Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

I'm also going to blog like nobody is reading. I just want to pour my perspective out there even if it exposes my craziness.

A few friends that I met at last Saturday's bowling activity invited me to go dancing last night. I was a little nervous for a few reasons:
1. I didn't know these people very well. Ben had been texting throughout the week (I've decided I much rather have a real phone conversation once a week than many tiny bits of random messages across several days). So I really didn't know him too well and I only knew his two other friends from the bowling game.
2. I didn't really want to dance any slow dances. For me, this outing was to be sort of an exercise to gauge where I am in my progress of being a strong single woman.
3. I didn't really want to dance any fast dances. I was convinced that I would look like a completely awkward freak. Ben and his friends have been divorced longer than I have and they attend dances nearly every Saturday night. The last dance that I had been to was in February or March of 2003.

For anyone who has learned a new language, you remember the SILENT stage. You stand around listening to others speaking and you catch one or 2 familiar words but still have no real clue about what's being said. I imagined going through a similar stage at this dance. This stage in my mind was called the INVISIBLE stage. I wanted to watch the single people and catch a glimpse of this new language.

Well, just like I was out-of-my-mind nervous about bowling last week and it turned out great, last night was awesome too.

We all met in Farmington at Ben's place. Olga (from the Dominican Republic) drove us to Wheeler Farm in her car. During the 45 minute drive (in a snowstorm), I was able to get to know these great people better and get prepped for what was to come. All of us in the car had been divorced. They are all in their 40's, I was the baby because I'm 33. Each of them discussed their ex spouses, except for me. I liked to listen and try to understand each situation. All three of them are still a bit (actually, a lot) in love with either their former spouse or an ex-dating partner.
This was the first part of the night where I felt really blessed to not be missing or loving anyone. I don't know if I can describe what I felt, but I felt relieved to not be pining for someone.
In the car, when Shane found out that this would be my first of these 30+ dances, he asked if I was nervous. "I'm terrified" was my reply. He said, "Oh just relax, you won't meet the love of your life here, so lower your expectations and you'll be pleasantly surprised". I laughed right out loud at his words of comfort. "No, Shane, I am no where near that stage of thinking. honestly, I just do not want to be physically close to strange men and I definitely don't want to be groped by anyone"
Surprised by the expression of my strong feelings, the car filled with laughter as I was tutored by these expert dance goers. I learned that these dances have no upper age limit. So, the terms grandpa and groping can be heard in the same sentence.
Learning that there would be dancers in their 60's and 70's actually relaxed me quite a bit.

We entered the big barn like building on Historic Wheeler Farm and went upstairs to check our coats. From upstairs you can look down onto the dance floor. It was so funny to me at first. There were so many old people out there shakin' it and workin' it. I had to smile and I even laughed a little bit. There were quite a few wall flowers too. Many people watched and ate. There was a refreshment bar with salads and small sandwiches, nuts and candies. (I have to include this food information for my dad--he's totally obsessed with what kind of food is offered for how much you pay anywhere). These particular dances are run by a DJ, have a dress code (modesty), and serve ice water. No smoking or drinking.
We went downstairs and as I stepped onto the dance floor, I realized that these people (who I had just laughed at moments ago) were my peers. More than that--they are my spiritual brothers and sisters.
I had planned on being a wall flower last night. I was heading out there as an exercise to take a temperature of my readiness for dating. Also, I was pleasantly happy that I was not loving anyone at this time.
HOWEVER, when I saw all these different people with my spiritual eyes, my heart grew. I felt a ton of love for all of these people. It occurred to me that every single person in that big room had experienced heartache and pain in life. My perspective completely changed.
I accepted every dance with every guy who asked me. I was assertive with my space, but very willing to ask questions and let them talk about themselves. I also paid more attention to the women around me. I thought about how much time and thought had gone into the clothing that they chose to wear. Where I had thrown on some simple black pants and a yellow hooded sweater, these women had really gone out of their way to look attractive. Many women with wrinkles had put layers of makeup on (I really think this would have made me judge them and shake my head with thoughts that they need to be more real), but instead I hurt a little bit for them and I saw the beauty and strength in their eyes. I also said a quiet prayer that they would find good men who also saw the beauty in these women.
Near the end of the dance, I was standing alone near the dance floor during a fast dance. I was really enjoying watching a group of friends dance silly and laugh together. Each person in that circle dealt with being overweight. I admired them for their enthusiasm and creativity. One of them noticed me and motioned for me to join the circle. I did and had fun. When a slow song started another one from the circle started dancing with me. He is my age and we talked easily. They announced the last song of the evening and he asked if I would finish the evening with him. At the end of the song he invited me to join his circle of friends to go to a restaurant. I thanked him, but declined. I told him that I came with some other people and needed to get home to get to sleep. Having dealt with weight issues all of my adult life, I understood what it would take for him to invite me out and I admired him. I really hope to see that circle of dancers again.
Driving home that night, I felt peace. I didn't feel as wrapped up in myself anymore. I was no longer the "terrified" girl as I had previously described myself. I was a dancer learning from others and gaining perspective.

1 comment:

  1. I admire you Shantelle! I always have! You are a strong woman! It's one of the many reasons I love you!

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