I used to have a fear of dancing. This sprang from self-consciousness, really, and a warped body image. Added to that was the fact that I had nobody to dance with: even now, most of my friends would rather sit around and drink than go out and dance. I could have danced with the girls from my school, but their dancing... it never appealed to me. When they dance it isn't about the music. It's about the men watching them, it's about looking better than the other girls. They don't smile. They dance in tribal circles around their piled-up handbags, and I always leave early because the whole scene makes me feel sick.
May, 2007. The Trinity Centre- a church converted into a multi-roomed dance club. A night of electronica. My sister.
I was terrified, sick to my stomach with fear. Then my sister grabbed my arms and pulled me up to the front of the room, right by the stage where strange figures were making music like I'd never heard before. A new sort of music. She took off my black cardigan, which was hiding the keratosis pilaris on my arms, a condition that used to make me cringe whenever anyone looked at my upper arms, that helped to destroy my self-confidence. Nobody cares, she said. You're beautiful. And so we danced. By the end of the night, I didn't want to stop.
Now, I can't imagine not dancing. Sometimes I still get a twinge of fear, when I look around and there are people watching me from the walls- but then I think, well, here I am twisting and turning right in the middle of a tornado of smiling, dancing people, and they are out on the edges. And maybe they aren't watching and laughing. Maybe they're watching and wishing. All I know is, the only time I am truly happy is when I am dancing. I've tried to convince one of my friends to come out with me and dance- I know, I'm certain, that she'd love it, but she won't. Rather lie on her bed and read, she says. Rather peruse the internet and read fanfiction. It makes me sad that she doesn't understand. I guess I just don't want her to go through life without dancing once in a while. I'm scared that one day she'll wake up and regret never dancing, and by that time, she'll feel it's too late.
(It's never too late: here we have a woman called Bobby who is the greatest and most euphoric dancer I know, despite being well over 50. And at Tribe of Frog I met a 53-year-old woman called Heather who wore a baby blue poncho and hugged me and danced beautifully. I hope I'm like them when I'm their age.)
Dance! I dare you.