankly, it’s been 4 years (since “C”). So as frustrated and rarin’ to go as I am, I’m still not actively seeking to get laid.
The team I work with right now is full of the sort of vibrant, forceful personalities that I would fall in love with (if they weren’t already spoken for). The type of people I’m instinctively attracted to. And as clever as CK can be, he’s not particularly interesting to me. In fact, I used to joke with him he should apply to be a member and the Dull Men’s club. Which is a real, long-standing club by the way. Not everyone has to live an exciting life but by comparison, he and I have little common ground. He sincerely believes his job is interesting and important which always made me want to roll my eyes when he’d tell a work story. Then there’s me, with the job(s) that I couldnt talk about except in the most general terms. Sure, we aligned on the important things like core values but otherwise, we had nothing in common. I don’t believe I respected him enough and I think he kept me on a pedestal, a disastrous combination for the long-term.
Add in bad sex and it becomes the relationship that never should have left the friend zone. My opinion which he doesn’t share.

Or perhpas the nudge to move on came from G-d’s celestial creation as the Vernal Equinox and darkening moon in Aries pulled me away from that which no longer served me. Or so my horoscope said.

And yet CK was always the suffering face of servitude even as I recognized that face of martydom that I wore myself in all my prior relationships…and began to resent him for this unattractive role reversal.

Two months has passed and the only thing I really miss is having someone to talk to everyday. Someone to give a mutual damn about. But I don’t miss the guilt trips, intentional or otherwise. I don’t miss the attempted sex: his timidity in and out of the bedroom, his fumbling and insecurity which had, I came to believe, as much to do with ignorance in the bedroom as his malfunctioning cock. I realize that sounds harsh, even mean, but it was such a turn-off. And I don’t miss the floppy dick.

So yes, I’m alone again after 15 months of sincerely trying to be a good sport but I AM relieved.

“Look kids! It’s a rocket!”

“It’s a cock!” Robin Williams aka “Rainbow Randolph” screams.

What took me so long to watch this movie? Maybe our tongues are not the only  “tastebuds” that change over the years. In 2002, it didn’t look like something I would enjoy but here I was alone on Thanksgiving night, cackling at the slapstick. At the end, I studied Ed Norton as he kissed his character’s girlfriend and thought, “Ed looks like a good kisser” so later, I found myself fantasizing and…you guessed it! Started bawling. Sobbing over how pathetic it is to be masterbating to something so ridiculous as Ed Norton in a rhino costume.

The next morning was no better as I opened my eyes to a message from an acquaintance lambasting me for my failure at friendship. It started the day before when she coldly turned down my offer to bring her a plate of thanksgiving food from my family’s house and ended with her telling me how I let her down LAST YEAR by offering to bring her food but showing up with it “too late”. I felt so shitty! I apologized profusely, asked how could I make it up to her, asked why she didn’t call or text to ask me to speed things up or even give me a specific time that she wanted to eat by… but she continued to attack and guilt me until I was in tears again. She is a widower with PTSD and I worry about her. I keep her name in a prayer box on my altar. But my emotional bandwidth was maxed and by days end, I posted “I am a failure at love. A failure professionally. And come to learn, a failure at humanity. To everyone I’ve failed, trust me when I say I’d lay down my life if it would improve yours. But why would you trust someone who failed you…?”

A friend tried to put it in perspective and said “It’s never okay for someone to deliberately make you feel bad for trying to do something good”. He’s right but it doesn’t mean I am blameless in the failure department. Reflecting over a few days, I made a difficult decision to drop her from my contacts. I cannot be a lifeline for any more people than I already am currently and I certainly can’t be one for someone who inspires me to stick a barrel in my mouth. Although I did remember to unblock my Asshole Best friend a month ago so I’m not running from everyone.

“I’m asking you, Mary, please temper my hatred…” Liz Phair

There is something so satisfying about slow roasting a pig, stabbing it with a syringe full of coke (cola) every half hour, then torching it to a crisp. What can I say? My Jew-“ish” family likes swine.

But there is still something unsettling about this time of the year when the sun squats lower in the sky. December in particular is the anniversary for compounded personal horrors, unexpected deaths and the end of every significant romantic relationship I’ve ever known. So I’m wary. When i dare admit out loud that I feel good lately, I glance around nervously waiting to get mugged again by Fate.

Do you ever go back and read horoscopes AFTER the days have passed and think, “Oh, so that’s why I flipped out”. Actually, I usually blame hormones, premature menopause, for everything but the moon may have a hand in it too. I’ve felt liberated since last week’s “The End.” I stepped outside tonight and noticed just a sliver of moon. So it was a new moon when I banished him for good. I didn’t even realize.

