“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand. It stops us from taking anything for granted. ”
— Madeleine L’Engle, “The Summer of the Great-grandmother”
One Friday night, probably eleven years ago, when I was a sweet, young thing of forty-six, my then-husband and I went out dancing.
We were going through a rough patch and I was feeling reckless so I grabbed ahold of a support beam out on the dance floor and started doing some kind of shake your booty, pole dance.
I know this is probably a disturbing image for quite a few of you and I’ll try and wipe that picture out of your mind before I’m done here, but I seriously can bust some moves.
Anyway, my then-husband asked me, “Why aren’t you like this all the time?”
I don’t think he literally wanted me pole dancing all the time (although, maybe he did). The question was more about why aren’t you always this person who takes risk? Who is uninhibited? And adventurous? And exciting to be with?
The thing is, when you feel like your world is ending, you stop caring about making a fool out of yourself. And I knew my then-husband wasn’t happy with me. As control slips away, some people grab for the string before it rises out of reach.
And some of us pole dance.
Or we wonder if perhaps this will make a good story someday.
Or we swear a lot.
Or we do all three.
Eventually, we still got divorced. My ex’s take on things was that although I gave it my best try to change, I always drifted back to who I truly was – in his view – someone who was cautious, withdrawn, exhausted, and unhappy.
I thought he was right. I hated this person that I, myself, could not find a way to walk away from.
But then this year, I realized that once again, I felt like I had nothing left to lose.
Not because I had lost everything but because I no longer cared about trying to make things remain the same.
I know I can’t control the feelings or actions of others. I’m no longer willing to try to be someone for someone else.
I no longer have the energy (I never really did) to desperately try to read people and give them what they want.
I can’t make people love me. And no matter how good things are today, I know things can change.
And that’s okay.
I’m not the same person every day.
But I’m pretty much the same at the core.
And that core, can still bust some serious moves.
I bet you can too.