Dancing with Myself

I choose me.  I’m choosing Olivia.  And right now, Olivia is dancing.  I’m dancing, Jake.  I’m free.  Now, you can dance with me, or you can get off my dance floor.  I’m fine dancing alone.

Olivia Pope

I LOVE dancing.  I always have.  I took lessons when I was younger- at one point, I even entertained the notion of becoming a professional dancer.  Now, that was delusional on my part, but I tell you this in order to underscore how very much I love to do it.

It’s hard for me to sit still when a song I love comes on.  I am somewhat famous (notorious) for my car dance parties.  I am constantly getting busted at traffic lights for rocking out to my (some might say) excessively loud music.

Have you ever been at a function- a wedding, a party, a concert- and the music is playing, but the dance floor is deserted- like, tumbleweed empty?  When nobody is inclined to be the first one on the dance floor?  And a song you love comes on, and you try and convince whoever you’re with to get up and dance?  And they won’t?

That has happened to me many times.  I was always the first one who wanted to dance, but was never willing to be the first one out there.  I was never willing to go it alone. So I would sit- well, kind of sit.  Chair dance, sit. And wait.  Resentfully.

That, by the way, is entirely on me.  It isn’t anyone else’s job to get my ass on the dance floor.  It’s no one else’s responsibility to make sure I don’t miss my favorite song.  No one else is to blame if I decide to deprive myself of something that brings me so much joy.

Do you remember how, when you were little, you would dance, without inhibition- by yourself?  You wanted to dance, so you just DID.  I remember standing in my kitchen, this was years ago, looking out the window into the backyard and watching my daughter twirl. I stood there, just marveling at her joy.  She was alone, and happy, and dancing.

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I am at a point in my life where I am totally happy to dance alone, if that’s the only way I can dance.

I feel the same way about my relationship.

You know that old adage that love will come when you least expect it?  I think that’s a load of malarkey.  I mean, it might– but it’s got nothing to do with you being unaware, or distracted by other things.

I think love comes- real love, healthy love- when you are perfectly content to be alone.

I used to hate being alone.  It was incredibly uncomfortable.  I needed to GO and DO, I needed to be with other people.  If I couldn’t be, I was on the phone, or I’d have the tv on, or be busy. I needed SOMETHING to distract me, because stillness and quiet were unbearable.  It’s not that your demons don’t whisper in your ear when you’re not alone- but it’s harder to hear them over the chatter.

I really didn’t love myself.  I’m not even sure I liked myself, much.  If you don’t like yourself, then it stands to reason that you wouldn’t want to spend much time with just you.

The problem with that is if you are unwilling to be alone, you will put up with almost anything in order to avoid it.  You will settle for being unhappy- or even just less than happy.  You will be a small version of yourself.  You will try to fix the unfixable.  You will compromise who you are.  All in an attempt to hang on, desperately, to a relationship that may or may not be serving you well.

And you will be heartbreakingly lonely.

Alone and lonely are not the same thing.  Not even close.

I have been desperately lonely on a crowded dance floor, and completely content dancing in my room by myself.  Alone means there is no one else physically present or that you are not in a relationship.  Loneliness is a state of mind.  Loneliness is being disconnected- from other people, and from your true self.

I feel very connected now.  To other people, sure- but I feel connected to me.  I feel grounded, and secure in who I am. When that happens, you’d be surprised how little you give a damn about what other people think of you.  Which makes it easier to be around other people, and, oddly enough, to be alone.  I actively seek out alone time now.  I require stretches of silence.  I don’t need the hustle and the chatter anymore.

I’m fairly delighted with myself these days.  There was a time when I’d have been worried that sounded egotistical, but now I think- that’s EXACTLY how I want my kids to feel about themselves.  I want them to think they are fan-damn-tastic.  So, I am leading by example. At long last, I like me.

I’ve written before about the relationship I am in now, and the first argument we ever had. When we spoke the next day, I told him how much I loved him, and how much I wanted to be with him- but if it came down to him or me? I’d pick me.

That was huge for me.  What was even better was his response.  “Good,” he said.

I’m fine being alone.  I am madly in love with him.  He is my Favorite.  He makes me happy every single day.  I never get sick of spending time with him.  He is good for me, and I think I am good for him.

But if that changed? If it stopped being good?  If he left, or I did- as sad as that would be, I would be FINE.  I don’t need him in my life,  I just really, really want him there.

I do a lot of dancing these days.  We dance in the kitchen, we dance on the beach, we dance in the backyard- well, not right now.  The snow.  Lord have mercy.  He’s a great dancer and loves to dance.  With me. We dance really well together. I love that.  I love that he wants to dance with me- but if that ever changes, I will still be on the dance floor.

I’m fine dancing alone.

PS

In the middle of writing this essay I went to pick my daughter up at school.  On the ride home, Dancing Queen by Abba came on.  Normally I try to restrain my dancing ways when she is in the car (see, that’s an example of me being an unreliable narrator!) given that she is a teenager and every blessed thing I do is mortifying- but Abba?  C’mon. If Abba comes on, I am dancing.  Unless it’s Andante, Andante- because that song is straight up creepy. xoxox

32 Comments on “Dancing with Myself

  1. I was car dancing to Abba yesterday on the way to work! I was speeding a little, and I passed a cop. I decided that if he pulled me over and asked why I was speeding I was going to tell him it was Abba’s fault. I might even have been a tiny bit disappointed when I didn’t get pulled over.

