December 19, 2015

Deaths Fingers



     Death has touched my family with its greedy fingers.  No longer does it claw at my neck, but still it stays near.  It's fingers have effected each in my family in their own way. I will always wish it hadn’t come, or that it could have waited a few years.  That those fingers could have been kept at bay.  However, there is hard truth that will always be reality. Death will claim all of us in the end.  
     January 28th, 2010.  The evening before, we had all sat together joking over dinner; laughing, unaware of what would happen tomorrow.  
     In the midst of laughter, Grandpa spilled his cup of water all over the table while passing food to my brother.  
     With familiar mock anger Grandpa had exclaimed, “Thomas*, how could you spill my water?”
     My brother, understanding Grandpa's humor, laughed along.  Upon questioning Grandpa had jokingly claimed it was all my brother’s fault. Because the food was being passed to him when the glass had been tipped over, Thomas must be blamed.  Laughing along with the general merriment and Grandpa’s kindly sarcastic words, I had gotten a towel, cleaned up the water and righted the glass.
     After dinner we all separated to go to our own beds.  My Nanna and Grandpa retired to my family's rental “cottage” right behind our own house.
***  
     That night, I slept well until the sirens came.  I had awoken to see flashing red and white lights dancing on the walls of my upstairs bedroom as a car turned into our driveway.  The siren stopped just moments after waking me.
     Within those moments of waking, and grogginess I had realized that something was wrong.  I slipped out of bed and then went into my sister’s room.  She lay in her bed, eyes open and frightened.  I had beckoned to her, wanting her to come with me, or at least to me.  She clambered out of bed and came.  I slipped my hand around hers, and together we had went into the hall and down the stairs.  
     We went through the living room, family room, and dining room as we traveled to the back of the house.  We went to the window facing the back property.  The window that locked on our Grandparent's front door. My brother had already stood, watching the car outside.  It was an ambulance.  We watched until a man opened the door to the back rental.  He held the door open as a couple of men, along with my mum, carried our Grandpa out on a stretcher.  
     That morning the ambulance left with my Grandpa.  Our parents came running over barefoot.  They came just long enough to tell us that they were taking Nanna and following the ambulance to the hospital. Before leaving they slipped on shoes, and hugged my siblings and I, and said they would send someone to be with us. We knew that they would most likely be gone until mid-afternoon. 
***
     I was left with my siblings.  We sat ourselves at the table in a sort of daze.  My sister was worried and scared, so I tried my best to comfort her.  I promised her that Grandpa would live.  I promised that everything would be all right. I knew that it was an empty promise, but it made her, and me, feel better. 
     Then we heard a knock on the door.  
     It was an older woman that we knew well from church.  We let her in.  She was the one our parents had called so that we wouldn't be alone.  I was glad and relieved.  Here was an adult.  She could make promises that would be kept; she would help my sister be comforted and calm the fear that was rising in my heart.  She would help.  
     So sure was I that she could help, because she was an adult.  
     Instead, she declared that we needed to do the dishes.  She said that service would help us feel better. She claimed it, so we did it.  As my sister and I unloaded, the dishwasher, I got more and more upset.  I wasn’t feeling better, my heart hurt with fear. I felt my Grandpa missing. So I tried to think of it more as service and not a chore.  I couldn’t force down the fear that was still rising.  Unshed tears stung my eyes and the kitchen shimmered and swam through them.  I told myself that I couldn’t cry.  I couldn't let it happen. This would help me feel better, she had said so.  My sister needed me to be strong.  I couldn’t cry. 
     The women swept and talked at the same time.  I could catch phrases like: “This will help your mom feel better,” “She won’t be as overwhelmed,” “You need to keep out of her way so you don’t annoy her,” and finally, “Your parents should have taught you about death.”  I couldn’t listen anymore.  I was done with listening to this woman’s incessant chatter of how we needed to prepare, how we needed to help our parents, and what our mother should have done.  
     “Our parents don’t hide us from the truth.”  I whispered.
     “Well, yes, but your Grandpa is going to die, and they should have prepared you.”
     I was mad; I was upset; I was scared; and this woman who was supposed to comfort us was telling me that my Grandpa would die.  I couldn’t control my tears anymore.  I let go and ran from the room.  I kept thinking: He won’t die!  He cannot die! But he might have... he might now... 
     I cried into my pillow, torn with a fear I had never known. I stayed in my bedroom until I heard the sound of a car driving up the driveway.  It was too early; it was only ten o’clock.  
     When my parents came in to the house, I was already by their side, having met them in the driveway.  I was comforted by their presence.  I kept saying "But you came home? But you're okay."  For a moment I simply needed to know they were back.  However, after that moment and when we hugged, I saw it in their eyes. I knew he was dead.  I could feel it.  They were home too early, their eyes too dim.
***
     Maybe now is an odd time to share this... Maybe Death isn't something to be mentioned around the Holidays.  But for those of us who have lost, though we may not speak of it, the holiday's bring Death closest to our remembrance.  These are the times we are sharply aware of the missing presence at the table, the missing personality, and the traditions that have changed.
*All names changed for privacy 

