The Beautiful Hike

Again, I am compelled to write. I am so moved and so very grateful for this time in my life, especially the last few days. I can feel my place on earth shifting. I’m not sure how to put this into words, exactly. It just feels like I am moving into the place I am supposed to be at this time in my life, surrounded by the people who are supposed to be in it. It is a good and strong feeling; it is comfortable.
Yesterday was a typical weekend day for me—hiking with friends. It was also atypical, and magical. There were four of us. In the beginning I expected about eight people, but some people cancelled for various reasons. It is always so. I wasn’t offended, but I was a little sad they would miss out on the experience. As it turned out, it was meant to be.
Coincidentally, none of the people who came to hike with me yesterday knew each other. There was Chris, a guy I met through salsa dancing, but who quickly became a staple hiking buddy. I never actually invited him to go hiking, but he took a chance when he saw my post on Facebook one day and decided spontaneously to ask to join my friends and me. We instantly clicked and we have been hiking together ever since!
I’ve known Chrissy for a long time. In fact, she was one of the first friends I made in Oregon. We worked together for a short time, stayed friends, lived together for three years, and after eight years we know each other through and through. She doesn’t usually hike with me, although she has a strong love for the outdoors. I was so pleased she decided to come because we hadn’t spent much time together since moving out of our apartment a year ago.
I met Kim a few years back when, in a panic about an ill-fitting bellydance costume, my cousin Yemaya came to the rescue and hooked me up with her. Kim is a bellydance designer and seamstress, and she fixed my costume, amazingly, in the 36 hours before I had to leave for the Oregon Country Fair, where I would be performing for the first time ever! (For more on that experience, please read the blog post entitled “The Art of the Dance.” Some years into our business relationship we decided we genuinely liked eachother and decided to hang out outside of bellydance events. It was a successful venture, and we continue to hang out!
Since there were so few of us, we were able to drive down to Silver Falls State Park in one car. The drive was over an hour long and we didn’t stop gabbing once. The conversation flowed easily and it seemed everyone felt completely comfortable with everyone, as if they’d known eachother for a long time. The vibe continued when we got to the falls. The conversations were full of giggles, exclamations, intensity, and were all very interesting.
As it happened it was the day before the anniversary of September 11th, 2001. I am not prone to going on about this event. I will not post about it on Facebook or Twitter. I mostly keep my feelings about it to myself. Interestingly enough, though, all of us shared our “I was at…” experiences about that day ten years ago. It didn’t seem awkward like I expected it to. I felt like it bonded us. We didn’t mull over it, but our sharing created a feeling of love inside me, as did all of our topics of conversation.
At the end of the hike I felt a ball of light rising from my stomach into my heart. I couldn’t hold it in, I had to share it! I knew that this day would have a special place in my heart for a long time. Now I will be able to come back to this post and relive that day whenever I want.

Portland's Next Top Bellydance Fusion Model!

Ok, so I am NOT Portland’s next top bellydance fusion model, but I got a great story out of this crazy experience!
I’m writing today to cover last night’s modeling experience. I just had to share! I was involved in a bellydance clothing fashion show that kicked off the exciting Jamballah NW festival this weekend, a showcase of bellydance fusion by way of vending, shows, and workshops. See the website for more details and how you can experience Jamballah yourself:
Let me set the stage for you: On the main floor was a stage, tables and chairs for the audience, and a bar. Upstairs, a breathtaking array of vendor’s booths filled with the most beautiful things a bellydancer/performance artist has ever seen. Downstairs, a basement hallway filled with clothes, accoutrements and models.  
In short, the night was very very short! My designer’s booth was bustling when I arrived. I was one of the women representing Sakkara Clothing and Costume, and things were selling even before the show started! Kim (Sakkara) showed me the dressing area, an unadorned but well-lit basement where ladies and men were dressing, stretching, putting on makeup (lots of makeup) and gabbing. Since I hadn’t had time to check out the stage, one of my “colleagues” filled me in on the stage conditions: uneven wood with depressions and a few cracks, and a few outlets sticking up from the floor just waiting to stub your toe. Yikes! We all checked eachother out conspicuously; compliments were passed around about the pretty skirt, funky wrist cuff, awesome harem pants, or furry vest someone was wearing. There was an amazing variety in the costumes. Actually, there were no traditional bellydance costumes from what I saw. It was daunting to observe all that fabulousness in one small hallway. I felt a little plain and small compared to the ladies with the giant Edward Scissorhands wigs and ruffled booty skirts, topped off with tons of glittery makeup and a lacey parasol, of course.
Tension rose when the emcee came down the stairs in her giant (and I mean GIANT) red pleather platform knee-high boots and told us it was almost “go time.” If I hadn’t been intimidated before, I was now. Our emcee was an Amazonian woman with a neon dreaded wig, the aforementioned boots, and crazy makeup. She was also very boisterous on stage. When it was our turn to dance, I slithered up the stage steps with my snake arms undulating, excited to show off my moves. Then realized I could barely hear the music. It was a slight muffled thump-thump with an occasional industrial noise. The emcee, though, she was LOUD! I didn’t really know what to do, so I just danced and hoped my moves somehow matched the music. When the other two dancers came on stage I was awed at their ability to ignore the missing music and put on their fake-it-til-you-make-it faces. It seemed that as soon as it started, it was over. After the last dancer, we gracefully (?) pranced off the stage, and it was NEXT DANCER!
The nice thing about a fashion show is that there is constant movement, and though the memory of a costume can linger, the time on the stage is limited, and the next flashy thing will be strutting up the stairs before you know it. And no one can deny it is quite a thrill to wear designer duds on a stage, even if it’s just for a few minutes and you can’t hear the music!
Check out my designer’s great stuff!
And check ME out in my custom top, velvet dance pants, and jellyfish skirt by Sakkara Clothing! This picture was taken in the basement hallway before the show.

Maysam Janan at Jamballah NW