I won’t lie, it gets a little maddening to listen my best friend “S” talk about how much he misses his ex. He spent a decade in a loveless, sexless relationship so the first person to throw him a hamburger after he’s been starving is going to look like his savior. But it’s not all about “her” – she was horrid- he just isnt content coming home to nothing but his dog at the end of the day. He dwells, obsesses, about his need for human companionship. I think, “Sure that would be nice but it should not define you”. I’m a broken record reminding him we were born a whole person, we will die a whole person. We do not require two people to make us = one. Tying our self-worth to another person is about as healthy and sane as tying our worth to how much money we make. Forget the Disney programming! It’s the idea in his own head that if he is single, he’s worthless. I agree with him that so called “family days” at work suck. A professional environment perpetrating what our personal lives “should” look alike. If you wanna shove your kids and spouse down my throat when I’m at work then I should be allowed to bring my dog. But my friend cries because he’s truly depressed at work on family days. So I asked him if he is the only person there who doesn’t show up with a spouse in tow and he admits “no”, he’s not the lone pariah. I told him then make it ridiculous! Designate a table, a whole section for everyone who do not have family on family day. Cuss and drink beer! Talk about getting matching “Enough” tattoos. Make it a sort of silly protest to draw attention to the fact that family days at work alienate solo employees.

The truth, is having hit this wall again, being truly done with a relationship, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. And now that I no longer contribute to the pity party, I find my patience wearing thin with my dearest friend who refuses to move on. Some nights, I serve tough love for dinner. It’s cold and doesn’t taste half as good as Revenge. But if he insists on rehashing the same stories and woes over and over again, then I insist on dishing up the same response: Get over it.  Our ex’s have.

“I hope you choke in your sleep while you’re dreaming of me” ~ nothing, nowhere

bitch

I’ve read somewhere that relationships can recover from anything but disgust. Hurt, anger, betrayal, even disinterest are not nails in the coffin but once you have lost respect for your partner, it’s dead. So this wasnt a “real” relationship, according to the Flake. Sex, love, friendship, manipulation…walks like a duck talks like a duck but it still wasnt a duck if you ask him.
I trembled as I typed. I always spared his feelings before but now I told him the dark side of my opinion of him: that he is a narcissist. Also frivolous, unreliable, spiteful, mean-spirited and as manipulative as any bitch I’ve ever encountered. “Now I am really done with you.”
I blocked and deleted his phone number. Blocked his profile and ability to message me on social media. I also did something I hadnt done yet:  blocked his email.Closing not only all the doors but all the windows as well.

But damn if he didnt find a manhole and come at me through the sewer: As I tried to steady my pulse and stomach, I got a hateful response  “I’m done with you too…” I didnt read the rest. I immediately blocked that number and deleted the message. Guessing it was from his google voice number that he uses for work but I didnt know that one so I couldnt preemptively block it. Maybe I should have never attacked, just blocked the doors and windows without a word.  Maybe I shouldnt have hit below the belt, calling him a manipulative bitch. Being deliberately hurtful does not come naturally to me and I don’t feel good about it; Even if there is truth in the things I said about him. Even though he’s been deliberately hurtful to me over the years. I could have cut him off without calling him out. I could have taken the high road.
But it’s done.
And we never had “that kind” of relationship he said, I don’t need to be nice.
Now I can move on.

I consider those nights over the past few years, crying myself to sleep because I was ill and lonely. Because who doesnt feel pathetic and want to be cared for when they are sick? Suffering is easier when you have someone to lean on. Or crying at the knowledge that I’d never bear children. That is a reality I still struggle with. But of all the times I’ve been the most depressed, it was usually over a relationship (well, once I was suicidal thanks to too high a dose of Wellbutrin).  Which makes me think maybe romantic relationships are detrimental to my health. I already suspect that I’ve been chronically single (no serious relationship lasting more than 6-8 months) over the last 13 years means that I am less tolerant of others. Hey you damned men, get off my lawn! Maybe it’s better to share a bed with only dogs and cats. I can’t say there aren’t days that I don’t wake up, stretching and rolling in the sheets (as much as I can. The Zoo are bed hogs), thankful that I don’t have to answer to anyone but G-d…

“It’s the beast. It’s my heart. It’s open…” Brand New

You Call Me Darlin.

Though it means nothing to you
And everything to me
You are a computer that learns
You outmaneuver me
Even though I realize
I’m the one that taught you those moves
You asked about my health, my mother
Not because you care about either
Its just the conversation starter
The lead into what you really want to talk about:
You.

And I remind you frankly
That nothing has changed
I still love you
You pretend you didnt hear me.
Reminding me
Rewarding me
With silence on the matter
That nothing has changed for you either.

