dancing

Excuses -- Part 2: The Loss of Feeling by Michael Nichols

Sometimes, following a trauma that strips one of the use of his legs, he can regain that ability. Other times, it is gone forever, and that is beyond our control, in which case we are not to blame, but what if you were to simply give up and not even try to restore the use of your legs? What then?

Making excuses works the same way. It always starts somewhere, with some reason, be it within or without your control. But then comes the time to decide to recover, be it possible.

Let's go back to the night I learned to dance. It was fantastic! It was fun! It was phenomenal! But what if I had made up some excuse to not dance with her? What then? Well, for the record, I did. I told her I didn't know how, but my untaught feet weren't going to stand in the way. I was nervous. If I remember it right, I told her as much. (The way I see it, when you expose your weaknesses and fears, you take ownership of them, and that's the first step in overcoming them.) So did I make excuses? Absolutely yes, but she wouldn't take "no" for an answer, and that was the best part.

Where I had let fear become a crutch, she taught me how to walk, and in a way unlike I'd ever walked before. The end was worth burning through the fear.

In the end, I had no good excuse not to dance with her, and she basically, in a roundabout way, called me out on that (and it restored my faith in people a little, but that part wasn't really the point.) Had she not done that, I wouldn't have the awesome experience and memories that I do now, and I would still have a lot of barriers up when it comes to doing things I've always wanted to do was had been too afraid of ridicule to step out on a limb and do them. I would have been subject to atrophy, and I would have missed so many things between then and now, good things.

It all came down to a choice. She chose persistence, and I chose to go along with it. Every time you make an excuse or don't, you make a choice, whether that choice is part of a habit, an addiction, a lifestyle, or just whether or not you know how to sing or dance or draw or paint or write and anything. That is the beauty of it. You can choose to change your life, to live unafraid, to see your scenes in a different light. That is the beautiful part.

NEXT -- PART 3: LAYING DOWN THE CRUTCHES

Excuses -- Prologue by Michael Nichols

Think back to the last time you were in an uncomfortable position. I remember almost a year ago learning to dance for the first time. It was... very... very... ahhh! The tall, lanky guy that I am wasn't going to have it. I would much rather have gone skydiving with a rubber balloon as a parachute. Oh, did I mention that the one who taught me how to dance was absolutely gorgeous? Well, now you know, and that has always been somewhat intimidating to me, so I was baffled when it happened.

If you know me, you know that I never expect good things to happen. Well, guess what! That was a fantastic experience. I didn't know how to dance, but she taught me well enough, and I didn't step on her toes -- not once! It was so much fun to learn and to do. My comfort zone had been invaded, but she pulled me out of it, broadened it. If she hadn't been so persistent, though, I never would have dared to try. I'm glad, now, that she did.

Unlike my previous statement, though, parachuting with a rubber balloon is nothing like dancing -- not even slightly -- but I was that prepared to escape the situation as quickly as I could. I would have said I had a peg leg if it weren't obvious how fat of a lie it would be. I try not to make it a habit to lie, either, but I can't say I never do, and when I do, I can always say I regretted it fully, which is the power of the excuse.

This polymorphic beast has been around since the beginning of time. It was within Adam and Eve along with their guilt when they went into hiding from God, and it is with us today when we are presented with uncomfortable situations of varying gravity. Let me be clear -- excuses and reasons are two very different things, and in the end, only one will keep you alive.

NEXT -- PART 1: THE INVISIBLE CRUTCH