I think I must have been about fourteen. We were going with our dance teacher to the Regional Championship in Spokane. Maybe I was fifteen. I don’t remember. There was a fancy hotel, and the novelty of learning how to tip at a meal, and a swimming pool where champions practiced a reel, and a lot of mall shopping. And I mean that: a lot. I was the homeschooled girl who didn’t get the concept of “You have to buy something every time you go to the mall.” I rarely did my nails and I never wore makeup. Shopping was a rare treat.

I was very proud of this. Now, it just seems arrogant.

They all bought these fancy outfits and I bought swim flippers for the pool (totally worth it).

I only placed once at a championship. Never even made it to Nationals, though I believe I would have made it if my knees hadn’t gone out at age nineteen. Besides my struggles with turnout, I had a lot of natural talent. One of the reasons I chose Bellingham was so I could take lessons from a Canadian teacher. That never worked out. It’s hard to explain what that felt like, losing my dancing. I’m mostly healed up over it, but I had several years where I’d go the the summer Games with my family and avoid the dancing competition area. I just couldn’t handle it.

I don’t know what I want when it comes to dance teaching. I used to want to get a dancer to the World Championships. But I keep my studio very “family-oriented,” for my sake and theirs. We’re not driven, though I do expect them to work hard, and I make the teaching the best I can (and it is some of the best). I always tell them I want them to have a life outside of dancing (which is also what I want).

I miss dancing. Do you think the dance tomorrow will be fun? I hope so. I love dressing up for dancing. I guess I swing danced a lot over the years. It was never for a “date;” just always with a group of friends. You can tell a lot about a guy by how he dances with you (don’t take that to heart, in the anxious sort of way. Please). One guy was very outgoing, which was okay, I guess. But then he asked for my number immediately afterward. There’s a big difference between “looking for a girlfriend,” and “I’m an honorable guy who will treat you in an honorable way.”

I sort of look back over the years and just want to hide my eyes. I feel like I was stupid, a lot of times. It’s hard though with guys. It’s hard telling which ones are honorable. A lot of them say things that mean nothing, but you can’t know that, and you can’t just be cynical when they say stuff. I don’t know how it is for you guys, but I do have a brother, and we talk this sort of thing on occasion. Girls can be misleading too. I guess it’s a two-way street.

With you, it wasn’t the words that showed me your character. It was the actions. Things you did that were kind. God knows my stories, and it’s like He kept saying, “He’s different.” I hope I’m that way for you too.

Sometimes it’s hard, liking highland dancing and soccer and stuff like that. I’m very feminine, but I often prefer having guys around than girls. The girls were often so grown up (with a few exceptions). It was the guys who still liked being kids, often. And it was my guy friends who ended up being there for me a lot over the years. I’ve gotten really badly hurt by other Christian girls. Awful, nasty stuff. Social games and put-downs and changing their face. I guess I got hurt badly enough that it was hard to be friends with girls again. At least with guys, I know I will treat them well, and (usually) how to be friends without leading them on. I know the rules, because they are pretty darn straight-forward, and I have less a chance of getting hurt. And it’s rare for me to hurt a guy’s heart because I am so careful.

I never want my kids to go to public school, unless God is very blunt. I heard it’s hell on earth, often. I got a heavy dose of it in my post-college years, and I hated it.

Social stuff sucks.