November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving Giveaway

     I am very excited to announce that for the next week I will be hosting a Giveaway!!

    Why? Because I want to share some of the things I am thankful for, and express my appreciation for you, my readers!  Having a blog is not that big of a deal.  Anyone and everyone could potentially have one.  However, the global interaction I have had makes it feel like something to me. 

     I am amazed that people I have never met read these words.  Last week I had over 100 views from the Ukraine alone.  I know nobody from the Ukraine.  Thus, that stat alone blows me away.  It amazes me to see that not only have I had views from India, but that India comes second for amount of views.  And not just a handful of views makes it second.  But 100's do.  I am continually amazed that I get views from places like France, Germany, Australia, China, Lebanon, Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland. 

     The fact that I have followers, and that others read what I say... that is something in my mind.  

     I want to thank you for that something!  So, go to my Instagram account @gossamerlens, or my GooglePlus account +TheDamsel to participate.  

     A winner will selected at random. They will be winning a shoutout on Instagram or GooglePlus (depending on which they posted), and a package including fall-ish cards, poem print, hot coco powder, a winter read, and an original piece of art done by a local artist I know!  Unfortunately I cannot ship outside of the U.S. at this stage in life.  However, don't let that deter you my global friends!  You can still win a postcard and shoutout on the social media account of your choice, and then a second U.S. winner will be selected to win the package. 

     The official instructions for entering can be found, on the accounts mentioned, on the post connected to the photo below: 

~The Official Thanksgiving Giveaway Photo~


     P.S.  A winner has been picked, and this giveaway has been wrapped up.  @lovely.noelany.mehndi can be found on Instagram.  She has inspired me with her lovely henna art, and sweet personality.  I am so happy she won!  I hope to further give thanks to other followers in the future.  Thank you to all who participated in the giveaway. Plus a huge thanks to those who participate by reading, commenting, liking, and sharing my work! 

November 14, 2015

Peace Flutters


Peace Flutters
An illusion of obtainability
Just out of reach
Sometimes brushing my finger
But only in that fateful moment
Before something falls
I drown inside of myself 
Tears run
Wishing for something 
For peace
Poem 190 ~ 12/29/2013

     My soul reaches out to those in pain.  Those who have lost family, friends, or acquaintances.  Every turn of the earth clocks pain.  Humans forget to have humanity.   Pleasure is gained from hurt.  Hatred is confused with religious zealousness.  Fear of difference fuels violence. To those in France, I extend my heart to you.  I mourn with you.  To all the world, I cry for peace. 

     People can do such beautiful things.  How strange it sometimes feels to see the other side of the coin. 

     Why can we not have peace? Why can we not learn to respect differences and not hurt others because of them? When will we learn to treat others as ourselves?  How can me learn to all love? 

