April 18, 2007

Healing

It's really impossible to belly dance with an injured knee.

I wear pantaloons when I dance, black pantaloons made from yards and yards of billowing fabric, and no one can see my knees. But when my hips shake in a shimmy, the movement comes from scissoring my knees. When I change levels, my body sinking low and then even lower, the movement comes from bending my knees. Even when I keep my lower body still and do chest circles or snake arms, moving my upper body to the drum beat, my knees are bent to protect my lower back and keep myself in good dance posture.

When I hurt my knee at the end of January, stretching the medial collateral ligament and pinching the cartilage, I had to give up belly dancing for a couple of months, along with snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and pretty much any activity that involved the use of my legs. I spent the month of February sitting in by the fire. Even walks on level ground would make the knee ache at night. Inactivity makes me introspective and melancholy; it was a difficult month.

During March, the pain had lessened enough for me to use my knee. The injury didn't stop me in early March from walking all over the City Where the Phoenix has Become a Cliche. The injury didn't stop me from walking up maybe a million spiral stone staircases in churches and other old buildings during my trip to the Country Where People Drink Lager in Pubs. And it didn't certainly didn't stop me from walking all through the hilliest part of the City Where Artist Friend Once Spent Lazy Afternoons in a Cafe Watching Women Saunter by Wearing Black Fishnet Stockings. In fact, I stopped with my daughter at a store in that Hilly Section Near the Famous Basilica to buy a red hip scarf and top, both covered with dangling coins, to wear as part of a belly dancing costume once my knee got better.

And finally, spring is here. Well, almost here. I've still got snow in my yard. But gradually, the knee has gotten better. It doesn't wake me up at night any more, it doesn't hurt when I bend it, and mostly, I no longer even think about it. I can run up and down the stairs without pain. Finally, it's healed. I get a twinge once and a while, but at last my body is beginning to feel whole again.

I can hike again. I can climb hills and jump over puddles without pain. I can run. I can climb the spider web at the playground and slide down the green slide. I can knee down on the floor without screaming in pain. I can put my pantaloons on, crank up the Middle Eastern music, let the drum beat throb through me, and dance.

Belly dancing

20 comments:

Pirate said...

I was passing through the neighborhood and found your blog.

I like your style.

I went down this weekend and hurt both knees so now I have a limp to go with the rest of my pirate persona.

Lorianne said...

I love your belly-dancing outfit. You're much braver than I am: I don't think I could blog myself in belly-wear, even with my head turned.

merseydotes said...

The top and hip scarf are beautiful. And good souvenirs. So much better than a refrigerator magnet!

Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful self-portrait.

Ampersand said...

Yes...here's to healing...and to life!

Busymomma66 said...

jo(e),
I am so glad your knee is better. Love the outfit & the self portrait (and if I had a body like yours--I'd show it off as well--maybe someday).

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Oh, I'm so glad that your knee is better and you can dance again. Such an encouraging post. And a fabulous picture!

Mona Buonanotte said...

Beautiful outfit! You should shoot some video of you dancing, maybe with a scarf over your lovely face for anonymity's sake.

kathy said...

Great photo.

BeachMama said...

I was wondering how your knee was doing. And I am glad to hear you are back to belly dancing. And considering your gorgeous photo, I may take it up after baby #2 arrives :).

niobe said...

Knee injuries are almost invariably painful and slow to heal. I think that we're not designed to be walking upright.

Glad you're feeling better.

dr. zombieswan said...

jo(e), not that you know, but why the hell haven't I put a link to you on my blog before? What was I thinking! We're like, twins, separated at birth or something. I have a very similar belly dancing outfit. And I used to post pictures of myself, back before I went all nom-de-zomb. Anyway. You're blogrolled, and I need to read more of your work. I need to do more like it. :)

I love the circular classroom thing. I try, but my students always bitch so much about the circles. But I have yet to get to teach a "REAL LITERATURE" class. I still do comp, so they are a little less enthusiastic.

While at the Engineering & Ag school I got my PhD and taught, I taught in an Engineering classroom. The seats were literally BOLTED TO THE FLOOR. And there was this podium I was supposed to stand on. And I guess lecture. I used to have problems, because I would perch on the desk, high above them, and some students would warn me to be careful when I wore a dress. Engineers. Pffht.

jo(e) said...

Mona: I don't have a camcorder so I can't make a video. Of course, the bigger issue is that I belly dance in my kitchen and the backdrop would be a counter full of dirty dishes, which would ruin the whole effect. (Readers would be saying, "Why is that woman dancing when her kitchen is such a mess?)

Zombieswan: That's cool that we have the same outfit. I have this idea that I am still anonymous so long as I don't show my face on the blog -- that is why I put up this kind of strange pose in which I am turned away from the camera.

I've been stuck in those odd classrooms with desks bolted to the floor. It's such a pain. I end up saying to my students, "Okay, how can we create the illusion of a circle?"

dr. zombieswan said...

Thinking blogger award meme tag. Check out my latest blog (not just an attempt to get you over there). :)

Kyla said...

I'm definitely showing my age here, but I thought "Wow! jo(e) is hot!" *lol* And by that I mean, you are in excellent shape and I wish MY body resembled that. :)

jo(e) said...

Thanks, Kyla. It's nice to have some younger readers. When women my age use the word "hot," they are often talking about hot flashes ....

Aliki2006 said...

I'm glad you're able to get back to doing what you enjoy so much! beautiful outfit!

Sue said...

I'm so glad that your knee is healing.

Great picture!!

liz said...

That is a fabulous picture. And I ditto BeachMama, 'cause DAMN, Jo(e), no one would EVER believe you are the mother of 4, with 2 in college.

BrightStar said...

I know I am late on this... but I want to say that I am so glad to read that your knee is healing.