I’ve had an awakening. And I can finally articulate why I stopped swing dancing. At first, I thought it was because I didn’t have the time or that I was no longer obsessed. But I realized, that there was so much more to understand.
In 2013, when my Dad passed away, it was the last time I was immersed in Lindy Hop. That New Year’s Eve, just a few weeks after my Dad’s body was cremated, I (along with my two friends) ran a three-day Lindy event. During that weekend, I was overwhelmed with gratitude as my friends and the dance community came out to Santa Barbara to ring in the New Year.
While the 3rd annual Santa Swing turned out to be successful, when the weekend ended, I felt a painful emptiness in my soul. It was as if I had to relive the sadness I felt the day my Dad left this world. Maybe in some ways, my grieving process was delayed because of Santa Swing. Because soon after the dancing stopped, the emotions poured out in different ways. After that, I associated my sad emotions with dancing. The two experiences were intertwined for many years and prevented me from going back to dancing.
When I moved to the Los Angeles area last year, I visited Third Saturday Swing and also attended a night of dancing at Camp Hollywood. Entering a dance venue and seeing so many friendly faces lit up my soul. Over this past weekend, I went back to Third Saturday Swing, and the dances I had were playful, funny, and made me feel… so…undeniably happy.
I’m in a much different place since 2013; I’ve lived in multiple states, I’m in a loving relationship, Butters has a best friend named Rosie. I feel whole. Each time I’ve gone dancing, I’ve felt as though I’m receiving one big embrace from friends who care about me. I’ve realized that Lindy Hop is like a loving and reliable friend; the friend you don’t talk to on a regular basis, but will always be there for you if you need them.
To my friends whom I’ve met through dancing, thank you for being there for me… even when it seemed like I would be absent forever. Seeing your smiling faces and receiving your warm hugs, you’ve shown me that it’s never too late to go back to something you love.
Santa Swing, 2013.