     No matter how much we wish... peace is an idea.  It is never a true and global reality.  The fact that so many strive for it is folly and beauty in itself.  We reach out hoping fingers to those in pain, to those who hurt others, to those who love, and those who hate.  We hope for the change that cannot be.  Yet, by doing so we make our own reality that much better.  We help those who we can touch.  Peace and love, no matter how delusional it may seem, is something worth reaching for.  For even though it may never rest upon the world all at once, we can create something worthwhile. 

     I drown in myself, for I mourn with those who mourn.  

     Let us mourn, hope and reach for peace... together. 

November 11, 2015

Rain Pummels



I lean into the wind
Soaking in the feeling
I throw back my head
And simply breath

Rain
It pummels

Heart beating in time
Close my eyes
Feel the wind
Supporting me
Keeping me
Wind slanting rain
It goes with me

Mouth open 
Rain falls in
Feeling amazing
So sweet and clear

A smile appears

So I stand
Rain hits my head
Feeling like a hand
Stroking my pace
And I wish
It would never end
Poem 21 ~ 5/3/2011

November 4, 2015

Feeling Neverland



     Colleges have begun to flood my email and snail mail with information about their programs. They send me explanations of why their program is "just right" for me.  Many of my good friends have already moved off to college, or to go on two year missions for our church. And as these two things align, I realize an ever growing fear.  A fear of growing up.




     I don't mean I have a fear of growing old.  Age is superfluous in my mind.  I don't fear my face being lined with wrinkles, nor my hands becoming blemished and shaking. What I fear is having to leave my childhood home, leaving friends for college, and forgetting to enjoy simple things because of responsibility.  To fear. It hurts. 

Anxiety runs like veins 
Like nerves 
Linked to brain 
To heart
Pushing to be known 
Running on it's own

Logic wishing to call
But the feeling coursing 
Love being twisted
To fear and ache
Happiness being turned
To withered leaves
Ready to fall

My heart
Yearns and calls
Into the chasm 
Of faith
And somewhere
The thread is tied

I hold 
Despite 
The pain of fear
The pain of anxious everything
Poem 214 ~ 3/18/2015

     I feel like Wendy Darling.  One foot in the nursery, and one out the door.  Stuck on the stories, playtime, and dreams of childhood.  Yet, working on gaining a career, living on my own, and attempting to become a thoughtful adult.  In some ways I am ready to move into the world. Still in others... I'm trying to find Neverland.


     The draw of stuck time pulls, but the reality of moving through life appeals.  I may feel Neverland wishing to be near.  But to grow up, that shall be my awfully big adventure. 

October 24, 2015

Making a Difference ~ Guest Post

How do you want to make a difference?

Here is what _CarvedWords_ believes you should be working on to make a difference: 

     One way or another, we all wish that we're able to make a difference in this world even by a bit if it is possible to us. There are loads of everyday things I'd like to change if it were possible for me. 

     Education has limited itself to textbooks and syllabus. Students are only taught to solve the equations and write answers as they are expected in the examinations. Students can be seen getting good marks with grades higher then expected. They can answer all the questions which relate to the textbook. But what about what's outside? What's actually going on in the real world? The more they indulge themselves into the textbooks, the more their creativity gets limited. 

     Education is meant to make learners. Not to destroy the artist within them. We can spot students conquering heights of success, but with that seems to come a low creativity. At the end of the day, a person won't be proud of the position he has in a multinational company. All he would need is creativity to fill his life with enthusiasm and joy. Education should bring out an artist in a student, because every student has got one talent or another. Teachers should encourage the talent within them. Students should be taught to be passionate towards their goals. 

     I don't blame the system as a whole, neither do I have any offense with the knowledge and the quality of it the education is providing students. I just wanna say that even after these efforts there still remains a huge gap gap between education and creativity. We as a society have our responsibility towards making the change that is needed. We've got to do something to reduce this gap, we gotta build a strong bridge between both education and creativity. 

