I’m in the kitchen with the window half open, doing the washing up and dancing my arse off. When I say window, I mean hatch of a narrow boat that is moving along while I can see the well-trodden tow path in front of me changing – yet very similar – in front of me. Which means anyone walking by could spy my very badly coordinated attempt at dancing. But it’s a Monday morning and I’ll take my chances. I sort of want to embarrass myself by seeing someone – maybe they’d dance with me temporarily?
Embarrassing myself isn’t something on the whole, I take too seriously; I happily walked into my office (importantly, a public health department) and announced that I’d just been to the sexual health clinic and here was my ‘review’. OK so perhaps I wouldn’t have done that if there wasn’t someone in the room who had some say in how this service was being run, but I got a bit of a kick out of perhaps shocking people that I would be that open about it. As with cancer screening, Googling if eating avocados makes you ‘posh’ and signing up for but never going to a gym, these are things that just happen in life.
When I was online dating (tick box for another perceived embarrassment) I messaged a tonne of guys. I was told that men generally did the messaging but fuck that. One guy had a line on his profile about wanting ‘two person dance parties’. I instantly loved this idea; as someone who’s happy to have a boogie but feels staying up until 2am to do this is not worth the sleep deprivation or inevitable hangover. He was one of the many who either messages back with ‘no thanks’ or (more often), didn’t message back at all. There seems to be this myth that if women do the messaging, they’ll definitely get a positive response so I want to assure any blokes out there who aren’t getting replies; IT HAPPENS TO WOMEN TOO. I kept thinking about this dance party despite the lack of romantic interest, and clung onto the ‘two people’ aspect of it.
At about this time I was starting to go into the chronic phase of my migraine condition and any kind of dance party seemed off the cards, even though I was still desperately trying to date, and find that second person enigma. One day I was having a better health day and standing (in my house still) in my kitchen (what is it with kitchens being inspirational for dancing?!), and decided to put on my favourite playlist. Within moments I was dancing away, even if it was just shaking my hips while I washed up, or needing some dough. I realised I was having a one person dance party, and just maybe, this was better than the two person one I’d been searching for.
Now, while living on the boat with Tom (more on finding my second person here) and in each other’s pockets, I don’t get much chance to think about having a one person dance party. Tom and I occasionally have two person ones and that’s great but it’s like I’d found something just for myself, and I want to hold onto that. So today, while Tom is busy listening to podcasts about something physics-related (I’ll pass, thanks) at the back of the boat, I can recapture my joy for a solo boogie. More often than not I won’t have the energy but today I’ll risk the embarrassment returning to the memory that I can do this by myself. Maybe you don’t want or can’t have a one person dance party but you have your own version. Don’t lose it. Hold onto, and embrace it in sickness and in health, with or without your ‘second person’. All else my seem lost, but no one can take this from you.
Ashes to dust
As they turn to rust;
Traffic light trees
With autumn leaves
More leaves to remember