This weekend was not bad. Actually, it was bad -- slow as all hell; I made about half what I would make on a good weekend -- but it wasn't bad. By some quality of mercy in the universe, I stayed out of the dark mental territory that had me fingering the straight razors weekend before last. It wasn't that kind of bad.
The worst it got was dancing for the hefty prominent-citizen type who seemed so humble and boyish until I sold him on a dance. He wanted to dance in a private booth, so I took him back there. The first bad sign was when he disagreed with my choice of booth. I favor the booths where there is a clear view in and out from either the floor or the back bar. So that, you know, if anybody started slitting my throat in there, there's some slim chance someone else might see it and come to my aid. There's one booth squirreled away in the back corner where there is no clear view in or out. Pervs discovered this booth long ago. If a customer insists on going back there, I'll guarant-goddamn-tee you'd better talk fast and dance evasively, or you are going to get a tongue (or worse) in your ear (or worse) faster than you can say "you can't rape a whore."
So this particular gentleman was a kisser. As in grab your jaw and force his tongue down your throat. We did a few dances, me with both hands on his shoulders and my full weight pressing him back against the seat, so he couldn't lunge forward and lay a slimy one on my mouth.
"Careful," I tell him "I bite."
"Come on," he says, "C'mere. It's just a kiss."
But a kiss is not a just. A kiss, when properly done between two consenting adults, is a pinnacle of tenderness and expressivity. You can kiss someone you love and know more about their state of mind than if you talked to them for hours. I can't imagine trying to force someone to kiss me. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of the thing?
Then I hear the DJ calling me to stage. Whoops, gotta go, babe. And by the way, where's my money? He hasn't got it on him, he says. He's got to go the the ATM. The DJ calls me again, not patiently. Center stage is empty. I ask him to bring the money to me on stage. He says he will. If I'll give him a kiss. His mouth looms in the dark like a cave.
I walk away. By the time I get off the three-stage rotation, he is long gone, taking my money with him.
But whatever, you know? All in a day's work. Leave the office at the office, or, in my case, the titty bar at the titty bar.
So then I went to yoga class Sunday morning. The teacher did a set for the heart center, anahata chakra. For those of you who don't know, this involves a lot of stretching in the chest, shoulders, and upper back. Fine. I'm a little stiff up in there, since I've been focussing most of my attention in my own practice on rehabilitating my hip injury. But I'm having a good time, grooving right along like the nerd I am, and then we lie down for Savasana, the final resting pose. And the teacher launches into this meditation for the heart. You might know it; it's a fairly common one.
You think of someone you love, and conjure up the feeling of that love. Then you think of someone you don't know, and try to feel the same love for them. Then you think of someone towards whom you feel resentment, and try to love them as well. Finally, you try loving yourself. The last time I did this meditation, last August, I was just at the end of yoga training. I was working at my beloved studio and daydreaming about the camping trip I was going to take with my boyfriend. I was awash with love. I was love and love was me. When we were asked to think of someone we resented, I was at a loss. Then I went camping, and when I got back the studio fired me ("not a good fit") and I started dancing again. The rest is history.
This time around with the love meditation, I know I am sunk from the very beginning. "Think of someone towards you feel nothing but love," the teacher says. " No resentment. No hurt."
I start to panic right away. My heart's too full of thorns for love like that. Fallen so far in so few months. It's all gone, all of it. That love and light. I'll never feel it again. It tricked me. The world tricked me into thinking it was good. I hate it.
Teacher's voice, still going. Murmur, murmur. She asks us to think of someone we don't knowl -- maybe the person next to us, if they're a stranger. Someone for whom we have no feelings
I got annoyed with the girl on my left at the beginning of class when she asked me if I'd move my mat over to give her space. Something about her tone of voice, something that didn't even make sense. The guy on my right has been irritating me with his breathing for an hour. Come to think of it, not sure I feel neutral towards anyone. Not even that.
"Now someone towards whom you are harboring negative feelings." Oh my god. A flood. Everyone I know. Everyone I love -- that web of expectations, interlocking disappointments. I fail everyone and when I fail they fail me too. Everyone I don't know and don't love. Every customer who refuses to look at me when I say hello or stares at my outstretched hand like hand-shakes are some sort of suspicious foreign ritual, or grabs my breasts after I ask him not to, or just stares at me, bored and contemptuous, with his shallow, porcine little eyes OH FUCK OH FUCK.
By the time the teacher is asking us to love ourselves, I am twisted in a little knot. I can't even stay lying on my back. I have to roll over on my side in a tight fetal position. My chest hurts, and also my throat.
The world hasn't changed since August, so it must be me. I don't hate dancing, or not any more than I hated waiting tables or washing dishes or sorting mail or temping, godforsaken temping, the worst, the most soulless, all day under fluorescent lights in enforced idleness making up jobs for myself to keep from going crazy.
Whisper chorus says my life is in a bad place, what did I go back to college for if I'm just going to be a stupid dancer stupid dancer. Why do I have to want to write, do things that make no money, make no sense. I should have stayed at that receptionist job, toughed it out and maybe someday if I do it all just right (do what? There's nothing to do. I'm paid to sit here.) it would have Led To Something.
I need a plan. A life plan. I need to know what I'm doing next. But the things I could do next look like cheap treats on a tray at a bad party and I don't want anything that I should want and so I get up in the mornings and shave my legs and take the bus across town and cross the parking lot, through the swinging doors (strips clubs always have such impressive-looking doors) and pay the house fees and do this thing I thought I was done with. The last time I made a plan, my plan was never to do this again. So much for plans.