Leaps and Bounds

I remember a young woman who had competed in figure skating all of her girlhood telling me why she had suddenly quit skating. She grew boobs.

She had experienced a dramatic puberty, with her chest ballooning out into double DDs before she could say Otto Titsling. She explained how this major development affected her skating.

Imagine, she said, running up the same set of stairs every day of your life. Imagine moving each of those stairs up just an inch. You'd fall, right? Because your body had figured out how to take those stairs -- it had memorized them. And now it had to modify its run.

She said it was the same thing with skating. She knew how to do all of her jumps, lands with her girl body. Suddenly, she had to do the same routine with a different body, the body of a woman. And she couldn't do it. She had breast reduction surgery. Then she gained weight. So did her boobs. She couldn't do it anymore. Her body was telling her that it could not skate as a girl, now that it was a woman.

Yesterday, while I was idling around and waiting for a copy job, I broke into a little Irish step dance that my sister and I used to do around the kitchen table when we were bored, or compelled to give our mother a migraine, because girls just want to fu-hun.

Irish step dance was a part of my girlhood for 10 years. At one point, I was quite good and mildly competitive. I was very petite and could get good airtime on my jumps. Then, I got hips. Then, I broke my leg. My left leg was not as strong after I got my cast off and I was very depressed. My parents said it was time to hang up my shoes and try something new. I was resentful towards them, but I never practiced very hard anyway, so I conceded. After I quite competing in dance, I would still break out my jigs in talent contests, or just mess around and see what kind of steps I could remember. There are two dances that I can run through in my head whenever I hear the music, and occasionally I will clog around the kitchen and bring a bit of Riverdance to the ghetto.

Yesterday, I tried to kick up my heels, and I suddenly was precariously balancing on one foot, about to take a digger. I caught my balance and tried to do a front kick. I have had straighter posture when I was drunk on Tequila after 3 hours of sleep. Since becoming pregnant, I have gained 6 lbs. which has oddly distributed itself. The fact that I have to intuit how to walk without waddling should signal --what? Like, dancing is going to be a cakewa---um. I should probably enter a cakewalk with caution, as well, shouldn't I.