I carried a watermelon.

Well, I didn’t. But dancing was how I met the love of my life. Salsa, to begin with, although we have done a little bachata, tried the tango (so dramatic!), the jive and ballroom. That was about seven years ago – when we met.

It is quite a story and enough time has passed that I can look back now and see what a jumbled mess I was making of my life, but that was my journey and I accept it. To give you the gist of it, I was engaged to be married and had just bought a house with my fiancee. Big boxes on my life ‘to do’ list were being ticked off. However, in my denial that things were not quite as good as they looked on paper, I found a hobby that made me happy: dancing.

I love dancing. Salsa is great. Not Cuban style. I learnt LA or cross body style salsa, and that is what I’ve stuck with. It may be just me, but in trying to be good at that style I find it really confusing to do a similar-but-not-the-same dance! Cuban is gorgeous to watch but personally I prefer LA, it is more formal, Cuban is more earthy. I guess the more formal style suits me.

So after a few weeks, I met my lovely man. I immediately felt comfortable dancing with him in class and, being nervous of dancing with strangers, that meant we danced together fairly regularly after class. Long story short: lots of dancing, friendship develops, more dancing, fall head over dance shoes in love.

Dancing, especially with him, became a joyful freedom from the stress of my mind trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. In the time we spent together when we weren’t dancing, I found he was discovering and more importantly, understanding, pieces of me that had been tucked away many years ago. Pieces of me that I liked, but that hadn’t fitted in the relationship I was trying to make work.

Unfortunately, I held on to my denial for a bit too long and I married my fiancee before acknowledging that I’d made a big mess. It was not pretty, as I’m sure you can imagine, and at the time I remember thinking: how is this my life?! I felt like I was in a bad Eastenders storyline. This was a point in my life where I became aware that firstly, cliche sayings really are rooted in truth, and secondly, if anyone else quoted one at me, I was likely to punch their face.

Well, time really does heal, yada yada, and here we are, years later, happy and still very much in love. Of course, nothing is perfect and other challenges we have had to face have meant that we don’t dance regularly anymore. I am trying to get us back into a routine, but it’s really tricky to find decent LA salsa teaching here in Brighton. Sadly, the club we started at closed, and since then the Cuban scene has held court, with all the good LA teachers seemingly keeping to the London area. But I will persevere, for several reasons, not least because it is so special to us and one day, at our wedding, this is the dance we are going to dance.

I wanted to share my story, even though parts of it are difficult to share. Many people make decisions that lead them to difficult places, yet when that person is you, you feel so totally alone. And people judge you, it’s in their nature, and it hurts. I learnt A LOT about myself and my past choices, and what and who I wanted in my life. And I learnt a lot about my friends. Some of them still are, and some of them are not. Follow your heart, and you’ll find your way *shields face* 😉