Something happened this weekend that offered me a glimmer of hope for the first time in a long time. Something happened that truly made me feel that we aren’t all that far apart or alone as we may sometimes seem.
In addition to running The Smile Project, I’m incredibly fortunate to work full time for an education nonprofit. This past weekend was our annual conference and this year, it was held entirely online. The last event of the conference was a Zoom dance party with live DJs.
I’ll admit, I had my doubts about this. I love dancing. I love dancing in my bedroom where nobody can see me serenade my mirror. And I love dancing at parties and weddings where I can’t immediately see how ridiculous I look fake singing into an imaginary microphone. I was fairly certain this Zoom dance party was going to be a lot of awkward swaying from chairs—that is, if people kept their videos on at all.
But as I sat in the Zoom call watching the “waiting room” fill up with 100, 200, 300 people, I felt this rush of excitement. As I pressed “admit all” and folks began streaming into the room, I felt like we were all really, really together.
Prior to the start of the party, I had moved my chair across the room so as not to take an easy out, and as the music began to play, I felt the heartache of a year of separation easing ever so slightly. All subconsciousness about watching my tiny thumbnail flailing on screen temporarily faded as I found myself with what can only be described as an adrenaline rush for possibility.
I thought back to every postponed wedding, every virtual holiday, and every cancelled trip. Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” came blaring through my computer and I spun to point dramatically at my stuffed animal polar bear on my bed.
And it hit me.
There will be more weddings. More holidays. More birthdays. There will be hugs and family dinners and movie nights. There will be a time when we are able to dance with somebody—beyond our households. And until then, I’m going to keep dancing, even if by myself.
I’m going to let go and release this pent up energy of a year of fear and uncertainty. I’m going to dance to a virtual DJ three time zones away because we can and we have and we will continue to adapt to changing circumstances and find ways to make our worlds a little brighter and a little more together.
Last night, I was daring to hope. With morning’s clarity, I am confident in that. And now, as I type the last words of this post, I feel certain that better days are coming. And I look forward to the day we can dance together again.