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The lesson I learned…

Connect with commiseration.

I never learned the art of small talk.

When faced with the need to interact with someone, I did so with griping, complaining, protesting, criticizing, and judging.

It’s easy to do those things.

You don’t have to give much of yourself to bitch.

You don’t need to put yourself out there in an authentic way.

You don’t need to be vulnerable.

You don’t need to let someone see the real you.

You don't even have to be sincere.

Anyone can complain.

It is not an ineffective way to begin relationships.

Some of my best friendships were built on a foundation of a shared struggle.

We commiserated.

We bonded.

I am grateful for their origin.

I am grateful they grew beyond the struggle.

But commiseration doesn’t work with everyone.

Overcoming the lesson…

I met a wonderful group of women who connected without commiserating.

They connected with stories about their families, events, duties, relationships...

I initially approached them as I did everyone else, with my small-talk complaints.

They didn’t take the bait.

It made me feel like an outsider.

I pulled back for a while.

I felt self-conscious.

I was pushed outside of my comfort zone.

I didn’t know how to interact.

But I observed.

I learned.

Their conversations were precious to me.

They were about ordinary things, and yet, they were extraordinary.

They were genuine.

They were real.

They taught me how to communicate without the safety net of complaints and criticisms.

I’m sure none are even aware of what they did for me.

But I thank them just the same.

Thank you, Dance Moms.

You taught me how to connect openly.

To you, I am grateful.

Until next time…


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