|Ever my own harshest critic, I wrote on the|
back of this pic intended for a friend,
"Don't remember me by this."
When I was 12 or 13, I went to my first dance and to my utter shame and horror even today, when a boy got up the nerve to ask me to dance, I blurted out, “No.” Not “No thank you.” Not “I can’t dance.” Not “Why yes, I’d be glad to.”
Who knows how that artless moment in the life of an awkward teenage girl might have changed the course of her history. I still cringe when I think of it. I’ve never had the nerve to tell the boy become man how sorry and embarrassed about that moment I was even then and I can only hope he has forgotten it.
I set a great store by being asked. Who doesn’t? It’s flattering.
In that moment, I was terrified and my fear did the talking for me, more’s the pity.
But I am a full-grown woman with children and a grandchild now. I’m pretty well past being afraid to dance. Yet I find that I still blush like a school girl to be asked.
And that makes it hard to say no when I know I should.
Thus I’ve had to remember some things of late that I learned on the dance floors of life:
1. I am not an awkward teenage girl any more.
2. I don’t have to say no out of fear, but neither do I have to say yes out of fear either – fear that I won’t be asked again, fear that unless I say yes, I won’t be loved or appreciated.
3. It’s ok to be flattered by being asked, but I still decide with whom I dance and why.
4. Corollary to #3: of course I’ll be asked to dance; why wouldn’t I be? I am a wonderful dancer. My would be dance partner has already decided for themselves that they’d like to have me as a partner. I get to decide whether I’d like to have them as a partner. (You decide what’s best for you; I decide what’s best for me.)
5. The obligation created by being asked to dance is not to say yes; the obligation created is to answer with kindness and dignity and thoughtfulness and integrity.
6. Regretted ‘nos’ of the past cannot dictate the answers of the present.