The Gilded Serpent presents...
A Search for the Soul in All Things.
Or On Turning 61 and ¼
by Rhea

This essay came to me on the March day I turned 61 ¼. I was sitting at an outdoor taverna near my house soaking up what sun there was. Suddenly it came to me, and so I wrote it down. I probably wrote it in latent reaction to people’s questioning whether an older belly dancer can still dance and be great. The answer is YES.

Tina Turner, Cher and Joan Collins are timeless women, always admired. Admired both by men and women, who, by constantly reinventing themselves & changing with the times, remain in the forefront of their profession.

These women are owned by no men, but have certainly loved enough in their lives. They are
self-determiners, which does not preclude partnership with men.

By continuing to dynamically entertain and stay ahead of the pack, they embolden all women, even of a lesser dynamism, to remain in the fray as long as they desire, instead of being cast to the sidelines as the official baby sitter for grandchildren (although they can also do that and grandchildren like peppy grandmas).

There is nothing wrong or paranoid or pathological in trying to remain youthful and attractive for as long as we can. Why shall we "act our age?" For whom? Society? I think society can stand the strains of the results of wanton individual self-expression. "Do no harm," but be yourself as much as you can understand what that is. Death comes all too soon. What balm is acquiescing logic? "Oh well, we all get old and die. Might as well start now." Indeed, logic can serve us only so far, although of course it should not be abandoned altogether.

Rather, a search for the soul in all things, yearning to be free, will result, I believe, in a more sane society that is dying to be rescued from ideas and mores anchored in the past century.

Because, in addition to the joy of expressing the soul, and maybe more important, in a Kazantzaki-ish way (Zorba, Report to Greco), is the search for that expression. The joy is in the ascent, not necessarily in the end result.

My father once told me "the times allow of different expression." To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes).

So let it be with us. We are the result of a long line of women, not who suffered, but who responded to the times.

Don't give up the ship. Do not go gently into that good night. Neither a living example nor a martyr be. "Just do it!" CARPE BELLY-UM.

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Ready for More?
more by Rhea
11-12-02 Flying Saucers
They tended to talk more than to act and, by this time, I was hooked on the street theater of it all.
9-18-02 My Belly Dance Baptism, or A Tale of Armpit Hairs
There was a rumor (that was the truth) that I didn’t shave under my arms.

5-15-03 Professional vs. Amateur: What is the Difference? by Nisima
There are dancers of every gradation in between the two labels of “professional” and “amateur”: dancers who work at dance jobs intermittently, or have part time jobs in addition to regular performances.

5-13-03 Dancing with Shelties by Justine Merrill
Bashing zills and barking shelties competed.

5-13-03 Fusion Category added to Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition by Luna
"You know, we're really making history here..."

5-9-03 Kayla's Travel Journal Continues--Hamam III by Kayla Summers
At that point the steward says "now" and you jump off.


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