I watched, from a distance, as nine people linked arms and danced, can can style, to Frank Sinatra's rendition of "New York, New York". They seemed to be enjoying themselves and, for reasons I won't go into here, I couldn't be a part of it. Not for the first time that evening, I felt alone: completely and utterly alone.
In some ways, it was a good thing. I'm not the best when it comes to asking a lady to dance. It just happened that the courage required to ask some of the ladies to dance was less than the courage needed to deal with feeling so alone. It's not a feeling with which I'm unfamiliar, and it's a feeling I've had to explore this week. Looking into that feeling was distinctly uncomfortable, and led to the revelation that my life has mostly consisted of me feeling excluded or rejected.
Earlier in the evening, I'd asked someone to dance who I hadn't asked previously. That's a big leap for me. I've danced with her during the lessons, of course, but I'd never danced with her outside of the lessons. She immediately brightened up, and maintained her smile throughout. I bowed and thanked her as the song ended, and walked away, feeling utterly alone once again.
I'd previously developed a close friendship with someone in the class: someone who, for a while, made me feel that I wasn't alone. Through a series of errors and misunderstandings (on both sides), that friendship recently came to an end, and I suddenly felt more lonely than I had in a long, long time. Worse, it felt like I'd been rejected again and, due to the composition of the venue and the existing friendships between those within, the loss of one friendship led to me feeling excluded, unable to spend time with other friends I'd made at the class. I should be used to this feeling by now, but it doesn't get any better. It never gets any better.
For a brief time, I felt that I should stop going to the class, that I shouldn't put myself through this again. The catch is that I love to dance - something that came as a surprise to me
I have come to terms with the right of another person to either accept or reject me. It's their choice, after all. I can't pretend that being rejected doesn't hurt, though.