This introvert decided to dance. In public. Sober.
It was about 8 years ago when I saw a local meetup group for a 5 Rhythms dance. I read that it is a form of Ecstatic Dance, which is free style, continuous dancing. There are no damn “steps” or moves , you just let your body lead the way. Perfect for me. Except that I was terrified. I stopped drinking in ‘98 because that shit almost killed me. Back when I drank, I would numb myself really well before I would attempt to dance. Without alcohol...how ? Fuck it, I thought, just go and stand in a corner and check it out. So I did. Thankfully it was dark. It was in a big old warehouse and they had decorated it with colorful soft lighting, for which I was grateful. I found a corner as I passed some blissed out happy hippies who actually smiled at me! I smiled back! Pretty soon I was swaying...swirling...dancing! This was a place I could feel safe from judgement (mostly- there’s always a few) , a place to jump out of my self imposed prison. I have gained a little confidence (not much, but some), ...enough so , that last week I had something wonderful happen. I was at the local Ecstatic Dance and made eye contact with a weird guy who was giving me a very judgemental expression... I mean it was so exaggerated!!.., I had to check my forehead to see if I had grown a horn or something! Ha! I just burst out laughing!! It felt so good to laugh at that face he was giving me! He had looked away by then, so I doubt he even knew how hard I was laughing. The thing is, just a few years ago, that judgy face would have sent me into a tailspin. For real. I have overcome a lot of trauma, still working on it, forever and always, but I do believe that I have made some progress. I am still laughing!!
WOW. Really a powerful message. I live in Vancouver, BC where every Saturday there is a similar dance. Low lights, world music, no alcohol or drugs and dance the way the spirit moves you. I love it, I did ballroom dance before but love the freedom to just go with your own beat and feel of the moment. I can completely relate to your experience.