Do you ever have those relatively brief experiences that seem to summarize your whole life, or a larger aspect of it? I just did last Friday when I went swing dancing.
I think it can be argued that the most popular song from High School Musical 3 was Can I Have This Dance, and yes, I’m being pathetic and listening to it right now… Anyway, I read the title aloud and grin, because I can practically hear Jared’s [most appropriate] retort – “I don’t know; can you?”
Story of my love life. It’s some strange combination of heartening, amusing, bewildering, and exasperating to consider where I’ve been, as witnessed to by certain blog posts, such as my Logic Behind Love posts, stuff on non-negotiables, etc.
There has been no shortage of [admittedly very attractive] dancers on the floors I’ve been constantly moving through, but though I’ve been asked for a number of dances over the past few years – one friend very exaggeratedly described me as having, quote, “turned down every guy at Cincinnati State” – my answer has ever echoed with Jared’s retort.
Can I dance? Friends have said that I can; I didn’t really believe it, and I still don’t when it comes to modern whatever; I am so lost. But what I discovered when I went swing dancing last Friday was that I can swing dance, provided I have a partner who can lead. That doesn’t make me an expert, but I discovered that I can follow, without too much hesitation, and certainly without reserve. Muscle memory does not equal mindless. Perfect practice makes perfect does not mean an endpoint of exceptional skill coupled with zero effort. Always moving forward, you can’t stop and ask the band to play a song over or go through a sequence of steps again; if you stumble, you run with it, try to make it work with the bigger picture, and keep going.
There’s always room for improvement, right? Perfection is a journey, not an endpoint. There’s a reason I’m not married yet, or even in a relationship leading up to it, and I keep telling myself it’s because there is yet something about me that I need to improve before I am ready for marriage. Sometimes I say it with a smile, sometimes a sigh, sometimes a little growl and grimace in the mirror. I won’t pretend that I’m always patient, or that this is easy and fun and makes me crazy happy to be waiting around, or that I don’t occasionally mutter under my breath that Prince Charming’s taking his d*mn time and wonder rather grouchily where on earth he is and what he’s waiting for. But then, I’ve no intention of dancing with someone who can’t dance, or only means to dance for a little while, or dances half-heartedly like they’re just waiting for it to be over. So I wait. For all I know, when he sees me for the first time, he’ll see someone who can’t dance and will be equally frustrated. So I try to grow.
I sincerely hope that when he does find me, while I’m taking extreme relief in the fact that he can dance – that he can lead me – he will be finding that I can follow, with some occasional uncertainty and hiccups, but ultimately without reserve, unhampered by unrealistic honeymoonish daydreams of complete compatibility and absolutely zero conflict 110% of the time, ready and willing to keep movingforward and making it work. I think I can dance, once He hands me the right partner… Can I have this dance? I dunno; can I?
Swing dancing, anyone?