Clearing the floor, I turned on my favorite music. I took the center spot and ensuring my door was closed, I spun around in my room letting my new dress twirl around me. My movements were sporadic and haphazard along with the rock violin sounds of Lindsey Stirling.
Despite the fact that I committed to dance lessons for ten years, I never really thought of myself as a dancer. Maybe because I never really practiced it. For me, dancing was more like an expression of one’s mood in the moment. Not something you practiced to make perfect.
But my sister came from the other school of thought. And I very much enjoyed watching what came from her practices. She was angelic and graceful unlike how I saw myself. I wonder now if I didn’t stick with dance for so long just to try to impress her. But I couldn’t commit to it like she did.
As with any master of craft, watching them made you feel small. Like you’d never be where they are. And it’s true. There’s no way I would ever learn to dance like my sister. In order to do that, I would have to be her. And that was not my place.
And so instead I just watched. I watched her perform and let her inspire me. Not to dance, but to do what only I could do. I don’t think she’ll ever really know how much watching her inspired me. And not just watching her dance. I watched her simply live.
To this day, I think of her often. We live miles apart and live very different lives. But when I dance around the house or clear a spot in my room to dedicate to the freedom of movement, I think back to those years we danced.
Not many people know that I danced. That I took classes and performed on stage. I hid my dancing days because I was trying very hard to not be so feminine. I wanted to be accepted as one of the guys and become more masculine in my everyday life. But masculinity didn’t really work out for me. There’s a lot on that side of the coin that I don’t ascribe too. I couldn’t give a care about sports, cars, or how much I work out. And I’ve struggled a great deal trying to find my place along the gender spectrum.
But my dancing days were great days. Moving around the floor in synchronized movements with the rest of class was a fun challenge. Not to mention an energy burst that I could scarcely find elsewhere.
I haven’t thought about dancing for some time. But I do find myself moving along to my music as I walk around campus, changing my pace to keep the beat of the song playing. And moving around in the kitchen as I cook with some background noise. Or even just swaying along as I sit in front of my computer, my fingers finding the beat as I type. Dancing is quite innate to me. And dancing doesn’t have a gender.
For me, dancing is the expression of a soul. Yesterday, I cleared my floor by setting my mattress upright against the wall to give myself the space to dance. It’s quite hard to move a king size mattress by yourself. And yet I did that simply so I could give myself the space to do something I hadn’t even thought about for years. And I’ll now be looking to replace my bed for something more manageable for this rekindled love of dancing. Because after I danced, I felt peaceful again. I felt more like myself and I’ve kinda been losing that lately.
Dancing there in my room with some of my favorite music. It was just bliss.