     If I could make a difference, I would like people to change their mindset towards education, making it free from all the chains it has been tied to. Creating a strong bond between education and creativity. Giving this world creative minds rather than those with high IQ's. Making this world colorful, making it a better place. 

~~~

This is how Words_In_Air thinks you can make a difference: 

     The language of love. Make wide spaces in your heart. Life gets so chocked up, kindness so lost, love slips by unseen. Smile at a stranger, help an old lady carry her shopping, offer to cook a meal for someone who's sick. Volunteer at your local church, hospice, old age home, or orphanage. Read to someone who's disabled. It's good to donate something to a worthy cause, but what people crave is human interaction. Look into their eyes, listen with attention to their stories. Take an interest in their personal lives. That smelly beggar down the road? He just wants kindness from you. Ask him his name, give him a compliment, bless him with a pair of shoes, or something to eat and drink. You don't have to strike a conversation with everyone you meet, but the next time you are waiting in line, greet someone and smile. Buy a small chocolate for the checkout girl and bless her. 
It's the little things! 

     If you bless others, you yourself will be blessed. 

October 20, 2015

Make A Difference Contest & Giveaway

Let's work together to celebrate National Make a Difference Day this weekend! 


TO ENTER: 
     ~Write up to 150 words that you think can make a difference and are worth sharing. 
     ~Choose if you want to submit via Instagram or GooglePlus. 
          If submitting via Instagram: Screenshot the official contest picture on my Instagram, tag @gossamerlens in the caption, and use the hashtags #NationalMakeADifferenceDay & #GossamerLens
          If submitting by GooglePlus: Screenshot the official contest picture on my GooglePlus, tag +TheDamsel in your post, and use the hashtags mentioned above. 
     ~Submit by: 12 Noon (EST), on October the 23rd

WINNINGS: 
     ~I will be picking my favorite 2 entries (depending on the amount of participation) to share this Saturday on Instagram and GooglePlus. Also, the top entries will be posted here on my blog (link in bio).*
     ~PLUS, every entrant will have their name put into a random drawing. A Happiness Quote Book, 1 Zentangle print, candy peach rings, and an Original Poem will be on the line. 

DEADLINE: 
     ~12 Noon (EST), on October the 23rd

     *If you win publication, all rights will remain yours and you will be acknowledged on Instagram, GooglePlus, and my blog Gossamer Lens

October 8, 2015

Yellowing Pages

Sitting here writing
Wisps of image
Shrouded shadow
Of Imagined future
Passed before me
Danced like film
Across my vision

The cold
It touched my shoulder
The sounds
They faded away
Like yellowing pages
And I saw your face
As it could be

Your arm over
Around my shoulders
The whisper 
Of those words
The ones I love
To hear you say

Then it crumpled 
Like falling dough
The bread collapsed
And I was chewing 
On nothing
Poem 105 ~ 4/10/2013

     Memories, feelings, and thoughts diminish over time.  What once was often changes.  Sometimes, looking over older poems the emotions I wrote feel like a lie.  As the writer, I know what each poem was born through.  However, just because the adoration, pain, or perspective has passed as I've grown... that doesn't negate the validity of writing.  Every poem has helped me realize, handle, and come to grips with what I have felt.  At the moment of creation, each poem has filled it's purpose.  

     I have grown, I have changed.  I continue to feel, and I must accept the moving on that is life.  You cannot cling on to who you have been, or who you were.  Later it may feel like you chewed on nothing.  But at the time, that "nothing" felt like something.  Poetry is a way to express my now, and reflect on the past.  

     "I am a slave to emotion... Pens... Keep working... Until I need you no more... which will be when I stop feeling" 
                    Poem 106 ~ 4/11/13






September 17, 2015

To Feel My Love

You say
My cheeks
Are beautiful
These ones
I contour
And hate

Trace my jawline
With your kisses
Hold my hips
Breathe my air

Hold me
Like poetry
Love me
Like warmth

You are the first
I can see forever
Despite the chasm
Of unknown

I'm afraid of falling
But it almost
Looks appealing
And my heart is breaking
But my breath is leaving

Oh Gosh
These feels


Poem 234

August 27, 2015

Masks

I look in the mirror
What do I see?
Myself as I am?
Me as I appear?
The outer shell, 
That contains nothing?
The inner core, 
Shining out?

