Dancing Through Feelings

It probably won’t come as a surprise that my plans for this week’s post shifted dramatically on Friday. Something exciting happened just the day before that I couldn’t wait to share with you! If you follow me on social media, then you already know. 😉 Earlier in the week, the work being done on the roof was officially complete with the last section of wood trim painted. It was shaping up to be a pretty good week! And then it was Friday.

The news on the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Roe v. Wade and the devastating impact on women’s rights in this country hit me hard, even though it wasn’t truly a surprise. It’s one of those things that even though you’re pretty confident is happening, you’re still not prepared for when it actually does.

Before plummeting into the pit of despair, however, I went to ballet class on Monday. My balance was more on point than the last few weeks, which was encouraging. After the barre section, we spent a lot of time working on different turns across the room. During a spotting exercise done with a partner, I learned that my head travels a bit when I spot, so instead of it turning in one place, it makes a wider circle. I thought that was interesting and wondered if I had developed a habit from dancing ballroom because especially in the Smooth and Standard dances, you rarely turn on a spot; turns always travel.

Thursday was the exciting day. After a little over a year, I had a ballroom dance lesson! I partnered up with another woman who had been working on Silver Smooth last year before finances became an issue (been there, live there!). We’re taking private lessons together with the idea that we can learn both the lead and follow roles in order to practice together and support each other on our dance journeys. Plus, we can share the cost of the lessons. Who knows, maybe we’ll show up in the competitive amateur couple circuit one day!

In our first lesson, we worked on the follow half of a Silver-level Waltz.

It felt so good to dance Waltz again! I assumed I would be very rusty and stumbling all over the place while I remembered how to rise and fall, but actually it didn’t take long for my body to adjust back into those ballroom basics. My knees, on the other hand, did start to protest towards the end. Just need to get them used to the ballroom actions and angles again. It’s different from ballet where everything is usually evenly stacked on top of each other. The curve of the steps, the rise and fall, and the swing and sway of ballroom require a different kind of stacking. Weight is distributed differently in order to achieve alignment and balance, not to mention you have a partner working as a counterbalance. It’ll be interesting to see how my body feels as I continue in my ballet classes along with ballroom lessons.

My next dance sesh was Saturday morning Zumba. I was feeling emotional after Friday’s news – scared, disturbed, depressed – but dancing has always been healing for me. Rhythmic movement to music is so powerful for working through strong emotions. It provides a release of the energy that gets built up inside and threatens to explode if you don’t do something about it.

We usually have at least one guy in class, but this past Saturday it was all ladies. The normally uplifting vibe was heavier as we danced and shouted on cue, seeking an escape from the darkness while also searching for the hope and strength we knew we had underneath the shock, fear and sadness. There was no idle chatter after class as the women steeled themselves to return to the outside world that felt less safe than a couple days before.

This weekend was our first hot days of summer with high humidity and temperatures in the 80s. As sticky as it was, after I got home from Zumba, showered and ate lunch, I felt drawn to be outside. I needed to be with the birds and the wind in the trees for awhile, to feel a sense of peace. So I sat in a shady spot on the deck with a glass (or three) of Rosé for a couple hours. I wouldn’t say I felt better afterward, but I felt less in turmoil with my feelings.

It’s impossible to process such a disturbance to Life as we know it when we don’t take the time to pause and give ourselves some quiet space. Sometimes we don’t have a choice; the processing has to wait until more immediate demands of our energy are addressed. Work has to be done, kids need attention, but once we log off for the day or the kids are settled, we have to give ourselves that pause. It’s the only way to stay healthy enough to keep going and keep shining our lights bright, even as other forces try to smother them in the dark.

As I shared on social media after my time with nature and Rosé, I for one don’t intend on going anywhere. I will continue to dance, write and show up as my true, authentic self. I will keep shining against the orcs and goblins of Mordor.

To anyone struggling to dance through their feelings this week, you’re not alone. Give yourself that time and space to pause and process, and then let’s get to work.

Sending you love and strength!

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