She dipped her spoon into her oatmeal, then nibbled a bit off the end.
-- Chloe Neill, Friday Night Bites
"The girls here really know how to ask a guy to dance," Steve, an impressed first-time Swing dancer said, shortly after we finished the first dance last night. In fact, I had a fantastic time dancing almost non-stop with several people, taking brief respites to cool down and allow my heart to catch up. Steve, at one point, made the comment, "All the other girls must be jealous, because you've danced to almost every song."
Eventually, I was called to the floor for my birthday dance. A few months ago, I wouldn't have even tried. It takes quite a bit of practice following to tune yourself every 15 seconds or so to a different lead, as you are passed from hand to hand. I started with Dan and, several leads later, as the song drew to a close, finished with Sam walking me to my seat. On the way back, I thanked her for her invaluable advice.
Afterwards, the D.J. apologized for being so rude, for avoiding me all these nights, because of a "phobia." To him, I was not in stealth at all, even though I "dress like a lady," and during our chat about my story, he eventually pointed out my 13-inch arms to be what gave it away. To be honest, I didn't really notice his "phobia," because I had been so engrossed in my own passive paranoia, which I've had for decades.
A couple of nights previously, it was completely different. I was infuriated and frustrated that in the span of an hour after the lessons were over, I only was invited to dance a single song.
That evening, Brandy saw me laying on the grass in my misery, and as we talked, she was the first of three people to advise me to take charge of the situation, to not be afraid to ask for my dance. This advice was repeated by my coworker, Sandra, and online by Sam, who was my first instructor.
Sam's advice went a little deeper. Besides asking the guy to dance, when no one's dancing with you, she told me that more people will ask you to dance if you do so. Not understanding the dynamics at the time, what I discovered is that it is 100% true.
Between her advice and last night, I started thinking about the tattoo on my right arm. A female buccaneer, I had chosen it because it represented the type of woman I admired most: a woman that knew how to get what she desired. It was also what I had selected 23 years ago when I was looking for a tattoo to help mark my identity. It is time for me to become that woman.
I had been passively afraid to start social interactions, because I didn't want to offend anyone. So, I would sit as the wallflower, and wait for someone to invite me in. To sit, to dance or to talk. So I always went away hurt, when it appeared no one wanted to have anything to do with me.
I was ignoring reality. I was assigning too much assertiveness to the people around me that I, myself, failed to have. Almost everyone these days is shy, and is simply waiting to be asked, like I was. Modern women don't wait for the opportunities to come to them. They go to the opportunities. I needed to come a few decades into the present.
By deliberately approaching others (while taking care of my presentation), I become more approachable. Isn't it funny how that works? People are afraid that you are too sensitive, are afraid of hurting you or being hurt themselves, until they see you out there.
So, yeah. I danced my ass off. I did it by taking pleasure in asking for a dance from the very beginning. I made a new friend, feel better about myself and am seeing ways to apply this principle, to be more involved and fulfilled.
As I was leaving, I let Steve know, and he stepped into a nice hug.
Apparently, I had given myself a dancing workout that exercised me past my last limits, because I had to take ibuprofen for the leg and toe cramps in order to sleep fitfully. .
I feel great.
Hugs and God Bless,