I look into your eyes. 
What is there?
Muscle, tissue, 
Chemical reactions?
The soul staring out
Through tinted panes?
Beauty pooling through
Yet, still contained?

Maybe it is but a farce
Faces may be just masks
Hiding our souls, 
From us, 
From them, 
And those we love. 

What would people think 
If our souls lay unmasked
Or perhaps I should ask
What would we be?





Poem 59 ~ 12/14/2012

August 2, 2015

What it is to be...

Sinking in misery
I curl around her
Arm around waist
Holding hands
Feet warming the other's 
We eat the silence
Embracing essence.

Crying in silence
Loving her 
Wishing for better
For less heartbreak
Greater kindness
For her. 

Breathing in hair
The hair
Smelling like mine
Our colors blending
The eyes matching
Noses just alike. 

Hearts different
Yet seeing
Just knowing 
I don't wish 
Her heart
To understand
The pain of mine.

She and I 
Trusting. 
Her so sweet
Already begging 
To understand
Pain.

Pain shouldn't be 
I don't want tears
For they shatter
They speak of things
She is to beautiful 
To see
To feel
To crack from 
To mend up.

Chin on shoulder
Knees tangled
Listening to breath
Feeling her breath
We inhale together
And I know 
What it is 
To be "sister"




Poem 224 ~ 4/5/2015

July 29, 2015

Heart in Hand


Talking with a friend, we found ourselves discussing the state of his relationship with his girlfriend.  As we spoke he stated, "I just feel like I just keep giving my heart, but it isn't being accepted. Obviously it is, since she and I are dating... But it's like I am giving my everything, and they aren't appreciating it."  The response I gave him was one that I have found all too often to be true.  With friends and people I truly trust I have encountered the following.

    You extend your hands, offering up your heart, and the other person looks at it.  They see it, and they say they like "that part" and "this part."  You offer them the whole of your heart, and they simply like or love parts.  So, they accept the whole thing.  But they are truly only accepting certain parts and pieces of you.  It hurts because you want them to take it... but really you want them to look at your offering and for them to look up into your eyes and say "I love it. I love all of it. Thank you!"

    At the time I wasn't dating anyone, so I felt this conversation was more for my friend’s benefit.  However, as I thought more about it I realized... I am both the offerer and the person who says, "I like this part."  I offer my heart to myself, and my whole life I have never looked into my eyes.  I have looked at the heart and told myself that I only like pieces.  I like when I produce a good poem.  I love when I manage to make someone smile.  But, I have never looked over my whole heart, looked into myself, and said, "I realize your humanity, and that you are weak like all others are at times. Yet, I love you.  I will love the whole of you."

    I am my own hurt.  Everyday I cannot help but have my heart in sight of my own judgment.  And every day I judge.  I don't think I am the worst of people, but I sometimes say things to myself that I would never tell anyone else.  Why?  I can look at others and give them the benefit of the doubt.  But I know myself, and thus I don't give myself that benefit.

    Maybe the key, however, is to look at the whole of my heart and realize, I am trying.  My hands offer up.  I wish to accept.  I want to love myself.  For to love is to respect, trust, and be comfortable with.  To feel at peace is a part of loving yourself.

     I offer myself my heart.  In my hands it has lain for years.  The faults and the strengths wishing to be equally understood and seen.  And I see them.  I see it, and I love it.  I love all of it.  I wish to help myself to become stronger.  But, I will lead kindly and I will learn to love more fully.  For peace in my own head and skin... that is the beginning of all I want.

June 22, 2015

Lost Love

Shadows move
Like misery
Through fragrant winds

Light shimmers
Passing mists
Of time and memory

Lightening struck
Flashed like beauty
But for a moment

My ears
They ring
With echoes of thunder

Still images dance
To syncopated time
And fate that pens can't change
Poem 75 ~ 2/18/2013

May 28, 2015

A Case for a Pseudonym

     Lately I have been getting some feedback/questions about my use of a pseudonym.  Some think that it is silly of me to hide my personal identity, and physical features and assure me that, "one of these days you will grow comfortable with yourself."  Others simply want to see what I look like, and think it would be more personal to know my name, and to have my age posted somewhere.  Some people have accepted this and others are a little bit more desirous for me to change my view on this.

