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Mormon Girls can Dance?

November 11, 2010

Okay, so there are a couple of things that you’re gonna have to understand about me before I even start.

1.  Absolutely everything I do is driven by an emotion.

2.  I’m a horseperson.  Or I was.  I’m still a little vague on what I am now.

3.  Whatever I am, I am most certainly not a dancer.  At all.

4.  I’m LDS.

I think I mentioned something at one point about how I was starting to go out Blues Dancing.  Well, I’m still going out dancing, which is exactly why I’m writing this post, because surprisingly enough, dancing has given me a lot to think about.  Disturbing and bizarre, yes?

Well, in the last… I think two months of dancing there have been a lot of bizarre thoughts running through my head.  The main one is brought on by number 4, that I am in fact LDS.  When I was little and still in the pre-dating/dating for fun era of my life, everyone always told me that when I did start dating to be careful with how intimate I got with a guy, because it could lead to BAD things.  And yes, they are very BAD things, but I honestly took that to mean that I wasn’t supposed to do anything at all intimate.  No hugging, no dancing.  Because anything like that would all lead to BAD things.  And certainly no holding hands, cuddling, or kissing.  I still don’t do any of the ones in the second category.

Really though, I was certain that hugging and dancing were both banned by the church for the longest time.  And they’re not.  Far from it, really.  I mean, the church holds dances every month or two or three or whatever for the youth to go out, dance, and get to know each other better.  Purely for fun.  And yet, I think I’ve always been pretty certain that dancing is taboo.  And it took a very brave guy to hug me for the first time.  And then he backed away very quickly, probably thinking that I was going to gut him with my fingernails or something.  Which, all considered, wasn’t too bad of a guess at the time.  I was a sort of nasty, suspicious child.

But dancing?

At the beginning of this semester one of my friends hauled me to a dance, sort of against my will.  Like I said (number 3), I’m not a dancer.  But I LOVED it.  I got to do some swing, one guy taught me a new dip, and it was a lot of fun.  And so later this semester I decided to go to blues dancing with some of my friends.  Oh, and by the by, I don’t dance much like this.  These two have no personal bubbles, and I still do.  I like mine.

My first night I show up with absolutely no clue what I’m doing.  And Blues… well, it’s unlike any kind of dancing I’ve ever done before.  It’s like a down-and-dirty version of swing, if you can imagine that.  And I was pretty sure that my dancing like this was sacriligious.  And of course, somewhere in the course of the night I had two friends sitting on the sidelines discussing how apparently I can move my hips, which didn’t help my sense of shame at all.  But I got home that night, wondering if I had committed a heinous sin.  And I thought and felt and prayed for a minute and came to the conclusion that the answer was “No.”

Fast forward seven weeks.

I’m feeling super depressed.  I go out dancing, wanting to drown my problems out.  Which is just stupid.  First off, Dancing is a very emotional sort of thing, really.  At least for me.  And so going out dancing, which involves emotions?  DUMB!!!!!!  And then second of all, trying to drown out my depression with dancing is like trying to dissolve a boulder in a bathtub in the course of a few hours.  It’s just not gonna work very well.  Sorry, but that’s just how depression is.  If anyone ever tells you that people who are depressed are just feeling sad and that they should get over it, don’t believe them.  Give them a disbelieving look, shake your head, and walk away.

Okay, so you gotta understand, I make the mistake of trying to drown out emotions all the time, and it’s because when I rode horses a little more often than I do now, IT WORKED.  Going out, riding, thinking, and FEELING was okay, safe, I could work through it.  Horses have very complex lymbic systems, as it turns out, and so they are very good at feeling your emotions.  And in the case of depression, they’re not too bothered.  They let you work it out.  But you can’t do that with humans, really.  Or at least I can’t.    With humans I like to keep a barrier emotionally.  There are some things that people don’t need to know about me and my issues, ya know?

Anyhow, long story short, I came home drop dead miserable.  And of course I decide that it must be BECAUSE of dancing.  Dancing must still be a sin or something.  Hey, what can I say, it’s been engrained in my thought process for the last… decade?  Or two?

Sunday rolls around, and I was ecstatic.  I felt absolutely wonderful, and the great thing about FEELING different is that it allows you to THINK differently.

You know that cartoon thing where the character realizes something and a lightbulb goes “Ding!”?  If I had a lightbulb attached to my brain process, that’s exactly what it would have been doing.  And I realized, I had been dancing for the wrong reasons.  I had been expecting dancing to take away the pain, to unload it onto someone else like how I’m sometimes used to doing.  This might be taking it a bit too far, but in a way, it was almost a form of idol worship.  I was putting dancing before everything else, just in an attempt to feel better.

That was why I was miserable.  And that’s why it was stupid.

Here’s the deal.  I don’t know what faith you may be, and I don’t know if it allows dancing.  I don’t know if it allows any hobbies or passions or whatever you want to call it.  But here’s my advice to you if you’re feeling at all conflicted.

Whatever you do, do it for the right reasons.  Don’t do it to stop or change the feelings that you’re having.  I can only think of one person that can do that for you, and that’s Heavenly Father.  Whatever you do, do it because you want to have fun, and because you want to enjoy life and whatever talents or skills that you’ve been blessed with.  Nothing more, because otherwise you’ll be very disappointed.

…..Hee hee hee.

I wonder a little what would happen if some of the people from Blues read this and discovered that I was turning Dance into a lesson?

…Let’s find out!!!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2010 8:18 pm

    oh rivenheart, what a fabulous point—to do whatever you’re going to do for the right reasons! and not expect it to fix or drown or undo anything. so so true, but i never thought of it like that before. a friend of mine was just telling me how a tibetan someone-or-other was having trouble understanding an american someone-or-other who was explaining how Americans feel bad about themselves no matter what they do. yuck. they should read this post. americans. all of ’em. and i was just reading in a john holt book where he’s describing the difference between a job, career and WORK. work is the passion, the thing you’d do if you didn’t need money, that you’d do even if it didn’t pay. and now i read this and… i think it’s all connected!

  2. guy permalink
    November 12, 2010 7:49 am

    Well I tend to shy away from blues whenever you try and drag me along..does that count? I think it’s a nice lesson. How much control do we have over how we feel though? Can it be changed?

  3. November 13, 2010 10:18 am

    guy, i believe we can change our feelings. i don’t believe it’s easy though. there’s some combination of effort, intention, time, reflection and hope that’s needed. imo, a lot of feelings come up as a sort of rerun. i feel things that i started feeling years ago that i don’t want to feel anymore or that don’t fit with who i am now. patterns are a part of life for all of us. they suck, but they’re not made of stone.

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