Sep 24, 2007

~ Dancing around the Issue(s)?! ~

This is another quandary that is very near to my heart (and my mind). This subject has come up many times and in many ways and continually frustrates me. The first section is a selection from an email sent to me by a sister in Christ. The second section is my response. I have done minimal editing, mostly to protect identities (other than myself, obviously). I am posting it in the hopes of getting some constructive feedback and analysis. I am truly interested in digging deep and figuring this out. Sometimes in life it takes an outsider’s perspective to truly understand… sometimes there are just mysteries we must learn to deal with. Thus, I now leave you to read and respond.


Email to me (selection – in context of encouraging me to return to the dance studio)

hey, just wanted to apologize for making you uncomfortable ---. w/most people, a little encouragement/convincing works. You're not most people. I'd forgotten that till after the fact. It was interesting though. I felt like I was looking in a mirror of myself --- ago. I've changed a lot since I started dancing.Yet there are a couple of key differences. 1) you were willing to try it before you decided it wasn't for you. and 2) expected gender roles: it's a lot easier to say "ok" , than "would you like to dance?"that aside, it was good to see you, and I'm glad you're feeling better!God bless!


My response to the above email (selection)

Hey, no apology needed, seriously. You are right, I am not most people. Generally, if I make up my mind, it is hard to sway me. However, I have not completely given up on dance, so it was not unwarranted. Further, you did not make me feel uncomfortable at all. I would not have talked about it if I were uncomfortable with the subject. I realize that I am being complex here, but I am not at all uncomfortable talking about this with you and ---… I trust you both as sisters in Christ. Beyond this, I am a very bold person in most circumstances. For whatever reason, talking about these things falls in that category and I would have no trouble talking about it with most people (though of course a little more guarded than with you two). However, asking someone to dance falls into the not-so-bold category. I have analyzed the heck out of this and can’t make any sense of it myself. I have ranged from calling myself prideful to shameful… still can’t figure it out. I think the bottom line is that I have never dated, I was raised by a single woman, and I’ve had tons of female friends. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but I simply don’t know how to “be” with women that I don’t have some sort of friendship with (except in the formal polite sense). I have always either been friends, or it was just some stranger. Further, if I am not friends with a girl, I am in this constant paradox (as a single male) of wondering if there might be something there and not wanting to needlessly lead someone on. From there, how to get to know someone that you don’t have any sort of relationship with, in order to see if there is anything at all, without being the typical “seminary creep.” Knowing (believing?) this still doesn’t help figure out the “whys.” A further paradox then becomes the fact that I enjoy dance and desire to learn more (though time is really limited) and yet, with the above, it seems much easier to wait until I meet someone and then at least I would just have one primary dance partner, thus eliminating the weirdness. This then leads me to yet another paradox in which the question becomes how do you meet someone if you are not “out” (b/c seminary seems impossible in this sense). As you can see, I end up in a logical spiral.

On top of all of the above, I don’t know enough dance to feel at all confident in just dancing. I always feel that I am boring and irritating anyone that I am with because I barely know the basics, much less anything to actually make it interesting. I know women like strong leaders and want to have fun. How can I lead if I don’t really know how to dance? Thus, to me, I am getting in the way of their enjoyment of the evening. Thus, I end up leaning against the wall bored to death and very uncomfortable (and upset with myself for being in this logical hold). Even still, I do believe that the time I have spent at the dance studio has been good for me and I have changed, at least a little, for the better (and made some great friends). Also, I am not saying that I will not come anymore. But, at least at this time, I keep running into the “brick wall” above. Also, at other dance studios (the few times I’ve been to another one), it has not been an issue at all because people are just paired up by nature of the class, thus no weird stress. Yet between time and not knowing anyone, I really don’t want to try the others. Further, I realize that I am technically addressing two separate things, but they are connected.

The most interesting / perplexing thing of all, is how polar opposite this area is to every other area of my life. If I am given authority or a job to do, I have zero problem leading and I am extremely bold. Perhaps this is also a clue… but again, I can’t figure it out.

Finally, I realize this is WAY more than you asked for (especially since you didn’t ask for anything :), but you, ---, ---, and several others have been after me to come back and I just feel that I owe you guys an honest and complete answer (at least as much as I am able to give). Also, I sincerely appreciate you acknowledging the two differences you mentioned. Though they are not mountains, they are true and it seems few acknowledge the second.

Hopefully I am making some semblance of sense here and this does not sound like aimless rambling ;-)

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