     I would like to first attest to the realness of my blog.  Everything I post is truly my thoughts.  I am very comfortable with my self. I share my opinions, emotions, views, and (dare I say it) bits of my soul with you.  I am perfectly honest. Nothing I post is "fake" or said to conjure up more views.  Just because I go by "The Damsel" and I choose not to show my face, that doesn't mean I am hiding my mind or heart.

     The main reason I chose to adopt a pseudonym and not present pictures of myself on my blog, or any other linked profiles, is because I wished to keep away distraction.  There are two sides to this.

     The first being, that I don't want myself to leave off on writing. I don't want to slide into doing a "selfie blog" or something similar.  Compliments are very appealing to me.  I love to be called beautiful, or thought attractive.  Sometimes (on personal social media accounts) I find myself caught up in how many "likes" a picture will gain.  I occasionally catch myself thinking of how I could have received more "likes" if I had done something different with my hair, or the lighting.  I think this is something others can maybe relate to as well.  However, despite the naturalness of such feelings, I don't want to get caught in that kind of thinking.  Not here, where my goal is to try and share my thoughts and ideas in a well spoken manner.

     This leads to the other side of distraction.  I don't want my physical self to distract readers from the content I provide. When you come to read I want you to read my words and not to get caught up in physicality's.  Gender is pronounced by my pen name.  But I leave my race, exact age, hair color, height, and anything else physical up in the air.  From my writing you may be able to gain a general sense of who is behind the words.  However an exact portrait of myself, and my physical attributes are not presented.  I want you, as my reader, to follow me because you thought I portrayed, or said something well. Not because I have a decently nice body; or because it is correct for those in my culture to think a certain way.

     In essence, I chose pseudonymity because I don't want to feel the distraction of pride.  I choose a pseudonym because I want you, the reader, to take in the words, thoughts, and ideas portrayed.

May 22, 2015

Appreciation Package Update

     Since hitting 200 followers, this blog has continued to increase in traffic.  I have met some really cool people, and have received some lovely comments here, and on GooglePlus.  I feel blessed that my voice can be heard, and that I can share bits and pieces of my thoughts, views, and world with all of you.

     A little bit ago I promised my 200th follower on GooglePlus what I dubbed an "Appreciation Package".  I wanted to update everyone and let you know what that looked like. Thus, here it is: 


     To everyone, thank you! I'm so grateful for how far this has come. Via GooglePlus I have passed 280,000 views, nearly hitting 400 followers, and my posts keep increasing in the amount of +1's I receive.  It blows me away that there are people who enjoy reading what I post, and who want to come back for more. Thank you so much for your support!

May 18, 2015

Inspiration

Oh joy of joys! 
Elation that I feel
In my bosom burn

Why were you
So long in coming
To this mistress of yours?

I wanted to write
For the world
For you

And now my joy! 
I can write any and all
But why all this time?

I may be a child
But I am old in heart
A fine polish emerging 

You look at my face
You see youth
But eyes deceive like fools

You touch my heart
And you will find
The age of time

So why did you wait?
Why so long in coming
When I longed for you?

But at last my joy 
You are mine... 
Though not for long

My wisdom knows; 
Tomorrow I will yearn 
For the something I still lack

Yet, there is peace in my soul 
And joy fills my heart
For now at least, 
In this precious moment.
Poem 43 ~ 9/11/2012

May 10, 2015

A Mother

She drinks in the sobs
Of her child.
She comforts and consoles.
She brushes away the tears,
From a plump little face.
She kisses away the hurt,
And the sorrows of a second.
She firmly tells the child, "No."
Then she distracts with a toy.
She softly sings her darling to sleep,
On those fearsome nights
When only a mother's voice
Can comfort her child.
She cleans a child's muddy clothes
Without a word of thanks.

~

And as her child grows
She consoles the hurt of minutes -
The whiplash of a careless comment;
The sting of not being able to go;
The laughing faces of her child's peers.
She leads her child to safer waters,
Steering by example.
And when her child is hurt,
Truly hurt,
She hurts as well;
