Dance for me is  a metaphor for thriving in this world.

For most of my adult life I have been unable to truly thrive as a result of suppressing my sexuality and so two years ago when I reached out to my brother and my wife for support, I started to “dance”

With their support, and through the guidance and care of my wonderful coach, I to began my journey to discover my capacity to “Dance”

At the start of my journey I would have referred to this as a journey of recovery, as if from an illness, but more recently I prefer to think of it as a journey of discovery in which I take time to listen to who and what I am in this world and how I can bring my very best to everything that I hold to be true.

At the heart of my inner conflict has been my gay sexuality versus my marriage and my deep rooted Roman Catholic faith. How could I ever be able to Dance without having to choose a life course that put one set of values in conflict with those of another.

At the start of my journey, my coach wrote me a beautiful poem. I will share with you a line or two from it, but I am not ready to share it all because I am still working on its meaning within me and it is deeply personal to me.

“Take my hand and we’ll dance home together”

The poem is a gift to me – a special gift – and at the same time the poem addresses a fundamental yearning that I could not hope to realise in so many years of anguish and pain and that is the yearning to be true to the world, and whilst doing so, to experience love and acceptance from those around me, when for so many years I had feared that to reveal my truth would be to experience rejection.

When I was in my early teens I wanted to be a backing dancer on stage. I related in an earlier blog that my dad had said that “you don’t want to do that – it’s sissyish” – and I meekly acquiesced so that I would fit into what the world wanted me to be.

Although I only briefly had lessons in street dance with my wife many years ago, I have always had a natural rhythm, slowing down somewhat with age nowadays – I never danced like mi Dad as Peter Kay would say – I felt that I had a natural skill that was never exploited. Please don’t let that happen to you – always pursue you’re ambitions and bring your natural gifts to the world.

On holiday this year, as we sat at a restaurant at the edge of the town square, their was a group of people dancing. In the middle of the throng was an older man, perhaps in his late 50’s, and he was dancing with sheer abandonment. I was memorized by him  – not in a sexual way, but in his freedom of movement without inhibitions. I turned to my wife and I said to her – Inside I am that man over there, I want to dance with freedom like that, but I’ve never felt able to, there has always been an aspect of me that I held back.

A few nights later, a favourite song of mine by The Mavericks called “I just want to dance the night away” was being played in the square – my wife said to me – come on Will, now’s your chance and she lead me into the middle of the throng and we did a dance called “the slosh” with many of those around us joining in the formation. For those few moments I was free and once again I recognised that to be free is to be true to the world and to experience love and acceptance.

To much hilarity very recently, I was preparing for a day out with my wife and daughter and I felt excited and alive and I was dancing (prancing) around the kitchen whilst they looked on in mock disbelief – I didn’t care – we laughed – we were all close in the moment and I was free. 

My next blog will be – Noticing

William Defoe

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