Yesterday I worked all day in the apartment. I skipped the gym and went to yoga only in the evening. As I biked back home I felt an immense tiredness, every turn of the wheel seemed to extract an effort me, whereas biking usually feels like gliding. I felt down and under and unwilling to go to a second dancing party.
Working at home I glanced at the clock: 10:15pm, the party started 15 minutes ago. Perhaps I should go. Groan. There's disagreement in my inner council: a part of me wants to go, another part of me wants to stay home. I ask the part that wants to stay home "why?" and it answers: I'm tired and what you're asking from me takes a lot of energy.
It's not that I was physically depleted. Even though my body felt tired, it was my mind which was making it tired because I had only done around ⅓ of my usual daily exercise. What this part of me was expressing is the lack of vital energy to participate joyfully in the act of dancing.
I tried cutting a deal with myself: I would go, but I wouldn't try to get anything out of it, that is: I wouldn't try talking or dancing with girls, I wouldn't try to avoid looking like a loser by dancing at the edge of the dancefloor, I would just be there to dance with myself. Then my protesting inner part agreed and I jumped on a bixi to the venue in UQAM.
This time the dance floor was less intimidating, but I still don't know how to break into it. It's a mass of people dancing, but they all seem to be dancing with other people. I may go inside and dance alone but I feel awkward. I went outside for some fresh air and came back to sit down on some benches along the dance floor.
I watched people dance, flaneur-wise it was all immensely interesting, people from all walks of life, possessing the most varied abilities at dance, but sharing a kind of enthusiasm for moving their body were dancing away. And here I was, at the edge, looking at people have fun.
This seems to be a pattern in my life. I once read a description of the experience of life by a person who had sexual trauma in their childhood, and it resonated: "I feel like I am observing life through a glass, I can see what people are doing and enjoying, but I can't join in, I can only look from the other side", and here I was looking through the glass pane.
Eventually the rhythm got into me and started getting mini-gyrations in my torso and my shoulders began moving, all while sitting down. After a while of this I stood up and danced. A lady with very good moves danced alone in front of me, we made eye contact and smiled. I said I was a beginner at dancing but I thought she danced so cool, I asked her to show me a simple move. She showed me how to move my feet, we smiled again and then drifted apart.
As I grew comfortable moving my body I loosened up and shook my hips to the best of my ability. When too much sweat was dripping from my face I would go out for some fresh air. In one of those excursions to the patio, a guy who had come close to me in the dance floor but I ignored came and sat down next to me, after saying hello to some friends who were next to me. We made eye contact and he looked away. I thought it was all super awkward and I was giddy from dancing, and on a whim I told him "hey man I just wanted to tell you I'm not gay but we can chat if you want" and he as like "what?" and then I said "Oh sorry I thought you were hitting on me" and we had good laugh about it. It was obvious he was not gay either and I had completely misread the situation, but somehow this memory has zero embarrassment, it was a good opening line. We chatted a little bit about the festival (the party was the closing ceremony of a dance and theater festival), about Mexico, and then I said I was going back to the dancefloor. I explained that I used to hate dancing, but then I started doing yoga, discovered I could move my hips, then I discovered that moving your hips feels nice, and here I was to shake them. He said "Oh so you're all stiff trying to dance and it almost hurts but then you discovered you could move your hips!"--"yes exactly!" and we had a good laugh because we knew what each other was talking about.
At around 2am I decided I had had enough. It was an amazing night for me, full of little inconsequential details but somehow these details make the design. As I biked back home I realized: if someone invited me to dance two months ago I would have said no. If someone invited me to dance two weeks ago, I would have begrudgingly accepted. If someone invited me to dance tomorrow, I would enthusiastically agree to it.
It's all so strange for me. My aversion to dancing is well known in my family and friends, and to myself. The origins of this aversion I'll write up at some point, for today I'll leave it here. Today there is a different music festival, Francos de Montreal, I will go explore this dancing thing again tonight, if that part of me that protests dancing allows it.