And her heart aches
For the wants of her growing child.

~

And when her child leaves
She gets the front row seat;
To watch the play unfold.
And if the play shows danger,
For her grown up child,
She simply slips back stage
And helps her child iron
The kinks out of their play.

~

And why does she do all this?
She does it because she loves
Her little child
With the tenderness of a butterfly
With the strength of an elephant
And with the heart of a lion.
What a wonderful love
Is the love of a mother!
 Poem 7 ~ 2011

May 7, 2015

What is Traditional Mexican Dance

And, How to Make a Mexican Dance Skirt


     Last school semester I had the opportunity to study Traditional Mexican food.  This was a really great project, as it gave me an excuse to make a huge amount of Pozole, a traditional Mexican soup.  Besides, helping me discover how utterly wrong Mexican food is portrayed in the states.  If you would like to see the resulting project, click here.  

      This semester I had another opportunity to study a facet of a Spanish speaking culture.  Yet again, I chose to go to Mexico.  This time around I wanted to share something that is close to my heart, rather than my stomach.  Originally, I really wanted to learn about traditional Mexican dance.  However, as I came to read more I realized that it would be more interesting to discuss how traditional Mexican dance has changed over time, and what it is.  Always wanting to get my hands into something I decided that I wanted to show you a bit of this through sewing a traditional Mexican dance skirt. 


The Goods
     The pattern I used called for about 3 yards of fabric, as well as elastic.  It was also intended for an 8 year old.  For most of this project I used what sewing knowledge I have to create my own "traditional" skirt.  But I did base it off of the linked pattern.  If I have further tips outside of that pattern I will mark it as a "tip."  Reading this before doing the pattern is probably the best way to go about it, if you wish to make the skirt. 

     Tip: Standing at 5' 7" I decided to go with 5 yards of my base color (the white), 3 yards of each green and 1 1/2 yards of the teal.  I also purchased over 200 yards of thread, and waistband elastic in case I wished to use it. 

     Mexican Dance has undergone many changes.  Some of which can be pinpointed with the Spaniard conquest. During this time new styles were merged, costumes and customs were altered, and some dances were banned or changed in order to appease the authorities. However, the dances that we are left with today do in fact contain much of the original aspects of these dances. The colorful costumes, traditional music, exaggerated headgear, and loud footwork can still be seen in many of the dances. 

Two Inedible Doughnuts
     Tip: Make your circle as long as the fabric will allow. Don't worry if you get less or more then the pattern says.  You can work with it. 

      Depending on the area you go to, Mexican dances will vary. Different regions can have a different style, music, costume, and meaning behind a dance.  Before the conquest, dance was taught by parents and considered an important facet of a child’s education.  Many of these various traditional dances were performed during religious functions only, and in order to appease or praise the Gods.

Layering Things
     Tip: In the original pattern it tells you to create one BIG circle with the two doughnuts.  If you are making a smaller skirt where all you will be doing is this part, and perhaps a small trim then go ahead and do that. However, if you are making something longer you will want to double these. First off it will add modesty (especially if using lighter colors), and second of all it will make it so that the following levels aren't ridiculously hard to put on. You'll see what I mean. 

     During the time of conquest the Mexican culture, was influenced greatly by the Christian values and beliefs that came along with the Spaniards.  A part of this influence was an exaggeration of the need for modesty. Thus, creating a need for more fabric in most costumes.  Fuller, less revealing skirts were included to obtain modesty. 

Support- I Mean the Waist
     Tip: Because of the added fullness of the skirt the waist for such dancing skirts is really a means of support.  I didn't use the elastic the pattern called for.  This is because I simply marked the sash to exactly how much went around my waist, just resting above my hips, and then gathered the top of the skirt, as needed, to fit my waist. If you have a harder time tailoring to fit, go with the elastic. 

Adding Color
