Not wanting to go on at great length along the lines of the outline in the brackets below, let me just describe a scene from the past.
Place: Transie House
Time: Day, 15 years ago
Dramatis Personae: Myself, nextdoor neighbor's girl Angela, age 3-6, (outside on adjoining stoops) and additional denizens of transie house (inside in living room).
In some relationship to what I do, there is a fearful discussion of our security in the neighborhood, whether prompted by my actions or prior to them. I jump out on to the landing in my miniskirt (naturally) and brief top and start doing my typical go-go dancing for the benefit of anyone who may be watching. Inside there is shock. Outside the neighbor girl smiles in glee and starts dancing with me.
If going outside social norms, "arrogantly," makes a small girl smile and gives her some idea of a certain kind of femininity she can find in herself if she so wishes, then I am glad I did dance.
15 years later I am still living down feelings not only of arrogance but of its opposite, a hypertrophied, if that would be the word, withdrawal from reality, a fear to engage. Now this was a development long in the making, not beginning with a simple and pleasurable dance near the street, but perhaps if people really were accepting of each other in our community, then there would be no judgment of people who occasionally bring attention to themselves rather than hide away. There can be positive results for everyone involved. (Of course, 15 years later, no one really cares about that or any possible repeat performance -- by someone else)
I only wish that in this society, where the arrogant and the exhibitionist are accused of such by those whose primary motivation is to disguise their own arrogance and power and to reduce the freedoms that have been so hard won, that we could step back a moment and realize that the Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohans of the world have a place in the development of women's power; and that their troubles are those created by an outside world that rejects any kind of commitment to being one's own person.
I also hope that someday that taking risks is not a one way road to endangering oneself and others in the true sense: drug addiction, homelessness, marginalization, hopelessness. Because I recognize that is often the reality. I cannot judge the reaction of others any more than I wish they judge my little hip-swinging mama imitation.
When the time arrives that fear of crime and of each other, via straight people's abuse of our community, subsides, I hope that the parties that used to erupt spontaneously even in Park Slope, New York return, and I hope there's plenty of freedom to DANCE that goes along with them.
Love, Joo Lee A Store Ill
[BIG Conscience? Hamlet soliliquy? Murders' conscience: what is conscience? Arrogance and Dancing in the Street: Making Angela smile]