Please respect my decision not to dance
Henry Reich

Thank you so much for writing this. I think I frequently have DDR: Depression that’s Dancing-Related. It’s really quite amazing how the majority of people can not be convinced that in no way will I ever learn to enjoy dancing. Maybe if I sat everyone down for an hour long conversation about my unpleasant past experiences related to dancing that have just left me feeling inhuman, not fun, like an outsider among my own friends, and at some point depressed, some would finally get it. Many others would pedantically reply with an air of moral superiority and 10000% certainty that of course everyone secretly loves dancing, and those who claim not to are just insecure. Well, I certainly have some insecurities that are directly related to dancing, but it’s more like when I make depressing Google searches such as “Why don’t I like dancing?” or “Is it normal to not like dancing?” or “How to enjoy dancing”. It doesn’t help when probably most results come down on the side that everyone secretly likes dancing. The clearest memory I have of going to a wedding as a kid is of when I was dragged away from a table by multiple members of my extended family onto the dance floor, and I was just trying to escape, later running outside and crying and feeling the need to hide from my own family. I also have a hunch that any and all required school-related dancing (like, during gym class) similarly put me off dancing. Many of who I would describe as the Dance Police™ seem to forget any and all empathy when it comes to non-dancers. I can see their side in some regards, since “This thing is fun; why isn’t this fun for you when it’s fun for everyone else? That doesn’t make sense; there must just be something wrong.” Why can’t people be allowed to not like this one thing without being psychoanalyzed by everyone over it??? Seriously, if I’m at home alone listening to my favorite music and the only physical urge I have is to like, tap my foot or kinda sway my head, how deep does the insecurity go????? Even when I’m “optimally” intoxicated (such that I’m not just falling asleep) and surrounded by a bunch of badgering friends, it requires all of my concentration to do the simplest dancing and not revert to just leaning against the wall again. It’s remarkable that for an activity touted as being all about connecting with one’s body, many dance evangelists seem unable to connect emotionally with those of us who just don’t get anything out of it. And then they make movie villains out of us.

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