Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The Things I Could Do
The first Valentine's present I ever received was a homemade balance beam. This practice beam sat low to the ground, its padding secured by duct tape, the same kind that the various Miss Texas contestants used to secure their breasts during the evening gown competition, an early form of the miracle bra and cheaper. My boyfriend at the time, another gymnast, gave it to me after Valentine's day weekend as I had to attend an unspeakably awful drill team competition called a dance-off. To add to the misery, I had the flu and my fever spiked into the 100s while I vomited every few hours. My then-boyfriend carried me to the school bus where I would sleep on a seat (vomiting gets you a seat of your own!) and beg God to let me die. Madonna's "Holiday" played over and over on the stereo. My drill team instructor said I had to go even if I was dying because it would ruin the group routine if I wasn't there, and I wanted to because we were going to Ft. Worth where we were going to get to eat at a Bennigan's, which was a huge deal in those days. The irony, of course, is that I was too sick to go out to eat and had to stay in the hotel room with another Michelle who was also vomiting -- she was about two months pregnant at the time, although no one knew it. My friends bought me the poster from Fame, the one with the mangled ballet shoes, leaping into a cityscape.
I practiced a lot on the Valentine's balance beam, as it was my worst event. I'd taken some bad falls already and felt a lot of fear about performing such difficult tricks on such a small space. And the judging was changing -- the things I could do didn't count for as much in the new system, and I had to add more difficulty if I was ever going to win anything. Had tremendous difficulty going forward -- you can't spot the place where you'll end up like you can when you're moving backwards. It requires a lot of faith as well as strength. I ended up quitting both dance team and gymnastics, put my faith in other shakier enterprises. My boyfriend started dating older men and so did I. As for our Fame-like dreams -- I suppose we both realized we weren't going to live forever, but to live at all, well, that's a start.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"To a surrounded enemy, you must leave a way of escape." Sun Tzu
Drinking music suggestion: This Time Dwight Yoakum
Benedictions and Maledictions
Thanks for all who are concerned about Baby Grouchie's fate. He's alive and well as you can see in the above photo. In the last picture, he suggested we do something edgy and exciting, like a Nan Goldin photograph. He felt he wasn't getting enough artistic say so the gun/Sopranos/Baby Grouchie image was born.