     Tip: Make sure that this strip is longer then the circumference of your original circle.  My original circle had a circumference of around 2 1/2 yards. So I went with making the teal into a 4 yards long and 5 inch wide strip. 

     Expression was something that was greatly influenced by the Spanish conquest. Two of the more well know dances are the fandango, and seguidilla, which reached a peak of popularity in the 18th century.  Each dance impacted by a strict social code which prevented dance partners touching each other.  Throughout the dance, partners traditionally remain around 2 feet away from each other as they go through the dance.  In part, due to this social code facial expression, eye contact, and expressive gestures became an important part of these, and many other dances.  Handkerchiefs, fans, and long full skirts helped to add to the expression of the dance as well.  This combination of Spaniard social code, and indigenous expression combined for the bright colors, costuming, and dance steps we know today.

 Gathering

     Tip: So far you should have the first two layers. Your base/white and your small strip/teal.  For the light green I increased to 8 yards in length and 10 inches wide. This gives you a really nice effect when you gather it all, and helps give you the traditional looking "full skirt."

     Like I have mentioned, many dances had to adapt in order to be in accordance with the ideologies and customs of the Christian Spaniards.  Some dances were banned at the time due to their sexual innuendos, explicit costumes, or rebellious undercurrent.  When the era of conquest did end however, what we recognize as traditional Mexican and Spanish dance forms did continue to influence each other, and more fully merge.  This continued merging being a result of many Spaniards permanently staying in Mexico after the conquest was over.  Thus, such things that were influenced by the Spaniards continued to be influenced  and stuck for all intents and purposes.  The culture had already been changed, and there wasn't much of a slide back to older dance roots. Although, those who knew the older dances could again teach them.

Embelishing
     Tip: This is the last piece, so you will want to make sure that you hem the whole thing before you begin to gather it.  For this piece, I made it 12 yards long and 10 inches wide (but after doing a double hem it was 8 inches wide).

     Generally in traditional skirts there would be embroidery, and some symbolism or special meaning would be worked into the skirt.  These skirts were considered pieces of art.  As previously mentioned, the dances that would be preformed were ones that would be passed down generationally.  Often times along with these dances the costuming would be passed down as well.  Thus there was meaning held in every stitch, and it wasn't simply "another piece of clothing."  Also, traditionally these dances were preformed for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, religious affairs, and other life marking events.  Thus, giving even more meaning to any symbolism embrodierd into the piece. 


Making a Tent
     Tip: 12 yards is a lot of fabric.  Do not panic! Just make sure you lay everything correctly so that your hem will end up on the side it should be on when your done.  Trust me, it took me three tries to figure that out. Keep at it, and truly the yards upon yards will give you a beautiful and full skirt, with all of the twirling and swishing capabilities that it should have. 

     Mexican dances began long before the Spaniards came.  However, with their arrival they morphed and changed a bit.  Through out the years however some new dances have arisen. Amelia Herandez founded a school in 1958 to teach ballets that would celebrate traditional dance.  Herandez even choreographed over 30 ballets herself.  Traditional dance has come to be known in more general terms now.  It doesn't simple refer to the dances that native people in Mexico would have known.  It also refers to those dances influenced by the Spanish, and even some dances that tie in these older dance forms but adding slight twists. "Traditional Mexican dance" has become, essentially, an umbrella term.

Here we Are 

     Traditional Mexican dance has changed over the years. Depending on the region you are in, different dances are more prized then others.  Also, region-to-region, dances that are the “same” can be performed very differently due to the culture, and history of an area. Different regions can also cling to dances that may not be well known or traditional in other areas.

     Overall this project was very interesting.  I enjoyed the sewing and learning about the culture.  At times it was a little overwhelming to work with so much fabric.  However, it proved to be very much worth it.