On Life and Love

So Out of My Comfort Zone

One (of a thousand) things I’ve let slide in the last year of struggles is one of my most favoritest: dance.

I haven’t been to belly dance class since at least last summer, haven’t learned any new moves or choreographies, and have barely practiced on my own.

I told myself that “when everything was more under control”, that I’d go back.

Well, that “everything” got under some sort of “control”, but then recovering from that was exhausting, and then healing stuff that’s been askew in my life forever is too all over the place.

The thing is I know not to wait for life to get to back to “normal” before living it. I’m already living it, however it comes. Live it like I want it to be.

So when a buddy said, “Hey, let’s try this West African dance class,” I said, “Sure!”

Then followed a month of scheduling shenanigans, but tonight we made it.


I’m often surprised at how embarrassed I am at how bad I can be at orchestrated dance. Part of me thought that since I’d been willing to make a fool of myself in another dance class, that I should have been fine with it tonight.

Apparently, a bad year resets my pride-o-meter.

The class was all levels, from me to folks who had been doing this style of dancing in Charlotte for 3+ years.

It was… so incredibly awkward. It was a simple dance. I generally understood the basics of what I needed to do (with the exception of turns–hard to see foot placement in a turn when you’re turning at the same time the teacher is), but things got very jangled when I tried to get my mind to send those signals to my body. Sometimes my mind went blank, sometimes it just took too long to send the message, and then I was behind.

It was bad enough that I ended up largely omitting the simple arm work to focus on the footwork.

The good dancers were quite inspirational. They took the simply-taught moves we’d learned and threw this incredible energy behind it. I was soon trying to exude a fraction of that energy in the simpler moves that I grasped better.

It was a big kick in the pants for me. I couldn’t really feel the joy I usually do when dancing tonight, but I recognized that joy on so many other people’s faces there. It doesn’t matter what my weight is, whether I’m good at the dance in question (although being competent helps), what my shoulder feels, or what the rest of my life is like. Dancing is how I make music real, and I miss it very, very much.


  • Anthony LoneFight

    Awesome!! I hate to admit it, but I love to dance too. I guess it’s really hard to get out of my head lately and not see this image of an overweight 47 year old dancing that everyone must see. When I was line-dancing the instructor would say, “your LEFT foot Tony! Your other LEFT foot!” I kid you not! But it was fun. I guess my walking has taken that spot in my life… but there is nothing like dancing to music! It’s glorious!