Some weeks ago I went to the calisthenics park and encountered a teacher who had given me one handstand class nearly a year ago. I approached him "Hi Mateo, you won't remember me but a long time ago you gave me one handstand class and the pointers were great, it really improved my game". He said thank you, where did I give you the class? Report Fitness, I answered. "Oh, I bought the gym (with the help of a crowdfunding campaign) and will re-open it on June 3rd. You are invited to come".
The invitation enticed me a lot. I like these kind of parties, nightclub-like settings with non-nightclub people. In Mexico, and I suppose in many parts of the world, it is poor etiquette to arrive solo as a guy, so supposedly I was keeping an eye on who I could invite to this party. Weeks flew by and I didn't meet anyone. Yesterday, the day of the party, I decided that if I was going to arrive solo, I might as well arrive with two bottles of wine under the arm. I was also missing attire appropriate for the event, so I went to Lululemon to buy cringe athleisurewear because I wanted something I could wear to both the gym and the party.
I went back home to change and found that I had taken the wrong shirt size, and now I was stuck with an oversized expensive shirt or an old regular t-shirt to go to the party. I decided to go with the expensive shirt and try to change it the next day for my correct size.
When I arrived, the venue was closed. I checked Instagram and saw a notice regarding the opening: it was delayed two weeks. And here I was, carrying two bottles of wine dressed in an expensive shirt, quite bummed out that my plans for Saturday night had fizzled out. As I biked back home I thought "I'm tired anyways, I'll just smoke a joint and go to bed". I left my bike at the bixi station and smoked while I made my way home.
Weed sometimes (ok, most of the time) giddy's me up, so when I got home I thought "well, who knows, I might just find something fun to do" and I went into Facebook events, which I normally don't use to seek events, and I found something that was made just for me: a free dance party, part of a dance and theater festival, which was meant to loosen your hips and beginner friendly. I packed one the bottles of wine in a backpack and made my way to the party.
It was not what I expected. The place was like a regular bar, and a lot of people were outside chatting. I went inside and found a lot of people on the dance floor. I had a moment of panic, "oh no this is way too much for me", so I went outside to collect myself.
Many times people have asked me if I'm afraid of anything. I always reply half-heartedly that I'm afraid of people, but it's not a true phobia, it's just shyness. Yesterday I discovered I have phobia of dancing in public, I just didn't know because all my life I had hid under the pretense of "not liking to dance". I definitely felt fear yesterday, and I experienced it because I was going to dance, whereas if I didn't have this resolve, I wouldn't have experienced fear.
I hung out at the edge of the dancefloor, hovering along with the dudes who do that too. I felt sympathy, it's like seeing kids playing but not knowing how to play, or even how to ask being invited to play. I thought "this is too much for me, I need a glass of wine to loosen up". And so I went outside, walked to the corner, and served myself a full glass of wine.
I bought an inexpensive Spanish Valdepeñas tempranillo. It was hideous, the kind that costs 1.5 euro back in Spain. I downed my liquid courage quickly, and made my way back to the dance floor. I awkwardly crossed it a pair of times, then I decided to just dance alone in the middle. It was good and pleasant, between the wine and the dance I had loosened up.
I approached a group that was dancing in a circle, I looked into the center were people were taking turns dancing. I tried replicating their moves. It was interesting, all this exercise has done wonders for my mobility, balance and coordination, but I still lack rhythm. A guy from the circle invited me in, his wife encouraging me. "I'm shy and I don't know how to dance" I said, and immediately felt shame for saying it, the lady replied "You're not shy!" which resonated in a spiritual way, which is to say I understood the truth behind her words. There is something in me which is afraid of being embarrassed, but I am not a shy person.
I danced with this group for a while. I was plenty of fun, and I felt welcome. At a certain point the music was not to my taste and I came back into my usual state of being. I looked around me and I saw two women, one of them looking at me as she was speaking to her friend. I understand the irrationality of this feeling, but it felt like they were making fun at my dancing, then another part of me said "no, nobody minds you, she was just looking in your direction as she was talking to her friend", but I was taken over by brash shelf-consciousness and I decided to take a break, go back outside to catch some fresh air and reset myself.
Once outside I thought "this is not progress because I have to alter my state of consciousness in order to have the courage to do what I'm doing, so there is no learning in this. I might as well go home and try dancing sober some other day". I lamented having smoked weed, but then a thought circled back "hey, if I hadn't smoked, I wouldn't be here" and I was very glad to have come even if it was uncomfortable in the extreme.
I made my way back home with all these ambiguous feelings, and today I woke up a little bit depressed. If I'm too drunk I harass girls, if I'm too sober I shy away. As I write this I recall another feeling I had yesterday: what we call pain and pleasure are actually lessons and enjoyment. There is pain in learning because learning involves moving outside your comfort zone. In the end I've made progress in my lessons, and this is enough.