Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Time to Dance

Last night I went to dance event on campus. Dance events on campus have been a bit tough for me lately, for a variety of reasons. About a month ago, I showed up to a pre-Ball event. I got there near the beginning, and when I walked in Graham was just about the only person I knew. He and I shared a couple of fun dances, but afterwards I felt all the awkardness of being in a large public place, surrounded by people I don't know or care about, yet feeling completely and utterly alone. I went up to the balcony, where I proceeded to cry for the next hour and a half, off and on.

Tali and K. came to sit with me for some of that time, as did Tpiglette and the Eggman. As I stared down at the dancers below me, I felt as if there were a barrier just at the balcony's edge - a wall of glass, or a window to another world. I could see through it to the people around me, but I couldn't touch them. I could see them laughing, having fun, enjoying the dance, but I could not make myself cross that border and join them. Others could join me in my world, but I couldn't reach them in theirs. I felt trapped; I felt isolated by my own depression.

You can imagine that after such an experience I might be nervous to attend another such event. The next time one was scheduled, I was there only briefly, mostly to help teach the pre-dance class. But I left pretty early.

Then last night I decided to brave the studio again, in the hopes of a better time. And you know what? I got one. I think my three-hour nap beforehand helped quite a bit, as did a pleasant dinner with Reda before driving over together. When I got there, I saw many people I knew, and enjoyed many fun dances with many friends. I also greatly enjoyed watching Reda, Tali, K., and some other friends in their dance group's performance, which combined two-step, hip hop, and belly dancing. And maybe best of all, A. - the original and gold standard in teaching assistants in the social dance community - attended, and she and I got to have a lovely chat together.

Throughout the night, I was excited by how normal I felt. Not by any sort of global expectation of normal, but by my own standards. I felt like me again, and it reminded me that there really was a time when this depression was not my life. I used to have fun, and laugh, and smile, and hang out with friends, and sad times used to be the exception from the rule. And I saw, maybe for the first time, a very real possibility that I could be like that again.

All in all, it was a good night. And it gave me hope. And sometimes, hope is hard to come by.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good reason to celebrate... You should treat yourself to something wonderful and just for you!

Anonymous said...

You, my darling, as are normal as they come. Who defines normal anyway? ;) So glad you had a good time.

Still Jill B said...

Sounds good, and YEAH for feeling like you fit for even the briefest of moments (hold it in your heart, in case you need to pull it out as a reminder, later).

CC said...

That is wonderful =D I'm glad that dance was uplifting for you this time around.

Anonymous said...


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

You and Emily Dickinson have something in common. She, too, knew that hope was sometimes hard to come by, yet always mysteriously just within reach:


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Anonymous said...

My heart is smiling today for you.

Amanda said...

I think people like you, women like you, put a lot of hope into the world with your fressh voice and incredible energy. I hope you are able to find hope for yourself a little more often in the days and months to come.

I cannot wait to read your post on Friday for the Blog Exchange!

Lara said...

tense teacher - i think going out dancing was treating myself, in a way. so let's check that off the list. though i suppose i could always treat myself again... ;)

aly - i say you and i define normal. everyone else is just weird.

jill b - yep, i'm planning to hold on to the memory of that feeling for a long time.

CC - i'm glad i got to see you at the dance, too. i'm already looking forward to the next jammix in 2.5 weeks. :)

franz - you can say that again!

california teacher guy - ah, good ol' em. you found one of the few poems she wrote that's not about death. ;) but thank you for reminding me of it. it's a beautiful thought.

mom - smile away. :)

amanda - aw, shucks. you are too, too good to me. and yeah, that post... it's really got me a bit stumped. should be interesting, though! and i'm looking forward to yours, too!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I know that feeling. Like you've come up for air and you can suddenly breathe for a while. I wish you more moments like these...

Lara said...

crystal - YES, exactly. i plan to keep having more moments like this as i heal with time. i'm keeping the memory of this one fresh to give me hope.