I’ve got a secret to tell. Nope, it has nothing to do with blogging this time. It’s not about writing. It’s a secret about me.
It’s one I’ve been hiding most of my life, and one which, when I’ve shared it with a handful of others before, I got a lot of flack for.
Ready? Here’s the secret:
I don’t know how to dance.
Yep. I loved singing in the band, loved playing guitar for the brief time I did so, but one part of music I never caught onto? Dancing.
Oh, when I was in my twenties, I hit the nightclubs. Oh yeah. I did the alcohol-fueled attempt to pick up girls (I stink at that too, by the way). I watched the gyrating bodies, the flailing limbs, the grinding hips. I was the starer, the one observing everything from a table, getting happily and quietly buzzed with the music pumping, pounding, smashing around me. My friends all got to dance, and knew what to do when they did. I never got anyone to dance with me, and when I did, I had no idea what to do. My best friend tried to tell me to talk to the girl, but that was … weird. What am I supposed to say? Where should I be looking? Should I be trying to … I dunno … imitate others? I ended up blushing and slinking away to my seat again, staring into my whiskey sour and wondering how the heck I should act.
It started early, I think. Sixth grade, maybe eighth. I don’t know. But somewhere back there, school dances became a reality. And I froze up when it came time to ask someone to dance, and wouldn’t budge when a girl asked me to (!). I just … couldn’t move out there. Incredible shyness, the most intense case of introversion you’ve ever seen (I can almost guarantee it), and soda bottle-bottom glasses and bad teeth amounted to one nerdy, awkward, uncomfortable-in-his-own-skin kid. So the social act of dance is never learned, never practiced, never mastered and eventually set aside and forgotten.
When I finally got comfortable with someone – in a long-term relationship – I’d be able to dance with them. I don’t remember how that felt and don’t want to know what it looked like, but it was long ago. The last dancing I did was in the living room of my (now) wife’s house while we dated, to her favorite songs.
I just never learned to cut loose, let go, be free to move around and wiggle on the dance floor with other normal, comfortable-with-themselves people. I’ve seen a lot of gawky albatross-like floundering on many, many dance floors, but they still got out there and shook it. I have to salute that. I’m always too shy, too reserved, and too … well, uncomfortable to do it.
I wonder, from time to time, if that shyness, that reservation, holds me back in my writing as well. I’m too nervous to write the things which make me squirm, make me blush, make me uncomfortable for whatever reason.
How about you? Is there something about you which holds you back in life, in creative endeavors, in general? Or are you free to just get up there with all the other normals and shake your booty?
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