Date #4: Let’s Dance!

I gained more inspiration from my Paint Night instructor from Date #3. She is a West Coast Swing Dancer and told me about various beginner classes available during the week. Dance class was one of the date options on my short list for my 50 dates adventure, so I figured it would be a perfect option for this date!

Just to recap the rules, all of my “dates” have to make me uncomfortable in some way and it has to be fun. Dance class, solo, definitely fulfills this requirement. The other rule that I have is that I’m not supposed to repeat the same type of date more than once. I mainly put this rule in place to make sure I wasn’t taking myself out to dinner and a movie 50 times. I feel that exceptions to this rule can be made if there are valuable things to be learned, or a good story to tell from the experience. I am allowing an exception to the “Cannot Repeat” rule for dance classes.

This was my first dance class ever, so I was definitely out of my element, and felt a little weird going in there without a partner. The instructor was very good at putting this newbie at ease and everyone at Studio West School of Dance,, was very nice and welcoming. I was grateful that I had taken a couple of decades of choreographed fitness classes because it helped me to pick up and follow basic steps and patterns pretty easily. The hard part is the “frame”, the hand holds/releases, and sometimes following someone else’s lead.

The hard parts of this date are the things I’d like to focus on because I felt like I understood more about why these 50 dates are so important for me, but there’s a little more to it than I thought. I’ve been thinking about how to put it into words without rambling. The “Uncomfortable” rule in this adventure is probably the most important rule. I originally thought that rule was to make me embrace things that made me feel weird and insecure so I would have my confidence and “Roll with it” attitude again. That’s still true, but I also need this rule because I’m a bit of a control freak and I’m at a point in my life where I’m realizing I need to let some of that go.

I was the oldest child with a VERY young single mother. I started babysitting my brother after school when I was about 7, started working a pretty full schedule in a family restaurant when I was 14, left home to be an Air Force Air Traffic Controller when I was 18, married at 20, paid my way through college full-time while working full-time and married, etc, etc…I took charge of a lot of things from a very young age and this year I’ve learned that there is very little that we actually control. We understand this in terms of life and death, but when it comes to relationships and trust this understanding is a little more fuzzy.

When I was trying to save my marriage, I thought there were things I could say or do to bring back the person that I thought I knew so well and my marriage might have a chance. I didn’t know him at all and there was nothing I could have done. I had an unfortunate disagreement with a family member at Thanksgiving. As a result of the conversation that followed, I found that our relationship wasn’t what I always thought it was. I feel much lonelier for knowing this, but have to respect it and figure out what things look like for us from here.

These were and still are important relationships to me. They’re the most important relationships I’ve had in my life and both feel like they crumbled like they never mattered. Happily, my ex and I are on very good terms. I’m dealing with baggage from how things ended, but I don’t feel animosity toward him anymore. We’re a parent team and are friendly with each other. My family situation is different. We’re not being nasty or fighting. I just feel lost about it and don’t know that there is anything in particular I can or should do about it.

We have no control over how others feel about us or about how others perceive the world. I would like to say that we can only control our own attitudes and behavior, but this can also be a great challenge at times. We are Responsible for our attitudes and behavior, but it can’t always be controlled. This is where I come back to the rules. The “Uncomfortable” rule is to also make me feel more comfortable with not being in control of things. I have no idea how these dates are going to turn out, I just know I want to have fun with them and learn from them.

Now back to Dance…I realized with the “frame”/holds, I likely had tense stiffness and a Kung Fu Death Grip. I know I fought a lead a time or 2… 😯 Control freak…I think learning to let someone else take the lead will be very good for me in a Cesar Millan kind of way. I also learned what kind of lead I’m most comfortable following. I feel like this is parallel to what I probably need to look for in a future partner in life. I found that when I had the lead I was comfortable following, I felt free and happy spinning around on the dance floor because I only needed to get my steps right and have fun to the music. It was a blast!

I think Dance will be really interesting in a lot of ways, especially the more up close and personal types of dance like Tango…eek!!! I’m going to have to learn to relax, let go of the Kung Fu Death Grip on life, just learn my part and let someone else drive. 4 dates done, 46 to go! Cheers!

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