The title of this post is completely tongue-in-cheek because lesson number one that was relearned: not everything is about me. Duh. I know this.  Okay, I know this in my head.  But I totally don’t always live like I know this in my heart. Because I was scared to go to this wedding.  Not because it was in California and I’d have to rent a car for the first time in my life by myself or drive on California highways for the first time in my life by myself, though those things did terrify me just a tad.

But because this was my first huge family function husband-less.  And because this was my first wedding since my divorce.  So basically, I was scared of the impending pain.

And yes, I cried during the pastor’s gorgeous explanation of marriage.  And because my marriage had failed and those things didn’t come to pass for me, that really hurt and it was hard.  And I had to say more than once that I was now divorced to people I hadn’t seen in a long time.  And because my marriage failed and I didn’t have a husband by my side, that really hurt and it was hard.

But something interesting happened too.

I had promised myself before I went that I would dance at the reception. Not just moving back and forth snapping my fingers like I have danced at weddings for the past twenty years.  But I promised myself that I would dance at the reception the way I dance when I’m dancing alone in my kitchen.  In other words, completely un-self-consciously.  At least, that was the plan.

And I did. I really did.  I am sure I looked ridiculous and horrified my teenage children, but I danced.  And I had fun.  And I felt free. And I didn’t really care what anybody thought.  And it was great.

But here’s the thing. I was thinking about why this was such a big deal for me and what this meant for me.  And I was thinking how, in the past twenty years, I have probably attended ten or fifteen wedding receptions with my then-husband.  And I was thinking how in all that time, not once did I dance the way I dance when I’m alone.  And I was thinking how if my ex-husband had been at my brother’s wedding, I wouldn’t have danced like I danced that night.  And I was thinking how sad that was.

But here’s where it gets interesting.  I didn’t feel free with him. I wasn’t myself with him.  And then it occurred to me…that was not all his fault.  He never told me I couldn’t dance in public.  He never told me I couldn’t dance the way I dance alone.  I didn’t let myself be free with him.  Yes, there was ridicule sometimes and criticism, et cetera, et cetera, but he didn’t make me shut down. I chose that.

That has been one of the biggest eye-openers for me lately…my part in my shut-down heart.  No one but me can shut down my heart.  Sure, others can play a part in setting the scene for it to more easily happen or for us to more readily give parts away, but, no, my lack of dancing the past twenty years was one hundred percent my doing.

Which means, my heart reopening is up to me too.  Which means of course, among many other things, I’m going to dance.

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Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

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