” I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man” Little Big Town

I’m so lonely, I’m combustible. My emotions aren’t raw, I am a live wire. Always have been. Passionate, honest. Eight days flew by.

Miles of abandoned beach means “clothing optional”. Tons of sand dollars and washed up jellyfish that look like breast implants but still no sea glass. Pushed myself pretty hard the first few days in Yosemite. Climbed a no-shit mountain and developed a stress fracture in my foot. Followed by a sinus infection because It snowed the 3rd day and all I had was open toed Tevas and a light windbreaker. When I was packing, the forecast called for 85 degrees in the day, not 34.
Sadly, there is no way to escape the crowds in Yosemite. There is always someone in front of you or riding your ass, chattering away loudly in a foreign language. But it was beautiful and wonderous at moments in a way that the Scottish Highlands were not. Except for the Sequoias. The grove was a graveyard of burned up and dead. The living were centuries away from being awe-inspiring.

Although with every trip off the grid, I think I should have done something else with my life, career-wise. Been a botanist or environmental scientist. I wouldn’t have gotten rich but probably would have had a stable job for the rest of my life that may have been more rewarding than my attempts to save humanity

Napa/Sonoma was a like Disney: overpriced bougie boredom. The Flake’s new home is a paradise. Although I still think SoCal suits me better, being part lizard n’ all.

After Yosemite, I decided to “take it easy” hiking around Point Reyes National Seashore. The oasis amidst soul-sucking San Francisco, one trVwler called it. Limping along mile after mile of California coastline, leaning heavily on a piece of sequoia from Yosemite. The foot slows me down but doesnt stop me. What stopped me was a herd of Tule elk in the path, less than a mile away from the tip of Tomales Point. I considered walking around them but the stags began yelling at me “Dont even think about it, lady”.

Im a big fan of the hostel though and their slogans “for travelers, not tourists”. I met a dutch woman who confided that she worked the same job for 17 years, then after a misssion to South Africa, decided “I cant do this anymore”, put everything she didn’t want to part with in storage and began traveling the world. But

But i still didnt engage with anyone, not for long. The only romantic encounter i had was with myself, nude on a deserted beach, fantasizing about an attractive single man coming along and asking if he could help.

I walked for miles on a deserted beach until after dark and didnt bother to mark the narrow entrance to the foot path. I know better! Mild panic set in when after a few false starts, i realized i couldn’t simply plow my way through the growing wall of seagrass and 9 foot high brush. Iraise my eyes to the mountains shuffled my feet and sang to warn off the nightlife that chittered and howled around me. Then turning back toward twin lights on the beach, it was a couple of Japanese guys night fishing, wearing headlamps. Thank g-d, they led me back to the path.

I sent him a picture on a nude beach. Tit for his repeated tat. He said it was sexy and turned him on. He asked where i was. He knew exactly how close i was and for how long but never said “I want to see you”. I admitted to him that i teared up driving past his house on the way to the airport. He said “That makes me sad too”. I doubt that. After all, he could have had me with a word.

I feel like a raindrop over a waterfall – Kenny Chesney

Sorry Mr. Chesney but that lyric is lame. The Flake quoted it to me, not because he was feeling introspective but because that’s the song playing through his speaker at the moment. I can relate to that feeling of insignificance but a raindrop over a waterfall becomes part of the waterfall, something bigger than itself. Offering an alternative perspective to someone who may or may not be listening and may or may not ever suffer from feelings of insignificance.

I told him “goodnight and I miss you. Or maybe I just miss the idea of you” Because how can I miss what I never had?

Is this week of sleepless nights, heightened aches and bouts of hopelessness a result of my body struggling with hormones or a keto diet? Maybe both. My mind feels like a butterknife. My body an uncooperative, aged machine.

Sharing conflicting knowledge and personal experiences with Hashimotos and hypothyroid sufferers in a keto group in social media, I lament, in addition to the challenging dietary restrictions of keto, we must also limit our dairy and cruciferous vegetable intake? My staples are broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, cheese… what CAN we eat? A woman replied “I heard we can have ice cubes”. I laughed heartily at that one. Frustrating but funny!

I also officially took a Hiatus from the samba troupe. They scheduled a publicity photo shoot for the group which I knew was coming. I told them I had hoped to be in better physical shape by the time it came up but that hasn’t happened. I admitted to them that
being excluded because of my size still bothers me and I’ve decided to temporarily pack up my feathers along with the rest of my wardrobe that I haven’t been able to part with since my relapse. I told them thanks for letting me hang but I’m just going to dance with my clothes on in the meantime. What I didn’t admit was that I was not going to subject myself to a photographer who would try to hide the big girl in the back or under a feather fan.