Monday, January 18, 2010

somewhere else, someone else

A long time ago, in another place, I was in an abusive, controlling relationship. We were engaged.

He wanted me to need him. He encouraged me to think of everything as "something I couldn't do well," or at least, "something he could do better." The things he couldn't do better than I could were things he resented. Actually, he resented a lot of things. He resented my parents' money, my good grades, all of my friends, and swing dancing.

He'd tried to learn so he could dance with me, but he couldn't stand to be in a lesson where I was better than he was. He thought I made him look bad. I embarrassed him. Even if he had been willing to learn, most of the time we lived across the country from each other, and I went dancing without him. He hated me for it. I went anyway.

But I always knew that when I came back, he would want to know if I danced with any cute boys, and I would have to reassure him, no I only danced with ugly boys. No one is as cute as you, sweetheart.

When we broke up I started dancing without the guilt, without the specter of the fight we would have when I got home. I cut off my hair and dyed it blue (something that we'd agreed looked good on some people, but not on me).

And it's been more than ten years, but sometimes when I go dancing I still feel the thrill of independence. I am doing something that I love, and I am doing it well, and there is no shame in that, not anymore.

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