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the spice of life

Published on December 24, 2017

The cats behind me in the living room are in fine form, alternately chasing each other around and wrestling. As long as they don’t bother the pile of presents circumscribing the tree, they’re OK.

The only time I was ever told I was a good dancer was at a wedding reception in downtown Raleigh sometime in mid-2005, just before I moved to Winston-Salem. I had had quite a lot of champagne, and probably shouldn’t have driven back to Chapel Hill after the event… But as far as the dancing is concerned, I think I must’ve just gotten lucky; I can’t imagine what I did that might have provoked that compliment from Heather, my date. Whatever the case, my momentary skill certainly wasn’t connected to any amount of practice, since I hadn’t been to a club (and still, to this day, haven’t—don’t ask me how I made it through my 20s without experiencing that). At Mark’s wedding a couple of years prior, I remember talking with Michael, his best man, during a long drive about the psychology of dancing, and I probably exasperated him with my overanalysis. His perspective on it was that it was a matter of being confident, but that didn’t help; it seemed—and still seems—like something of a catch-22: How am I supposed to be confident at something I’m not good at? And how can I become good at something that no one wants to do with me before I acquire that confidence? The answer, I think, is that like with so many other things, some folks stumble upon the answer, and the rest are left to grope in the dark or avoid the activity entirely. The richer become richer, and the poor…well, you know the rest.

The only time I’ve lost sleep over it, in a manner of speaking, was during our trip to France in 2004, when the rest of the group wanted to go clubbing in Paris as an alternative to my stick-in-the-mud leading of everyone around the more tourist-y attractions of the city. That’s when my insecurity reared its ugly head and I had a mini-meltdown here in my journal. Other than that…the activity exists on the very fringes of my experience, and I’m fine with that.

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