Sunday, February 15, 2015

Diversity on the Dance Floor

red headed woman playing the fiddle smiling at the camera.
My teacher, Susan. Taken during one
of the tunes I didn't know.
I have been casually learning to play fiddle for about twenty years now, and after my diagnosis of diabetes in December 2013, I decided I was really going to get serious about it. I officially signed up to be a student of Susan McCroskey Burke, whom I have known for many years. She encouraged me to join her student performance group, called Fiddler's Green.

I've been attending their practice sessions for a few months now, and last night I performed with them for the first time. We played for a Valentine's Day contra dance. It was a lovely hall out in Kirkland and it was nicely decorated with hearts and flowers. I only knew about half of the dance tunes that we played, so I spent lots of time with my fiddle in my lap trying to look more comfortable than I felt, but all in all it was a good experience.

The caller was absolutely brilliant. I took some serious note of how she managed the dance floor for the next time I have to do that job.

One of the things I liked best about the evening was the diversity on the dance floor. Ancestry from several different continents was in evidence. There was one young woman wearing an insulin pump at her waist and she was a very strong dancer. There was also a broad range of ages present.

Two of the best male dancers looked like they were in their twenties. One had long hair in a ponytail and the other was wearing an insufferably adorable porkpie hat. At one point in the second half of the evening someone zigged when they were supposed to have zagged and Ponytail and Porkpie wound up dancing together. Neither of them missed a beat. Other than a moment of surprise it was a non-event. Then, having switched lines, Ponytail proceeded to dance with most of the rest of the men as well.

The last dance was a waltz, and people changed partners several times. At one point, Porkpie made a point of waltzing with Ponytail. They were beautiful together.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Family of One

Back before I met Doug​, I struggled with being single. I remember my 30th birthday in 1996 very clearly. My friends and bandmates threw me a lovely party, but I had never been in love with a man who was in love with me and I felt that made me a failure as a human being. Surely I was a warty horror that no man could ever love.

Warty horror circa 2000CE.
Time went on, and I did eventually have a stormy nine month relationship with a very nice and completely ill-matched man. It came to a crashing end on Winter Solstice in 1998, but no matter how painful that experience was, I'm still grateful to it and to him for all that I learned.

When I moved to Baile Ard​ in 1999, I decided that I was going to change my life; that I wouldn't wait to have a husband before making a home and being a family. I would be a family of one. Each time I worked on the place, cooked for myself, decorated for a holiday, or entertained friends I became happier. I had my friends, my band, my family, my coven, my Gaelic society, my job, my health, and a home I loved. What earthly reason did I have to be unhappy?

I became unreservedly content, joyous, and satisfied as a single man. Maybe being authentically happy is what changed my luck in love. Only the gods really know, but I can tell you that even if I had remained single I would still be a family of one with a very rich and fulfilling home life.

If you're struggling with being single, lay down that burden and make yourself a home and a life that you love. You don't need anyone's approval or permission to do so but your own.

With love,