Sunday morning Emma wanted to listen to music and dance. There was nothing extraordinary about this, except that her ipod wasn’t charged and Richard’s iphone was with him in the back where he was still asleep. Both of these devices hold Emma’s favorite songs. However, Emma picked up my iphone, a poor and unfamiliar substitute, but she was in desperate straits and realized this was not the time to be picky. “Mommy? Can I listen to Mommy’s iphone please?” Emma asked.
Fortunately I have a number of Gwen Stefani albums programmed in. It took no time for Emma to find one she liked, which I’d never heard before, Hella Good. “You hold me like I should so I’m going to keep on dancing.” It’s got an electronic sound infused with a great beat, blending rock and funk and makes you want to dance. Which was exactly what Emma proceeded to do. When the song began Emma got an intense look in her eyes, a look of concentration and focus. I knew she knew I was watching because she looked over at me in the middle of a particularly complicated set of twirls with her arms raised high, her new string (I call it her starter string as it has no tape on it at all) she held in her right hand and twirled as the tempo picked up. Emma went from twirling slowly to adding her head to the swirling movement, as her hand twirled the string, her upper body moved from side to side as she spun around. The bass line reverberated and Emma suddenly thrust both arms up toward the sky and threw her head down while she spun.
This is how all of us would dance if we could. Emma’s body, the expression on her face, the way she moves, the string extended out from her hands as though it were part of her. She raised one arm and twirled, faster, her hair fanned out, her nightgown billowed around her ankles. Emma incorporated the music into her being, it was a part of her, it was her language. She had taken it and made it her own.
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*A quick aside about Emma’s “string.” After she covered it in red duct tape, she then covered just one end in purple duct tape and then left it in her brother, Nic’s room. When she reappeared from her own bedroom, she was carrying two pieces of this new string. I asked her what happened to her old string and she said, “No more.”
Incredible! I thought immediately of the Whirling Dervishes who are a Sufi sect of Islam. Recently I spoke to a friend whose mother was Lebanese, and he explained that when the Dervishes whirl they go into a trance-like state, a little bit like shamans or the Hebrew Bible ecstatic prophets, all of whom were much revered for their ability to get in touch with the center of cosmic consciousness, of happiness, truth, love and beauty.
That may be the experience of Emma when she whirls, also entering that hidden realm of happiness, truth, love and beauty.
I would love to be there sometime when she is doing her “whirl”. I’ll bet there is more to it than just a happy little girl dancing. She could be our personal shaman?
Love this! Thanks so much for writing about the whirling Dervishes. I saw them once while in Istanbul. It really was incredible and as you say, they were very focused. I hadn’t thought of them when I was watching and photographing Emma on Sunday. But there really are similarities.
She’s so beautiful!
Aw… Thanks so much Becky!
I wish there was a “like” button on your blog… for when I want to express appreciation but can’t find the words to do so. 🙂 But instead, “like” (no scratch that, “love”) Music is very important to me as well, but in a very different (yet surprisingly similar) way.
Hi E. I will have to figure out how to put a like button on. I use word press so I must be able to, it’s just a matter of figuring out which widget it is! Thank you. It’s always so great to hear from you. Would love to hear more about you and music, except I know how busy you are!!!
Love the photos! My Emma has the same full engrossment in dancing and music, a whole body experience that knows no fear. I cannot dance like this…..or I should say I choose not to, my insecurities get the best of me….but watching my Emma, and your Emma, I feel enlivened and in awe. This is movement, this is expression, this is joy, this is dance, this is love!!!!! Thank you
Kelly! Thanks for your comment. I love dancing too and am trying to take a page from Emma’s book. No inhibitions, let the music move you, kind of thinking! We had a “dance party” last night. Such fun and with the added benefit of being a good work out. I hate the gym!