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Dancing- with a Limp

Dancing- with a Limp



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We had attended our Step Grand Mother’s funeral and afterward, my Brother Troy, took exception to my expression of irreverence for the funeral process. 

I find it morose that the ministers often take full advantage of people who are grieving by preaching on the required salvation of our souls and the punishment we’re bound for if we don’t head their warning.  Their words seem to me to be calculated to make the crowd as miserable as possible. Troy felt I had no right to express out loud the disgust I felt and took it upon himself to chastise me vehemently. 

It’s just the way things are done! You can’t change it. You are obliged to respect it and keep your mouth shut about it.

Have I mentioned that I didn’t come here to shut up?

The whole affair did not settle well with me so I decided to write him a letter. It was not the first letter I had written to my family, trying to help them understand why I consider things so differently and asking them to try to not hold it against me too much. Fortunately, I have always been well loved and mostly forgiven.

March 29, 1990

This statement of my case is dedicated to my brother Troy, who because of his love for me sees fit to try to set me straight. I love you, Troy!

We must work within the confines of tried and true tradition.
To step beyond these areas is to walk unsteady grounds.

Myself, I find many traditions too confining. Please excuse me as I flounder and stumble on these unsteady grounds in the attempt to establish more graceful, fluid movements of my own. Those who choose to stay within tradition because it’s acceptable and comfortable may have no need nor desire for change.

Kindly stand back a bit or get completely out of my way, lest I bounce off of you in the act of perfecting my step.  I don’t care to be confronted with your accusations of how careless and thoughtless I am.  Just as you have the right to choose the maintenance of tradition, so have I the right to set my own.

As I’ve stated before, I am not doing this to hurt or offend others. I am doing this for myself. If a body takes offense, then perhaps they need to check their own values.  Occasionally I do need to say - Excuse me! Pardon me! or Get the hell out of the way! but I never mean to offend.

Once again, please watch your toes. I’m coming through. The steps become more graceful each day, but never be misled into believing this is easy.  Not only must I contend with those who stick their toes in my path, but my own toes are forever trying to trip me.

I seek to enhance the beauty of our lives and to walk in the light. Please show tolerance and love, if you can, as I perfect my dance. Or better yet, join in and add the beauty of your own steps.

I shared a copy of this letter to Troy with my Mother. She was also a word and concept designer and enjoyed my foibles quite a lot, so long as they weren’t pointed at her. She designed my words into a poem and entitled it...

Dancing with a Limp

The following thoughts I give not lightly,
though they may say I’m sometimes slightly
off the mark tradition wise.
Makes some folks heave heartfelt sighs.

When I was a child just learning to walk,
it was so much harder than learning to talk.
I’ve never meant to hurt or distress.
My thoughts just pour out as I express
the way I feel and the way I see
the world I live in and what it means to me.

Although I’ve learned to walk with style,
I’ve secretly hoped all the while
that I could continue to mince with grace
and not fall flatly upon my face.

In learning to walk, I learned to dance.
Each new step; each swinging prance,
with nimble feet, I swung and swayed;
my expertise so proudly displayed.
The frantic twists and swift gyrations
I practiced and perfected with elation.

Now here I am - learning again.
Trying to dance to a new refrain.
In my heart I hear the beat
of a brand new dance made for my  feet.

I have no defense for stumbling along.
It’s only because I don’t know the song.
Each time I think I have it down,
I stumble and trip and flounder around.
I hear the music. I remember the song.
I know I’ll manage to follow along.
It’s just that in making the change,
I stretch and reach, far out of the range
where we all once danced together at ease;
where those around us smiled - we’re pleased.

For all the songs and dances we do,
the melodies heard, all tried and true
or danced before and understood,
which made them right and made them good.

Now here I am, my arms akimbo,
balancing to learn a brand new limbo.
With arms a-flap and feet entangled,
my heart a flutter and nerves all jangled,
taking up at least my share of the floor,
all that is mine and then some more,
others’ toes just seem to stray
under my feet and in my way.

I really can’t help it. I truly try
to stay away as I dance by.
So please my darlings, either join in
or let me dance by and someday when
I have learned the dance as it should be done.
we will remember all the fun
we had as I soared, gravity defied
and you heard me yell -



"Hey Family!

I Flied ! "



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