The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Feeling a little bit risqué

I straighten my legs slowly, counting in my head a full eight, my nose ending an inch from my knee. My heels are raised, the pointy ends hovering in the air as the slippery thin soul grips the edge of the plastic chair. I’m going to fall and break my face. I am white-knuckling the back of the chair. Keep your arms calm. I swear that half my effort goes towards looking effortless. During the period of maybe two minutes a million thoughts run through my mind as I execute each step. Only after the fact do I take a moment and reflect on what would my mother think?

This nagging feeling taps me on the shoulder and gives me a proverbial scolding of “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Which makes me think what am I doing and why do I care? I break it down logically: Am I embarrassed that I’m taking a burlesque class? No. Am I embarrassed because of residual guilt I have from my mother’s judgment? Of Course! My parent’s judgment, despite her being in the dark, still sneaks into the small places I don’t think exist in my mind. Those spaces that cause uncontrollable reactions like my cheeks getting a little flushed when she talks about how a Laker Girl would not be a suitable job, or when my head begins pounding because she voices her opinion on how the backup dancers are looking more and more like strippers. No matter how much I try, these comments she makes stay with me whether or not she’s even around me.

As I start thinking about why her opinion affects me so much, my mind wanders back to when I turned eight and my jazz class did a dance to the Bee gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” The dance echoed the style of disco and so did the costume, which caused a huge uproar from the parents. We glittered like little disco balls in our black and white halter-jump suits. I thought we looked fab. All the mothers saw the neckline as a travesty. Questions arose, raised voices ensued, strap adjustments were made, and the costume passed inspection. From that year on little battles were won and lost on the parts of the parents, teachers, and me. By high school I finally got my mom to realize booty shorts were the norm so at least I won that one.

Maybe there’s still a part of her that sees me as that little girl in costume cut too low. Maybe there’s a part of me that sees her side of some of the arguments we have over taste. But, for now, as I slink around the plastic chairs in the studio, I’d rather let my mind focus on the fun I’m having versus the guilt I may incur later.


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