    Liked by 2 people

    • sadly, I *totally* get that. I was at a red light last year, completely full on dancing when I glanced over at the car next to me and saw a police officer DYING laughing at me. In my defense, though, I *ain’t* no Hollaback Girl…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVE.
    It’s definitely nice to feel like your own best company. A new development for me in the last few years…happy. And THEN, being in the company of people who are also their own best company is just so damn easy and fun. Life is good, sweet friend. Life is good 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ahh, I have no rhythm and much too much embarrassment and shame. No matter how many are out there on the dance floor I’m much too scared (or smart) to join. What a shame because I love music, I love the way it speaks to my soul, the way it can reflect, or change, a mood. Nothing better in the world and I might be moving in my chair, but you won’t see me on the dance floor!

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    • rhythm, schmythm. I don’t care about that. The shame bothers me. The idea of you not dancing for that reason is upsetting. If you are afraid of other people judging you, rethink who you’re hanging out with, and if it’s YOU- ask yourself how you would react if a friend was dancing awkwardly. Would you be unkind? Would you judge? If not, maybe consider being as kind to yourself as you would be to other people. You’re the love of your life, you know.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. More Olivia Pope! Can’t get enough. I love how you made that bridge to your relationship and the issue of loneliness. It’s a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot. I have a 40 year marriage that I’m trying to sustain and yet connectedness is a huge issue. It was nice to read about someone finding a good place in all of that.

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  5. Once again…perfection..and I so agree…once I said “I am done dating..I don’t need a man to be happy and these guys aren’t worth it…” I found myself alone and in the best place ever for about a year..and then SMACK. He shows up…and that was 11 months ago..I love my alone time. Love our together time, and love dancing in the kitchen while he cooks me dinner!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks so much for this post. It gave me a sense of enlightenment I hadn’t felt in quite a while 🙂

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  7. so at 52 years, barely, and I can say ‘I MATTER and mean it. I am ‘strong’ and I can dance for me now!

    I love your words “I choose ME”
    you know it’s so strange, it’s like you are in my head. we seem to be at a similar place ( or at least it seems like it might be the case right now)

    after i made it through to the other side of my PTSD okay….. as i am making it through, okay….. as I have gathered some tools to help me know how to deal with the repressed memories to continue making it through to the other side. 😉
    after all of that….I decided to get myself a tattoo. This is something I NEVER dreamed I’d do. Nothing wrong with them…just not for me. After our son showed interest in getting one in high school, we told him, “draw one on with permanently marker for year. if you liked it then get the tattoo.”
    When I told my husband I was going to get one…well, he was shall we say, SURPRISED. He just didn’t understand why.
    so the reason….. (I’ll try not to make it a novel)
    I have many wounds, like so many of us. it seems about the time I get one to start healing, the scab is ripped off! causing more pain…
    two of my pains………….diagnoses of Parkinson Nov 2009, i don’t like the definition and all the frighten words that go with it. I try to keep those words under my skin and try to hard not to let them surface, words like progressive, debilitating, no cure…. After a little over two years of this diagnoses and a lot of pain, I thought my PD was getting worse but it turned out to be an additional diagnoses of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was relieved with the new diagnoses thinking ‘thank goodness my PD is not progressing’, then I found myself saying, “really God?” what the heck? more words with this one too…the same words sticking words!!!
    Then the first repressed memory appeared Oct 17, 2013. By Jan 2015 I was not doing too good so Feb 2014 I went to a place to help me deal the abuse/PTSD… I gained so many tools at this place and came out the other side. 🙂
    chapter 2 heehee
    so back to the tattoo. Surviving through another ‘thing’
    I wanted something for ME…something to show I had made it through to the other side….
    I was STRONG! I decided to have the word ‘strong’ printed in white lettering on my wrist. once at the tattoo place I had the letters in lower case and had the t colored blue as a cross.
    This is a visual reminder to me that ‘I’ made it, ‘I’ am strong… ‘I’ can deal with this stuff and be okay because I am STRONG. And I am strong through Christ.
    The tattoo is not a scab that can be torn off, it is not a scar from a wound.
    IT IS A SYMBOL OF THE STRENGTH I HAVE.
    Strength I had no idea was deep inside me.
    It is a physical reminder just for ME.
    I am STRONG!

    P.S.
    my dance song
    Roar by Katy Perry

    Ro-oar

    I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
    ‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
    Louder, louder than a lion
    ‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

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    • Katrina, did you read my essay, Ritual? If you did, you know I get the whole tattoo thing. I think it is a profoundly powerful thing to do, so much so I have been toying with the idea of a second one. And I have DEEP affection for all things Katy Perry- I love that song. xo

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  8. Hi, Laura! Thanks for another great post. And … Congratulations! Because you are blogger I’ve lately been enjoying a lot, I have nominated you for a Liebster Award! It’s sort of a chain-letter award bloggers give to other bloggers they really dig. If you accept, you can find the rules by visiting erinjbernard.net and reading my post, “I was Nominated for a Liebster!” It calls out you and a few other bloggers I am just so fully rooting for. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, yes, YES!!! My kids and I regularly have dance parties that take over the entire house! I’m finally at a place/time in my life where I can say “I’m fine dancing alone.” I got up and danced watching that scene from Scandal – and your post just reaffirmed how true it is for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your words struck a chord. I’ve been lonely for a while, and alone. I keep putting the two together as if one potentiates the other; they don’t. I need to get content with being alone and separate it from “lonely.”
    Great writing, all of your posts. They’re inspirational to me. I was raped by a “friend” in 2005 and I, too, found some healing in finally expressing emotion and telling my story. Over, and over, and over again-in the form of a blog, one I’ve long since deleted. Sadly, I’ve met more women with a similar story, but the bright side is we can now look at one another and see what the other woman sees. She never saw me as a victim, as the leftover trash discarded after sexual assault so why would I see my own self that way? Keep writing, if it isn’t helping you know that it’s helping me!
    Oh, and embarrassing our teenage daughters is our God given right!

    Like

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