Seven months ago, I wrote in this space about “daring” to use GoFundMe to help pay for my participation in a ballroom dance competition on the Big Island of Hawaii from January 24-28. This heartfelt and enthusiastic campaign inspired more than 60 people to support my dance adventure with money and services, and has generated $3,291 to date—more than 40% of the cost. This delighted and surprised me.
But what surprised me even more was how the Hularama 2018 experience exceeded my imagining of how good it could be. My intention to remain calm and confident during the “heats” (90-second dance performances) was fulfilled. I did not suffer dry-mouth nervousness, but only a sense of anticipation and excitement. I was able to “will those stomach butterflies to fly in formation” —as a spoken word artist I know described it. And in the Full Bronze All Around medal competition, Zach and I placed 4th—quite respectable considering the talented dancers on the floor with us.
I succeeded in my other intention: to meet and dance with as many new people as possible. If I saw a leader who inspired me, whether amateur or pro, I asked him to dance. In turn, I was asked to dance by cohorts from other Arthur Murray Bay Area studios, and a wonderful gentleman from Osaka, Japan, whose extraordinary mixed-age team occupied the table next to ours. I think my tally of outreach dances numbered about 15, definitely a record!
The camaraderie I enjoyed with our Santa Rosa contingent—students, instructors and support staff—was doubly poignant since it was my last opportunity to spend quality time with my teachers for over 5 years, Zach and Julie Marie Crawford. The couple has moved on to a new studio and new life together at Arthur Murray Albuquerque. In my goodbye to Zach, I said, “Thank you for changing my life.” He replied, “Thank you for being open to it.”
At the event, I enjoyed formal dinners, an evening of student solos, club dance competitions and professional comps that were nothing short of awe-inspiring. The Friday night luau, with its world-champion fire dancer and bottomless Mai-Tais and Blue Lavas, unfolded in tropical warmth that was not just weather, but also the expressed affection of a community that has embraced me for who I am. On that occasion, under the almost full moon, I said out-loud, “I am right now living my dream!!”
This Dream-Come-True awareness stayed with me throughout the dance competition and into the following vacation week on Maui. With two of my oldest and dearest friends, I spent hours lazing on Kihei beaches, eating great food, drinking locally-brewed beer, enjoying art exhibits and conversation. A whale-watch cruise blessed with an array of waving flukes, breaching, and fin slapping by a pod of frisky humpbacks topped off my charmed trip.
I had planned for, visualized, saved and trained for this Hawaiian adventure for two years and pitched it to others as a once-in-a-lifetime event. And while I continue to savor and “bask in the afterglow” through telling stories and sorting my photographs, there is a fanned flame inside me persistently burning: what’s next?