The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


So Fly

I can remember being four, attending dress rehearsal for my first major recital. I was lying on the floor with my chin in my hand, pink tights sagging at the knees, hair in pigtails on top of my head, and dialing a telephone that was a prop in a dance number. I kept looking in the mirror and I loved what I saw, and even more how I felt.

From a young age I loved to dance.

I danced as a teenager with hopes of getting the hell out of the small town that I grew up in just like my dance teacher had. The biggest problem was that I wasn’t good enough.

I got a biology degree instead and continued to dance as a hobby, even “starring” in a ballet recital in college. When I moved to San Francisco, I rode the Hip-Hop dance craze because it didn’t require the same kind of skill or dedication as ballet. I danced on weeknights and weekends when I wasn’t busy being a scientist.

As life progressed and I got married, pregnant and moved to Marin, my Hip-Hop class availability evaporated. Additionally, I wasn’t one of those pregnant ladies who continued to dance with a baby in my belly, flashing a smile and striking a pose.

I was more the exhausted pregnant lady spread out on the couch with a bowl of ice cream. Honestly, I did not enjoy being pregnant because I let it stop me from doing the things that I loved.

In fact, with both pregnancies (one due to high blood pressure, the other to early and constant contractions) it was recommended that I just sit on my ass at some point or other for multiple weeks that I was with child.

After the first baby arrived, I was transformed into a full-on mom and I didn’t have the time, or the energy to keep dancing. In fact, after my little one was six months old, I had just begun to contemplate getting back into dance and, wham -- I was pregnant again. Then, like the movie “Groundhog Day,” I was doing the constant mom thing again, but with an additional toddler in tow.

Another couple of years passed painfully, slowly and I still wasn’t dancing.

I was losing a part of myself that I had loved. The freedom, the movement, the music, the skill, the smile…all missing from my life…all missing from me. I finally realized that it was time to rescue my sanity and I would start with something I loved.

I would return to dance.

But you cannot just be absent from Hip-Hop for five years and expect to look even mildly coordinated when you jump back in.

Trying to dissuade my extreme nervousness, I dug out my old clothes and tried to make my un-hip Marin Mom look a little more “street” and tied a bandanna around my head. I was ready, psyched, looking good, and I trotted out to the living room.

“You look like a pirate.”

My heart sank.

Although this was a great thing to my four-year old, it was not really the kind of feedback involving terms like “fly” or “cool” or “hip” that I sought. I looked in the mirror and saw that my son was right. I could no longer carry this look off and I removed the inappropriate headwear.

Actually, he saved me from mortification. All those teens would have been staring at the old lady wearing the Halloween costume. In fact, what used to be “fly” isn't even called fly anymore.

I'm not giving up. I've decided to incorporate the old and current me. I have my “Gap” girl Hip-Hop look going strong.

When I spontaneously dance now -- I feel free and I feel me.

By Jennifer O’Shaughnessy


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so funny. i laughed out loud at the old lady in the halloween costume. i've been there: flashdance, anyone?
so glad you're back on the dance floor, jennifer!
Loved this!! I remember the "telephone" dance...good times!! So, so glad you've been able to get back to the dance. I used to love watching you and Tash do your thing...I was always so proud.
You are so right about dancing, it makes you feel so free. I was just commenting to John the other day how I miss going out dancing. In your 20's it's like what you're suppose to do, then you hit your 30's and suddenly you aren't dancing so much anymore. I miss the feeling of dancing until you think you'll pass out!

Keep it up're lookin' fly to us!!
LOL GREAT! Any investment made by me financing this dancing adventure has been paid back in spades by just reading this blog.
I am just sad I missed the "pirate" sighting, I probobly would have passed out laughing. Reminds me of when I tried on my old varsity jacket. I looked like a water ballon with a rubber band around the middle.
Jen, thanks for spurring all the great dancing memories we have of you. papananab
I actually snorted when I read your post. "You look like a pirate." I love it. Thanks for sharing. xo, Dana
I actually snorted when I read your post. "You look like a pirate." I love it. Thanks for sharing. xo, Dana
Oh, the humiliation of being called a pirate when you were trying to be cool. I can't remember exactly how, but I FEEL that feeling so I know it's happened to me. I also know that I've been told my stomach reminded my son of Barney. Again, good to him. Not so good for me.
Very humorous and inspiring. I always feel like I wouldn't know hip now if it hit me in the face. Getting back into something that gives you so much good energy is awesome - you go girl.
Hey, I was in that same ballet called the "Telephone" at the same age - we must have been in the same one! Good times!
If I was asked to describe you - dancer definitely comes to my mind right away - well, of course along with kind, funny, and all around great person!!!
You are hilarious!
Keep dancin'
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