My journey south toward embracing and accepting freedom, my own exciting self, and anything else the universe provides includes several states, a few safety nets and I hope a couple of surprises along the way. I decide to maybe throw in Texas, just because, and if time allows. Texas is added because I’ve never been, it’s there and this is a once in a lifetime trip. I can build this in during my stay in New Orleans, I think…
As I began the journey, a friend encourages me to take what is mine, in so many words. Specifically, I was encouraged when charging into Texas, to shove a few big-haired Texas girls to the side and take myself a cowboy. With a little more encouragement and a lot more freedom, or tequila, I might attempt to take two. I do believe it would be great to exude enough confidence and presence to just march in and take what I like, when and where I like it. Cowboys? Perhaps. I can think of one cowboy, or another, that would have a mighty troubling, but altogether amazing thrill were I to just go for the gusto and take him, full on, Unnn huuuuummmm.
This has become the “You Go Girl” Tour in the hearts of many. From some of the excitement my trip is inciting, it might seem like this is more about the "Go On Get Happy Tour", or the "Re-Awakening of My Own Deep South Revival" Tour, but for me, it’s really about the freedom to be me, to test some limits, push myself out of my tightly orchestrated comfort zone, take a few risks and maybe just let go and allow things to occur. It’s about reinvigorating what I like and what makes me happy. It’s about what I want to have, as much as, what I want to cast aside. This journey is also about coming to terms with loss and reconciling what may have been forcibly taken, and what was passively given away. Much of this journey is about looking closely at what makes me tic, gently re-winding or readjusting those inner mechanisms and calmly going forward a well oiled machine, humming and purring toward whatever comes my way. It’s also about letting go of the need to look so closely, so frequently and allow for missteps which may lead to a path not considered…
I am reminded by my friend that a long car ride alone is a great place for primal screams. I like the visual, but I don’t have much of a scream left at this point. Not out of depletion and defeatedness, but out of healing and balance. I have moved a great deal of marital loss, as well as a few newer aspects of trust trials and bad starts into nothing more than a diminishing point in my rearview mirror. It’s the sights ahead I am focused on. No primal screams on this tour. But I’m wondering about whistling through Dixie and I’m looking forward to shouting a few “Hell Yeahs!”
Gratitude and groundedness seem to be the shawl I’m wearing on the first leg of this trip. The safety and security of staying with friends helps a great deal. It functions a bit like training wheels for the intrepid spirit. Once I am steady, I am sure to take off. I start with a visit to my college friend in the greater Washington DC area. It is comforting to be with old friends. The ones that know you and accept you as you are, and where you are at any point along the journey. They help prop you up and sometimes just get a blanket when you fall. Old friends. They know exactly what you need. Or sometimes, they know exactly what they like, and are certain if you would just open up a bit you would like it too. Sometimes they have all sorts of strange ideas about what would be good for you, least of all anything you would ever be caught dead with or doing. I love my old friends.
I was determined to start my journey with a night of dancing in this nation’s fine capitol. I really enjoy dancing. It’s like the primal scream only it covers every inch of the body and deep into one’s soul. My friend knows I want to go out dancing, that this is a required activity and the kick-off to my nomad traveling tour as a free and spirited woman. She is a good friend, so of course she asks what I have in mind as there are a variety of dance clubs in the greater metro area. I share my desires. I want a place with great music. I want a place that appeals to a range of ages, with our age being the median, say around 49 or 50. I know there aren't a lot of clubs that appeal to this age group, but I also know that there are a couple here or there and I just want to dance. I don't want to be in a club and have to worry about giving small children night tremors at the view of what's to come like some Dickensian ghost of Dance Fever future. I don't want to swing dance or turkey trot. I wouldn't mind being looked at for my enticing hip sway and booty swing. But old friends know what you really need and so we end up at the UltraBar a swank and swinging child care center for developing dancers. OK it was a hot, pulsating nightclub for the hip and sexy 21 year old set. I love how old friends really listen and know what you need.
My goal was to dance, and dance I did. Sweat, sway, move, and laugh. I was not going to let the small children deter me. Ridiculously, I laughed at the one brave soul who imagined he was going to climb aboard and take me down. Or dance with me. Aside from the fact that I have the ninja equivalent of an Irish matriarch in the form of my grandmother pumping through my veins with equal amounts of spit and fire, I am a bit hard to pin down in couples dancing. I can do the lean onto each other and hold on tight as we barely move dance during the slow dance that gets randomly thrown in at high school dances, but that's not the type of dancing I'm interested in on this night. I also typically have this chemical release when an unknown man person approaches for physical contact. I am a bit awkward here, let's just say. I give off some repellant, and when that doesn't work, I freeze up. Not always. But around about 98% of the time. What this looks like on the sidelines is a combination deer, or more like rabid chipmunk frozen in headlights with a mix of touch me and I will flying dragon up your wazoo. It does not translate to come hither, not by a long shot. So whenever anyone approaches and the stars are aligned, and it's 105 degrees in sweatshop-like surroundings, you just got yourself a golden ticket to the land of try me. What the hey? You only live once, right?
The brave soul approached, and tried to move in. He was trying to quietly come in for the kill, which made it all the funnier. It was apparent that he was trying to make his way toward contact and ultimately the grind. Maybe he had too much to drink, because his focus and gaze were intense, his pelvis and legs seemed to be ready, but having a harder time complying. He was watching and readying himself to get on board the way a rodeo clown might mount a moving train. His eyes were fixed, but his body was slightly brushing and backing off, as though he needed a running start. Then he needed the steady gaze to right himself to try again. This went on a couple of times, while I continued to dance, sweat and laugh. At one point as he attempted to grab my hand I held on and twirled. Of course I twirled him, this may have been too hard on him, the steady gaze and sway toward me was thrown off again. At this point I considered turning around and offering the international stance for a piggy back ride. I wanted to stop and say, "OK cowboy, giddy up, climb on up, and I will gallop through the club, but then it's really time for nite-nites. Not too hard on the reins there big boy." Perhaps then he could have made contact and I could have felt like I did my duty for the fine men of Washington DC. Instead, I gave another twirl and said my fare-thee-wells.
Dancing for me is a solo sport. Just me and my body’s response to the music, others can enjoy by all means, but if you want to climb on board, you’re going to need to be strong enough to contain me, and stealthy enough to catch me by surprise. And, it should feel a bit like a firm handshake, like you mean business. Like riding the bull at Gilley's for some lucky stud. If that comes together, Halleluiah! I’m going to hoot and holler and push a whole lot of big-haired Texas girls out of the way, because this will be the adventure of a lifetime!
I thank the little feller and salute him, we are in the nation's capitol, it only seems right. Time for me to press on and continue grinding my way through the southern states, or find myself a real cowboy. And my friend? She's the best. When she visits me? I think I will take her out to enjoy a game of Bingo somewhere and do some scrapbooking. She will love it. I know she doesn't do either of these activities now, but friends help each other. We have each other's backs so we can safely test our limits and open up a little. Aren't old friends great?