When I was nine, my mom had to sit me down and ever-so-gently explain to me why it wasn't physically possible for me to be a dancer. Looking back, it's kind of laughable that I ever thought I could be, what with my birth defects and disabilities and everything and knowing all that came in the years after that conversation, but call it the naïveté of a child.
Because I bought a ticket to the Sway meet and greet back in December, I was automatically put on an email list. Most of the events in the emails, I haven't been able to attend because I couldn't afford it, but tonight, every dance studio in the Dance With Me family was hosting a premiere party to celebrate the new season of Dancing with the Stars. It was free. DWM has a studio in Soho. That was just calling my name!
Tonight was the big night. I put on a dress (which anyone who knows me knows is a rare occasion) and headed down. Literally down - it was in the basement of the building.
At first it was a bit awkward because, since I didn't go with anyone, I just sat there and watched people. There were still some lessons going on, so I got to watch some. I was dancing by myself to some of the music they had on, ha! But then, everyone was able to get up and dance for a bit before the show started, so I saw this fella standing there, and feeling brave, walked up and asked him to dance with me. (Get it? :p)
This is Mike! My first ever dance teacher. He's wonderful. I get a free lesson for coming tonight, and I've already decided I want him to be my teacher. After a bit, Mike switched partners with this guy.
Daniel! He had me laughing, mostly when he told me I should stop gripping his hands so hard.
They were the only two I got pictures with, because then the show came on and everyone was much more distracted, but I'm just happy I have a couple to memorialize the experience.
Everyone was even dancing during the commercial breaks, so I got to dance with a guy named Justin, and then Mike again (we just spotted each other and were both free and went 'why not?'), and then totally claimed a guy named Andrey for the next round because he just looked adorable (which thankfully he was fine with, haha!).
Well, in the middle of dancing with Andrey, I had a seizure. Sigh. I think it was just because it was so hot down there PLUS I danced five different times and when I was dancing with Andrey I think I just did one too many spins. Luckily, Andrey caught me so I didn't hit or hurt anything which means I could avoid another hospital trip. Also, thankfully I had mentioned my seizures in conversation so people knew I have a disorder and thus weren't completely terrified. I was so embarrassed and frustrated for interrupting the party and because I really was having such a good time. But anyway, the ambulance was called while I was still out so they came and checked me out and actually went up with me and waited and hailed a cab so no one else had to miss any of the show. That was nice. I knew I didn't need to go to the hospital because I felt like I normally do after a seizure, shaky, nauseous, but mostly just very tired.
Honestly, though, I got home and almost immediately started sobbing. All that was running through my head was that I just wanted to have a normal night for once. I had been looking forward to this night for several weeks and of course my stupid body had to go and ruin it. I felt like an idiot for going tonight and breaking the 3+ month seizure-free streak I had going. But then I talked to Mom and she reminded me of all the seizures I've had sitting down doing nothing. She also told me she was proud of me for going because she never wants to see me stop living my life because of all my health issues.
And she's right. I had SUCH a good time up until the seizure. Everyone there wasn't just talented, they were so kind and welcoming and fun that I didn't feel like a total oddball for being new and alone. And when I was dancing, I was so genuinely happy even though I had no idea what I was doing and not to mention it's physically SO hard. What kind of life would I be living if I didn't do stuff like this that I love? Like Mom said, I could have had a seizure sitting at home (I HAVE had a seizure sitting at home) and you know, I have a disorder that's not going to go away. It's much more controlled than it has been and even if dancing tonight is what brought it on, I only have one life. I deserve to do things that make me happy. Things that I love.
Dance With Me studios are 100% open to anyone, even people with all sorts of disabilities (They're even certified to teach wheelchair dance! How cool is that?!) so I can't see the seizure making them take back their offer of giving me a free lesson. So you know what? I'm going to go to it and I'm going to have fun and I'm going to DANCE.
I'll probably stick with the slower dances next time, though.
(And bring LOTS of water. Lots and lots of extra water. Basements are hot.)