I got my favorite complement of the year tonight. I was at my weekly swing dance in Eugene, dancing with one of the newer follows and she said, “You are my favorite to watch. I like how you look like you could be dancing in the street, you’re just so relaxed and such a natural!”

I love to think that I look like a natural when I’m dancing, partly because I was so not a natural. I could refer you to any number of people to confirm that, especially a couple of high school girlfriends who were dancers. I was hanging out with one of them last winter and she saw me dance and could not get over it. She tripped out for about an hour and even got a little angry, like it wasn’t fair that now I could dance. It wasn’t that I didn’t dance, I was just very self conscious and stiff. I wasn’t very fun, and it wasn’t that fun for me either.

When I came back to dancing a several years ago, it still wasn’t very fun. I was still self conscious and stiff. I had to get pretty good before I could have fun. Now I always have fun, unless I’m dancing with someone who really intimidates me or who’s obviously having a bad time. I feel like a natural now, but I had to put in way too much work to qualify. (In fact, the only things I can think of that I have always been able to do are being interested and staying focused. Everything else has been work.) Or maybe I was a natural all along and just had  to work hard to uncover that ability. That’s how it feels.