Dancing Solo

My boyfriend is a dancer like me. He is the one who first taught me how to dance Salsa. We’ve been in a relationship for over nine years and even live together. That said. Most of the time I go out dancing, I go alone.

In an ideal world it wouldn’t be this way, right? Then again, maybe I’m wrong? Perhaps, things are exactly the way they should be, and the universe in its infinite wisdom knows what’s best for me. It happens quite often.

Why doesn’t he go out with me? I’ve been asked this more than a few times, and have even been accused by several men that my boyfriend is made up, a convenient excuse for turning down their advances.

The truth is simple. He doesn’t want to. He’s living his dream of growing his own business, and he wants to put his energy into making it a success. I can respect that. It makes him who he is, and he respects that I’m not going to stop dancing.

How do I feel about going out dancing alone? Do I sometimes feel lonely? Yes, of course, I do. Often, I wish he were with me. I look at other women with their boyfriends and long for their security. When I go out with my boyfriend, I am one hundred percent certain I will know at least one person at the club and will undoubtedly dance the night away. Who wouldn’t want that?

But the more interesting question is how much have I gained by flying solo more nights than not throughout the last nine years? Such experiences have literally shaped the way I view myself.

I have a profound sense of faith. I know that when I venture out alone everything will be provided: friendly faces, dance partners, learning opportunities, and laughter. Even when I’ve traveled to a dance workshop in a different city hours away, I’ve never driven home empty-handed. The universe always delivers sweet memories that enrich my life.

I trust myself to go after what I want, even if it means braving the unknown on my own. I’ve done it so many times now. The reward is that I’ve accepted happiness is my responsibility and dependent on no one else.

Over the years, I’ve collected many wonderful experiences that would have never happened if I had waited for my boyfriend to go with me. Or worse yet, I could have spent the last nine years nagging him, giving away my power and energy to someone else, who would eventually resent me for trying to make him into someone he’s not. Who would do that?

I’m sharing this, because I think a lot of women do just that. I’ve done this countless times myself in the past in different scenarios.

I always find it funny (and odd) when a man asks me why I am out dancing alone, especially when the gentlemen himself is flying solo. In fact, most of the men I see entering the clubs walk through the doors alone. Why is it strange for a woman and not a man? I think its because men have been taught to feel comfortable in their independence and women (in general, not all) have not.

Guess who’s getting more out of life?

Think about that, and then get out there. Do whatever you’ve been dreaming about, even if you have to do it alone. I’ll be with you in spirit. You know, that little voice in your head saying, “Life is too short! Just try it already!”

Dance with Me

I am not the same dancer with all partners. Nope. I wish that I were, but in real life, that is not how it works. I react differently depending on who I’m sharing the dance with.

Some partners cast a spell that convinces me I can do anything on the dance floor. My body feels loose and free. I follow like I have a psychic link with my leader. My creativity has no bounds and ideas come out of nowhere. I am at my best.

With other men, my body turns to tin. I am the Tin man dancing Salsa. I clink and clonk as I struggle with stiff arms and legs. Nothing works right. I spin around the dance floor asking,”What’s happening to me?” I don’t recognize myself. My creativity is gone. I am trapped in a tin can.

Why? I shake my head, shrug my shoulders, and wonder. A typical Salsa song lasts only five minutes. How can I change so much in such a short period of time?

The partner I dance best with laughs at our mistakes. He smiles even when I miss his lead. He holds my hands with just enough grip to give clear directions, and yet it’s a light touch so I don’t feel restricted. This type of leader gives me opportunities to play with the music and dance on my own.

On the flip side, I dance my worst when my mistakes seem to upset my partner. My body stiffens if he tries to correct me verbally. If he grips my hands too hard, my arms tighten. If he never lets my hands go, then rigor mortis sets in. I wait for some opportunity to express myself, but it never happens.

Could it be that certain types of people bring out the best in me? If it can have such a profound effect on the dance floor, then how much more of an impact could those closest to me have in shaping my life?

I am at my best surrounded by people who encourage creativity, laugh at mistakes, and appreciate teamwork. I become less of myself around those who are critical, controlling, and leave little room for self expression.

I think I’ll keep this in mind as I go forward in life.

What about you? Who brings out the best in you?

My advice? Dance with them often.