I continued to dance through high school; dabbling in swing, broadway, jazz, ballroom, tap and hip hop. When I was on stage nothing else mattered. The hot lights shined through my highly done up lashes and bounced off my glossy red lips. My body knew what to do. All I had to do was be present, smile and revel in the feeling of the blood pumping through my veins; being so happy I thought my heart might burst from the sheer joy of it all.
I quit dancing when I graduated high school. I had the belief that serious people don't dance. Dancing is fun, free, fantastical, and often whimsical. Serious, successful people of the real world simply don't do it. Therefore, in my mind, college and career meant no more dancing.
My freshman year of college presented me with a new state, new people, new religions, a long distance boyfriend, and weight gain. I found myself scheduling when I would go home depending on when my roommates were gone. That way I could lock myself up in my room for hours. When I would hear them come home I would turn off my lights, turn down my music or TV, and wait for the courage to bubble up for me to go out in the living room and pretend I was interested. The arm of isolation was slowly and steadily wrapping itself around me.
During that year I saw a ballroom dance group perform. All of the sudden I was engaged. One of the dresses was a vibrant red satin laced with delicate black lace. With every turn I felt her skirt against my legs as if I were the one wearing it. Shivers ran across my skin and tears sprung to my eyes. I thought long and hard about joining them. Horribly that would involve reaching out, taking a risk, showing my authentic self. I never joined.
My sponsor told me about a community dance class that studied Improvisational Dance a few months ago. I had never even heard of Improv as a style but figured, what the hell? I had just admitted I was an alcoholic to a room full of complete strangers! Talk about reaching out and taking a risk!
I walked into that class absolutely terrified. It had been four years since I had moved my body in a creative way. Four years since I had felt the blood rushing, felt my heart ready to burst from the organic energy of dance. Thoughts of doubt came screaming through my head. You won't remember how. You have never done this kind of dance before. Everyone will see you're a fraud. No one will believe you have ever danced. You are too fat to be moving like a dancer anyway. You should go home. I felt like puking and bolting all at the same time. Then, the music started. Oh, yes. Then I was able to remember. My body remembered. The fibers of my being remembered. My heart skipped as if to say, "Thank you!" My blood was already coursing and pulsing and I hadn't even stretched yet! Soon I was leaping, twisting, turning and twirling like no time had passed at all. I was, yet again, able to let go and be.