I Still Can’t Dance

dancingAlright men, this one is for you. But I need you to promise me one thing. This is really, really important.  If your girlfriend, wife, sister or daughter has something in their life and it makes them happy, smile and say, ‘that’s a great thing!”  Even if you are lying. Do it with a smile. Say it like you mean it and love her.

Years ago, I think my husband and I had been married three or four years. He teased me about my dancing. He made fun of me, in a loving fun way. I haven’t danced once since then, in fifteen years later.

Trust me I loved dancing. I am a freak about music.  Ask me for  the lyrics to a Johnny Cash song, Grateful Dead, The Killers, The Clash, Miranda Lambert, George Jones, John Prine, Gil-Scott Heron, Al Green, Aretha Franklin or Keb Mo’. I know them all, every word, and I can hear the beat in my head. But when I dance or try to keep rhythm it comes out all wrong.  In church I have to look at the other people to know when I’m supposed to clap. My kids laugh at me, but they help and they don’t make me feel bad.

But years ago. when I was dancing with my husband and he made fun of me, afterwards….I took it to heart and I stopped dancing. Something in me broke and that was an end.

Dancing is something so wonderful I really don’t have the words. It’s what sets us apart from most animals. It’s an expression of joy, love creativity and passion. When people finish dancing they walk away smiling usually and there are very few things that make us all smile in life.

At that point, when I was made fun of me, I lost something so wonderful and precious and fun.Apparently it’s gone forever.  Fifteen years later I mourn the loss of being able to dance like the death of a friend, who made me smile and laugh. I miss it so because dancing was wonderful and joyous and silly. But it’s gone now. I’m a pretty bold and strong person, so if this could happen to me I can only imagine what has been taken from other people by a single sentence.

After his comments I actually went back and found video of my dancing at bars and weddings. It was awful, spasmatic and embarrassing. I made Elaine, in Seinfeld, look like a Russian Ballerina. But I looked happy.

Tonight I cried and cried as I sat in the bathtub and watched the last twenty minutes of  Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swazey and Jennifer Grey. Their beautiful and brave dancing made me cry so hard, I was embarrassed…even though I was alone.  I so want to dance like those kids, but I never will, not in this life time.

In that moment years and years ago, something was taken from me and it’s just gone.  It’s not any bodies fault….it was just a joke, an off handed remark. Actually I know it’s my fault because I let dance be taken away from me. He couldn’t have done it if I didn’t let him.

So, before you make fun of somebody for something they love, something that brings them joy like line dancing or quilting or speed walking…stop, then shut up.