Monday, August 15, 2011

Dear Zills,

I really hate you right now.

I don't mean that in a, “we'll never see each other again,” kind of way. But in a self torturing, “you make me so mad the only way to get back at you is to spend even more time with you and make you suffer with me,” kind of way. It isn't so much about the way you turn my finger tips purple from lack of blood flow under your elastic straps, or no matter how hard I try polishing you after practice you still end up tarnished and gross with oxidized finger prints and smudges on you. No, I can handle that. I can almost write that off as something to show off for all of my hard work. Like a scar or an “I was so drunk” story. No, it is far more complex than that. It is the mental abuse you inflict on me. It is your slow, off-beat, ringing laughter every time I play you with any intention. It is the way you give me encouragement when I am playing a rhythm and as soon as my feet begin to move you choke up and loose the beat. Sometimes you even let me walk around, maybe with a bump of the hip or a 3-step turn, and then you fall silent without a strike or a clang of sound making me have to stop completely and start over. You are like a childhood bully who points at my shirt and when I look down to see what is there you bop me in the nose. And you do it over and over and over again.

You keep me stifled and frustrated. You won't let me alternate between simple rhythms. You won't let me speed up enough to play along to songs I like. You just keep demoralizing me. You keep leading me on only to let me down. When I talk to my friends about you they seem to think you are just great. “Zills? Oh yeah, zills are pretty awesome.” You must really be pulling the wool over their eyes to make them give you such compliments.

I don't understand why you deal this kind of abuse to me. Is it because I ignored you for the first 10 or so years we were acquainted? Is it because I gave too much of my time to others and now that I want to be friends you are punishing me? Was I too into learning stupid-human Bellydance tricks spending all my time balancing swords and fire on my head? Was I too involved with editing music for a show you would never be invited to? I could see how you might be bitter about this but come on, I was young and stupid. I didn't have the sense to work out our differences in the beginning. I only wanted to do what was fun and easy. Don't hold the ignorance of youth against me.

If you would just tell me what you want I will do it. Do you want me to memorize rhythms like 3-1-3-1-3 and 3-3-7? Do you prefer me to alternate hands or play only on the dominate side? Do you want me to practice with combos overlaid with zills or just improv until my hands and body sync up? Really, what do you want? God knows I've tried to satisfy you but you just keep playing hard to get.

You know, I'm really ready for this relationship to just move on. I know I should just accept my karma, man up, buckle down, and take my licks. I just wish we didn't have to fight like this. I don't understand why our relationship has to be so difficult. Why is it always so hard with you?

Well, I really didn't mean to ramble on like this. I hope you are doing well, all things considered between us. I look forward to hearing from you again. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe when I get off work we can try talking again. I hope things start to go better between us.

Sincerely,

Naima

I'm not really mad at my zills. I started zill practice off ok. Tried a few combos and it started going downhill. Tried improv to a fun song. Things got worse. I finally gave up and was sitting, arms crossed, lip out, pouting. So I decided to write my zills a letter. And you know, I actually feel pretty content now. Read Natalia's much funnier letter to her zills.

5 comments:

imposterpockets said...

One dancer I knew said she worked up coordinating movement with zills by first doing it with snapping fingers and then progressing up to using the zills. We are probably more proficient finger snappers than zillers. I haven't tested this out beyond the purple finger stage. Freaks me out.

Kis said...

I practised by snapping my fingers while I was wandering around work... waiting for a train... whereever. It got me in the mind set of forgetting fingers (or feet) and keeping moving.

Think of it as like when you first learned to layer... you need to let the feet do their own thing if you're going to focus on the zill... or the other way around...

I needs to practise mine. I've "forgotten" how to play a gallop... (mind you my more complicated zilling is good!)

Lilith Noor said...

I think I could write a similar letter to my zills, although i'd also ask them why elastic that is perfect one moment suddenly slackens off mid move.

I'm ignoring mine at the moment, i should be practising, but I can;t bring myself to do it!

Foxy said...

HAHAHAHA love this post! My own relationship with my zills is more of a love/hate affair! Tempestuous little buggers!

Faizeh said...

My zills are very demanding as well. Jerks.