The last time I was on a dance floor, moving freely, soaking up the energy of a crowd, with no concern for my personal space, was on Saturday, March 7, 2020. It was a reunion of a tribe of club-goers from the 80s and 90s. DJs we have known for decades played all the music we learned, loved and danced to years ago. There were near and dear old friends, and so very many people we recognized, felt connected to, but barely knew at all.
At that time there were only one or two recorded cases of Covid-19 in our tri-state area. We had no idea what was heading our way. So we moved together, and laughed; brushed up against each other, and hugged; kissed cheeks, and had close conversations over the music, speaking and breathing directly into each other’s ears.
We were packed in so tight. I think we probably violated the fire code. I couldn’t dance as wildly as I like to, but I did my best to take up as much space as I could and really let loose.
That was the last time that I felt free. Joyful, unencumbered and free.
I miss that freedom. I miss all of the other feelings that come along with that freedom. For me, nothing compares to the soul-cleansing release that I get when I completely let go of all pretense of control, and jump around like a maniac, to loud thumping bass, in a roomful of music-minded people.
In an effort to grab onto some sliver of that freedom, I recently turned the music up loud and started to dance around the house. Not the usual, slow, swaying in the kitchen kind of dancing. I was really dancing, wildly, freely, flailing my arms, shaking my head. I closed my eyes, loudly singing, imagining a dark, crowded room. Just as I felt the release valve clicking in my soul, the tears started streaming down my face.
I realized that I’ve been mostly holding it together, closely and tightly, for the past ten months. I haven’t been allowing myself to really and truly move around freely and let go of the underlying tension in my body, for fear of the deluge of emotion.
This has been a long year of trying to hold things tightly together in the face of great loss. Along with the loss of family members, neighbors, and my very best friend, there has been so much other loss all around me. Acquaintances, local community members, and people in the extended dance tribe that I didn’t really know, but whose faces (or more likely, whose dance moves) I could pick out of the crowd. The tribe is getting smaller.
I don’t know when this will end or how many more members we will lose, but I do know that the next time we dance together there will be more empty spaces on the dance floor. And there will be tears. Bawling. I will likely bawl, and possibly wail.
I sure hope we dance together again.
And here’s the earworm for this post by Ultravox