Another thing about Wednesday.
When we first arrived at the venue, I had a few moments of near-anxiety that surprised me. Like, when we were headed in, I saw the smoking patio and watched a girl light a cigarette and I found myself wishing I could smoke one or two. Like, when Steve and the people we were with each had a massive shot of Patron silver to kick off the evening, I wanted to join in. Like, when I started dancing, I wondered if I looked stupid to anyone watching me (as if anyone were actually watching me).
The urge to smoke passed quickly. (Besides, I was quite happy inhaling the *other* smoke wafting around the main room all night.) The urge to drink also vanished a few minutes after the music started. I was so thrilled to be hearing heart-vibrating bass again I didn’t need anything else to lift me up.
The dancing thing? That took a few tries. And I was reminded of something I wrote on my old sobriety blog, in early 2011 (did I say five years since we heard this kind of music live? I guess it was four!), in a post called The Freedom To Be Myself:
So many times I danced and smoked and talked ever so loudly and incoherently with people in clubs just like this one. I would wake up the next day wondering if people thought I was an idiot, if I said ridiculous things, if I looked stupid on the dance floor. I hadn’t done much of this music stuff sober yet.
We arrived at the venue around 9:30 and for the next few hours, we watched people drink and chat and flirt and dance and we listened to each of the DJs doing their thing. And yes, it felt like a different world without a drink in my hand. But somehow so good. And around 11, as I was bopping around to the funky tunes that were playing, I stopped, turned around and looked at Steve and said:
“I love being sober. It gives me the freedom to be myself.”
God, what a gift.
I danced and danced the rest of the night away, not caring how I looked because the movement of my body was natural, spontaneous. I talked and laughed with friends and new acquaintances alike without worry because my words were coming from a clear heart, a clear head. I was being me, fully present, fully engaged. Honest. And silly. And having the time of my life.
And if people didn’t like me after that? Well then it was definitely their problem and not mine.
I remembered this in detail on Wednesday, right there on that dance floor, and dammit, I kept right on dancing. Chatting. Just being me. And feeling freer and funnier and more ecstatic than I have in a while.
These days, it hasn’t been easy for me to let go, let loose, be unreserved in my joy and enthusiasm, and do it without the crutch of something, anything, to help me through. But in those few hours on Wednesday, I remembered why simply being me is okay and right and enough. And it sure felt good.