When I started college, my knowledge of country music was limited. I knew it to be twangy music in which by the end of the song, the singer had lost his wife, his dog and was crying in his beer. It was something we didn't listen to in our house. It was pretty much the only thing that was unacceptable to listen to in our house.
I started my freshman year with the mentality "country music bad, all else good." And then I joined a sorority with a bunch of women from rural southern Idaho who listened to nothing but country music and as the year wore on, I found there were a couple of songs I liked-enough that I was able to make an entire tape. (Of all the things I have done in my life, my conversion to being a country fan is of the things Dad was most disappointed about).
Along with the music came line dancing. For someone who is tone deaf with no sense of rhythm, two left feet and no sense of balance, line dancing was something my sisters did while I watched with envy on the sidelines. By my senior year, I was finally okay enough at "Slappin' Leather" that I could get out on the floor with them and almost keep up. If I ever had to dance to that to something other than Sawyer Brown's "The Race is On," I'd probably be screwed, however. The other favorite dance of my sisters was the "Electric Slide," which I could never get the hang of.
After I graduated and moved here, I didn't know anyone who went country dancing so I never went. There have been times over the years I thought it would be fun, but didn't want to go alone. I finally got my chance on 4/24 when the fun Meetup group had a line dancing event. I went early for the lesson and kind of got the hang of the "Boot Scootin' Boogie"-enough so that I could do the stomp-stomp-kick-kick part anyway. Though I sucked, the night was still fun. (Meeting New Guy may have had a little something to do with that). I have been a fan of choreographed dances for as long as I can remember and this fueled my desire to actually learn how to do them and be a part of the dance instead of being on the sidelines.
It just so happened that the same day as that event, the organizer of another group I am in sent out an e-mail saying she wasn't going to post it on the calendar as an event, but was planning to take a line dance class at the community center if anyone was interested in joining her. I signed up and tonight was week 2 of a seven week class.
I had a bit of a problem with tonight's class. There were 14 students, including me, and 4 instructors. All of the students and three of the instructors are woman; the head instructor (who's kind of an ass) is male. One of the students is around my age as is one of the instructors. With the possible exception of another student, everyone else in the class could easily be my mother, and in a couple of cases, possibly my grandmother. (And man, are they cliquish!). But what bothered me today was I noticed that the majority of the women were wearing wedding rings, as was I (well, engagement in my case). The difference was that here was I, the youngest in the room wearing her ring on her right hand. I felt so angry. As the youngest one in the room, logically, I should not be the widow. As the youngest in the room, I should not be the one who has already experienced what is supposed to happen to "old" people. Not that I wish this on any of them, of course. It was just a moment in which I wondered yet again why James had to die so young and why life can be so unfair. As I have definitely entered a new phase in my life, I have been wondering a lot lately where this road is leading me and I hate that I don't have my rock to keep me steady when I falter.
But at least now as I continue to stumble forward, I can finally do it to the "Electric Slide." It may not be pretty, but sometimes in life, you've just gotta dance. Life, after all, is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.