Dancing On My Own
A few years ago, on a freezing cold morning after a somewhat debaucherous Halloween night, I walked to a Tim Horton’s with a man I was dating. I had spent the night at his house and, so, was still clad in my costume from the night before. Outside of the context of the Halloween party we had been at, I felt completely on display and wildly self-conscious in my short skirt and bodysuit. On our way out of the coffee shop I attracted a particularly invasive stare from a man standing in the doorway. The man I was dating quickly noticed, stepped out in front of me and gave the other man a few choice words. In that moment, I felt like my heart grew three sizes, because it was the first time in my life that I didn’t have to handle a situation like that alone.
I’ve been ‘dancing on my own’ for quite some time now and I’m getting pretty good at it if I do say so myself. I earned two degrees in competitive programs at a tough university. I drive my career towards opportunities that will not only pay the bills but, also, allow me to grow, learn and feel happy and fulfilled. I show up for work everyday and perform to the best of my abilities and I do my utmost to show up for my friends and family in the same way whenever they need me. I go home to a space that I decorated and maintain. I can hang up a painting, change a light bulb and put together furniture. I cook and I clean for myself. I generally eat well and take care of my body. I go out with my friends, I buy my own drinks and I know my own limits. I handle unwanted advances and I get myself home safe.
I’ve never had a partner to do these things for me. It’s not something I am accustomed too. So, while I’m sure the man I was seeing at the time is completely unaware, that short and seemingly insignificant moment in our relationship on that cold November morning was actually anything but insignificant to me. Because, although I am more than capable of taking care of myself, there are no shortage of moments where I wish I didn’t always have to.
My love life has consisted of a handful of very brief, but extremely meaningful ‘almost relationships’. I’ve never brought anyone home to meet my family, I’ve never been on vacation with a significant other or made a commitment to be faithful to someone and I’ve never called a man my boyfriend. In our deceivingly small city I have, however, on many occasions, had to swallow my pride and politely shake the hands of the women who would take those steps with the men who would never take them with me.
Few things in my life have felt more painful than those moments, I won’t lie … but I have to wonder if maybe those steps were taken with her because she wants something different than what I want …
Because, yes, it may be true that there are nights when I want nothing more than to go to dinner with you and fall asleep beside you, there are times when I want to call you after a bad day, there are holidays I would like to spend with you and family events I would love to share with you …
... but ... there are so many other things that I don’t want.
... I don’t want to wait weeks for you to set up a date. I don’t want to wait hours and hours for you to respond to a message. I don’t want to have to lie to my friends and family about your poor behavior so that they continue to approve of our relationship. I don’t want to be disappointed when you break your promises. I don’t want to lay beside you and feel alone. I don’t want your words to make me feel anything other than worthy, loved and unstoppable and I don’t want to feel anything other than beautiful when your gaze falls on me. I don’t want to wonder who that girl on Instagram is. I don’t want to have to post a smiling picture of us to assure myself that we are happy. I don’t want to fight for your attention or have to work to convince you that I am worthy of your time, your energy, your effort, your honesty and your respect.
You should already know that.
So, until I am sure that you bring all of what I do want into my life and none of what I don’t, I will take care of myself.
I'll keep dancing on my own ….
… and if you care to join me, I suggest you bring your A-Game.