Sunday, August 14, 2016

On Why We All Need To Dance Anyway.

It was a Friday night. I was 19. And so excited for this party that all of my friends had been talking about since Monday. Word on the street was that it was going to be “EPIC”!

You could hear the thumping bass of the music before we even got around the corner. We pulled up to the curb, and I gazed through the dirty cab window. People were pouring out of the house and onto the front porch and yard. Empty red solo cups decorated the walkway up the house. You could smell the beer bong residue from where I stood. It was shaping up to be the kind of party that everyone had been gushing about all week.

I took a deep breath, ready to embark on this night, wobbled in my heels up the walkway and crept into the crowded foyer. Within seconds, I found myself alone. My girlfriends had disbanded throughout the house, and I retreated to a corner in a back room where people were dancing to “Get Low.”

Flo.Rida reverberated throughout the room as a sipped on some stale, watered-down beer from an old keg. I sighed deeply and cursed myself for getting roped into coming to this place. Disappointed, I contemplated how long I was going to stay at this “epic” party before I called a cab to come get me. The couples dancing in front of me were getting more and more comfortable with each other as the alcohol kept flowing through their systems, and I recognized a familiar face in the crowd --my recently deemed “ex” boyfriend.

He was swaying and swinging his hips with a very pretty blonde girl who probably went to hot yoga on Sunday mornings and drank green smoothies for dinner. (“They get rid of all the toxins!”). I watched in horror as she slipped her perfectly polished hand behind his neck and pulled his face closer to hers. Their lips connected, and my freshly wounded heart slumped down into my stomach. My eyes felt heavy with a wall of tears, but I held them back. I was not going to cry here. I would bawl into snot-filled Kleenx in the comfort of my dorm room, thank you very much. I threw back the last of my drink and prepared to call a cab. As I whipped out my flip phone, I felt a hand on the small of my back.

It was my roommate. Her long black hair fell perfectly in front of her face and she smiled wide--her teeth glowing between bright pink lips.

“I love this song! Come dance with me!”

I tried to say no. I tried to get out of her grip. I had already planned my pity party back at my dorm. It was time for pajamas and salty-tears and ice cream and “The Notebook.” Dancing was the last thing I wanted to do.

But she wasn’t taking no for an answer.

She grabbed my hand and pulled me into the crowd of sweaty bodies already busting a move--my ex boyfriend included. She bounced up and down and left and right and started dancing like a complete fool. I felt the corners of my mouth start to curl and before I knew it, I was laughing and dancing and smiling. I was loving the moment. The party was a complete bust, but I was going to dance anyway.

For the past couple of months, life has not been the party that I have always hoped it to be, or sometimes even willed it to be.

I have blacked out from a broken heart. The loss so palpable that I collapsed onto my knees, a shattered woman, and cursed at God in a way I never have before.

I’ve spent nights in a hospital bed while a phlebotomist (who might have needed some extra days of training, maybe?) dug a needle into my tiny veins trying to figure out why my blood just never cooperates. I cringed with each twinge of the needle, praying that it would all end soon. Dreaming of being at home in my bed and not cooped up in a hospital bed while my poor parents and brother and husband took shifts keeping me company--themselves totally drained of spirit while my guilt thickened.

I’ve looked into my husband’s eyes as we both cowered in sadness.

I’ve wondered, “How is there hope for us when we’re both so depleted? Who will help us both rise up out of the dirt?”

For the past couple of months, I’ve been tired. I’ve been exasperated. I’ve been beaten down. I’ve been so absolutely hopeless and helpless and out of sorts. I’ve closed my eyes, prayed for the healing of my heart, my husband’s heart, and the heart of every single one of my loved ones who were also in so much pain. It’s been a really tough couple of months. I don’t really know how else to say it. I laid in bed a lot and tried to sleep away the pain. Dreams would take me away for a bit, but when I woke, the aches remained. I felt like we’d be stuck forever.

Right when we both started to see some light at the end of the tunnel, the universe said, “LOL JK!” and threw us another unhittable curveball. We struck out. Over and over and over again.

One Friday night, Jeremiah and I were finally back home. The dust had truly begun to settle, but we weren’t going to say that out loud in fear of a jinx. We cautiously sat in silence and hoped for some respite. There were no more hospitals. No more doctors. Just our humble little house, our vivacious but gentle pup, and our hearts that beat only for each other. We felt hopeful. We felt okay.

Jeremiah went upstairs to go play some guitar, experiment with his new pedals and allow himself to get lost in his creativity that has always left me in awe. I decided to put on Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and let myself enjoy something that I have always loved--Queen B.
As “Formation” started bumping through our speakers, a jolt of energy shot up through my feet. My head was bobbing. My feet were tapping. And I was up off the couch and dancing as Beyonce told me to get in formation. I obliged.

I let myself be free. I let my body be free. I let my heart and my mind and my spirit dance. I let myself feel happy. I let myself feel ease. Life had beaten me down to a pulp, but I was going to dance anyway. My body had battled against me, but I was going to dance anyway. The path that Jeremiah and I had plotted for ourselves didn’t turn out how we expected, but we danced anyway. I needed to get up out of bed and dance anyway. Life may not always be the party that we had hoped for, but we need to dance anyway. And dance we will.