Last Saturday, Derrick and I won our Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep 3-dance event at the Pre-champ level at the Berkeley Competition. One of these days I'll post some video. I was so happy to be out on the floor competing again that I don't think it would have mattered to me if we didn't even make it past one round, aside from the fact that I wouldn't have been able to dance as much.
From the moment Derrick led me out there, the moment I came out and saw all those unknown faces, I felt perfectly at ease. And for the first time in a while, I had moments of real dancing - when it's only the music and your partner and momentum and movement. Every improvement we make feels so darn good, I think about those highest level dancers and think to myself "for them, it's a feeling of "goodness" that I may never even know."
The days stretch longer now, like my consciousness into the world. The delicate blossoms of cherry trees clinging to bare branches like white and pink foam. Where did it fall from? How did I now see it? But then I open my eyes again, and the slow growth on the hedges catches me, those new green shoots poking out. Spring in California always comes early. I catch what moments I can that belong only to me, and they feel full and generous.
In some days that feeling of emptiness clings back, for moments they take my breath, but I push through and feel more alive for them.
What is this life? Where each day is joy and a complexity of emotions in work and dance and friendship and love that I don't know how to deal with. And with these, I revel, and I look forward. Everything seems so unknown all of a sudden. My paths blur but it's a lovely patchwork of colors, and I rise toward it eagerly.
In my classes, I am making relationships, people who I know by name and who I would feel OK asking for a ride home from. In my new dance partner, I've found a friend who makes me feel completely comfortable and who laughs at all my stupidest weirdness. Being in that place reminds me of BLAST, and the other day I thought: Wouldn't it be lovely to have an apartment with a hardwood floor for dancing? Only to realize.. who would come dance on it? There are people I'd like to invite to dance on my floor, but do I know them well enough? And what social dancers do I know here? Would we all just have to do silly ballroom dances on that tiny square of wood?
I've been expanding my world, too. I read more non-fiction. I read Time and Fortune cover-to-cover, my brother loaned me a book on investing and I read it all the way through (it was very readable :o). I read my textbook and devour it, I skip over book with no substance, bored. My life moves faster.
My friends move forward with their lives. I stand apart again. Today on my way back from a department-wide meeting, I found myself purposely taking the longer route, simply so I could walk alone, and I remembered that feeling with yearning. Walking by the lake alone, or through downtown. Why must I insist on feeling like I have to always include people in my wanderings? I always come back to that one quote my professor said to me after my time in New York, that writers are by nature observers. We write because we love to find some scene that touches us, let it caress our minds, and then step out to watch it and to record. After many years, I find that I move much more easily in and out than I remember.
And I'm stronger now. When I was a child I would look back on situations and wonder over and over again "what could I have said differently? Why did I feel powerless or so complicit there?" And I still feel that way, but when I do I instantly know. These times are so rare, and now I know to tell myself "You're stronger than that, learn and move along." What a beautiful feeling that is, to be able to reflect on something without second-guessing myself.
I've stopped looking at my life as a means to get to somewhere else. At least in dance and work, I feel so strong where I am, that I can only enjoy every single moment. And now, off to clean my room (I'm still trying to make my organizational skills strong) and then to spend time with my mom and myself.