One of the first things I posted in this blog was about dancing. I have also mentioned that for the most part I do not “feel” disabled. However, dancing is the one thing that always makes me feel different than my peers. Growing up I dreaded dances; I spent most of them against the wall, watching everyone else have fun and feeling sorry for myself. If I tried to join in, I would inevitably fall over or do something else embarrassing. I remember in eighth grade my best friend tried to get her guy friend to dance with me and he refused, right in front of me. I felt like leper.
In college, I discovered that there was a way for me dance, unique to using my wheelchair. My friend Derrick and I were the third and fourth wheels during “Roomie Date Night,” and although we were not romantically involved, Derrick was a great date. We were in an arcade and the song “Black Betty” came on. Everyone started dancing and I prepared myself to just watch as usual, but Derrick had other plans. He grabbed my arms and swung me around with my chair. It was a little clumsy, but it was amazing. I was finally dancing, it didn’t look awkward, people were clapping for us and I felt one hundred percent included. That night Cripple Swing Dancing was born.
After that night, I got really good at Cripple Swing Dancing. Even though Derrick had discovered my skills; it was my best friend Charles who took it to a new level. It became our bar trick, something that people looked forward to seeing. We even performed on stage during my senior year body building exposition.
I don’t see Charles much anymore, but whenever we have the opportunity, we break out the old skills. Recently we danced at our friend Stephanie’s wedding and someone took a video. It is a bit dark but I am sharing it anyway, for all you wallflowers who think you can only sit and watch.