A sound bite from a conversation that I had with a relative last weekend:
Her: "So are you still dancing?"
Me: "I have one more lesson left ..." (inaudible sigh)
Her: (perplexed expression)... "You are still taking lessons? Haven't you learned enough? ... Are you going for 'Dancing With the Stars' or what?"
Me: "Dance lessons are the only way I get to dance ... I don't have a dance partner, so I have to pay someone to dance with me."
Her: "Well! We are just going to have to change that!!"
That conversation sparked something within me. I'm done. I'm finished taking lessons. I'm over the concept of paying someone to dance with me.
As I made my way towards the exit of the dance studio after my lesson last night, I had conversations with my instructor as well as the owner of the studio. When they asked/assumed that I would be finding my way back one more time, I said "This time feels different ...".
"Why? What is different?"
What is different? My knee-jerk response is the truth. I have a life now.
When I started dancing, I didn't have a social life. At all. A big night out on the town for me, consisted of going to a dentist appointment. Because it was the only time that I got to leave the house without a child in tow. Now that My Youngest is fifteen years old, my out-of-the-house adventures are childless pretty much 100% of the time (especially since my fifteen year old feels like anything but 'a child' any more).
When I started dancing, I was a bit of a recluse. I didn't have a lot of friendships that took me out of the confines of my safety zones. The friendships that I had, welcomed my children as readily as they accepted me. My dependent children were welcome wherever I went, so this takes me back to the excitement that I felt when I got to go see my dentist. Alone!
When I started dancing, I hadn't fully discovered family outside of my siblings and my mom. Big family gatherings? I panicked at the mere thought of them because I thought, "Who do I know? Does anyone even really know who I am?" It turns out I know most everyone ... and everyone knows me too. I have immersed myself in family and I have found acceptance, encouragement and friendship within.
I have been invited to join this adventure called life. I have more friendships than I feel that I can adequately 'nourish'. My time feels far too committed. I thrive on solitude and quiet ... and my world has become too noisy. I simply don't have the energy to dance any more ...
I walked into that dance studio almost sixteen years ago. My world was crashing down around me and I walked into this utopia called 'Dance Dynamics'. And I danced. I found joy, acceptance and friendship. I was enveloped in a safe world where everyone was there for the same reason I was. To dance.
I was broken. Then I started to heal. My wings got stronger and I tried to fly ...
I fell out of the nest a few times but was always welcome to come back and learn to fly again. Always. My self esteem took a few harsh blows in the world outside of the dance studio, but within those doors I was safe. I was protected. And I learned to fly. Again ...
Well? I feel confident to fly on my own now. It was worth every penny and every moment that it took to get from 'there' to 'here'. Sixteen years. And I am flying solo.
I may not be soaring with the eagles, but I'm frolicking with the robins and having fun within the world that I have created.
I may not be dancing with the stars but I do hope that one day ... one day ... that someone will ask me to dance again. Not because it is their job. Not because we are within the confines of a safe-place where all that we do is dance. Not out of pity. I want to be asked to dance again simply because someone wants to dance. With me. I am ready.
Thank you 'Dance Dynamics'. You gave me that gift. I can dance. Now I am ready to try it out in the real world ...
My (delayed) response to my cousin that sparked this internal conversation?
Me: "No ... I am the one who is going to have to change that!"