The music stopped and he let out a sigh, obviously not happy with his performance.”Have you done this before?” he asked.
“No.” This was, in fact, my first-ever official waltzing lesson.
“But you’ve danced before…”
“I can tell,” he said. Was he complimenting me on my skills on a dance floor? My seventh-grade self would never have imagined such a thing in my future. Nor my 27-year-old self for that matter. But there I was in my first waltzing lesson appearing to my partner as an experienced dancer. Ha!
Before I could reassure him that I, too, had once been is his position of exasperation, the instructor directed us to take up our positions again as he started the music. I rested my hands on my partner’s shoulders, wanting to offer words of encouragement but not wanting to disrupt his attempt at counting to the music. One two three, four five six. One two three, four five six.
When the music stopped, I smiled and murmured some positive words before moving on to the next partner as instructed. I took a few missteps, but gone was the anxiety I once felt about looking foolish on a dance floor. Don’t get me wrong – I still look foolish plenty, I just no longer care. I smiled recalling my last year of high school. I was the girl who skipped out on the senior prom – instead joining three friends in a father/daughter dinner at the nearby Culinary Institute of America. There are pictures of me and my best friend Carly on her front lawn in our evening finery looking every bit like we were off to the prom. I think my smile is so big because I knew I would not have dance that night.
Of course, the type of dancing that happened at a high school prom was nothing like what I imagined myself one day being able to do. I had illusions of gliding across a dance floor ballroom style, or maybe swing dancing. I tried both at various times in my twenties only to find I was unable to let a man be in control. Years later, giving it another go, I realized that if my partner showed confidence in what he was doing I was fine letting him take over. It was the ones whose hands felt tentative in mine that led to my difficulties trusting them to take the lead. A parallel to other things in life? Absolutely.
But now-a-days, the dance floor is one of the few places in my life where I don’t have to make any decisions – where someone else tells me what to do with a push of his hand or a twist of his body. I don’t glide by any stretch – and I fumble my fair share. But what I love is that there’s no debate about which move to make – I have no say, nor time to protest. I simply follow, happy to secede control.
I know many women fought for my right to live my life however I choose. For that I am appreciative. However, there are plenty of days where I just want someone else to point me in the right direction and I, with no time to argue, just go. And like magic it all turns out beautifully.