Sunday, July 17, 2016

Time to Dance!

I am sitting on the bleachers in the gym at my seventh grade dance. This is my first experience with this kind of thing. Girls are watching the boys. Boys are watching the girls. And I am sitting in contemplation analyzing this thing called dancing. My friend encourages me to get out on the floor. “But I don’t know how,” I tell her. “You just go out there and move your body,” she says as if this should somehow clarify the situation. In the end, I would remain sitting on the bleachers watching and wishing I had the balls to not care how I looked or to worry what people thought.

As it happens, I would remain on those bleachers, metaphorically speaking, for most of my life.

I found the following words on a blog once. The words sat inside my head and grabbed at my heart. I was certain the floodgates were, indeed, bursting and ready to be opened. The author beautifully penned, “Whether you’ll admit it or not, there are dreams you’ve kept since childhood. There are things out there that make you come alive. There is a burden in your soul that feels like it’s been lit on fire, and it makes it difficult to speak, and you fumble for the words, and you ache to quench the thirst. What could it look like if you just opened the flood gates and let the passion pour out?”

What could it look like?

Have you ever struggled with this? You know there is more of you inside than what you have shared with the world thus far. I was going through a difficult period in my life, recently, when a friend sent me the following. I feel the flame is ready now, ready to spread its light and joy. My friend said, “I see you as a dancing flame of an exotic candle. Moving silently, bending and throwing light in blue and white and sparkles. No one blows it out.”

No one blows it out. No one blows it out but me. I may be guilty of having blown out my own light.

I attended my high school reunion last night, my thirty-fifth. We are somewhere between showing up pregnant to these things and showing up with walkers. At one point, I was just inebriated enough to allow a friend to encourage me to dance. For two seconds. I danced for two seconds. I forgot for a minute to care. I danced only because a small group of us joined in a circle and held hands as we swayed back and forth. It was lame, really, as far as dancing goes but I was not alone. That’s what mattered most. I was not alone. I was surrounded by those encouraging me to open the floodgates, to relight my flame. “I want to dance, but I can’t,” I told my friend. “It’s already inside of you,” she assured me. “I’ve seen glimpses. You just have to find it and let it out.”

I just have to find it and let it out. I’ve imprisoned my own spark.

I am transitioning in my life. Transitions are never pretty or easy or always even desired. But they are necessary for growth. Growth is necessary for life. And life, well, life just happens as a matter of breathing. It has been a long winter. It has been a long life of covering and hiding and piling on sweater after sweater. It is time now to shed those many layers and find out what lies beneath. It is time, my friends. It is time to dance.

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