Growing up, I can remember my sisters rolling their eyes when I would tell stories about my school day at the dinner table. They were less than patient with my long-winded stories that sounded similar to “Then one day, at band camp…” and on and on and on.

Ok, so I talked a lot. And now I talk for a living. But, dancing is a different story. Unchartered territory.

Until last Saturday.

The charity event I participated in proved to be more than just a dance competition. For me personally, it was an escape from the emotions of losing my father. The journey started in November, when I began rehearsing with my instructor. He seemed unfazed by the fact that I can fall going up the stairs, or smack into walls that suddenly “appeared.” Mike had a front-row seat to my clumsiness when my bag bumped a heavy weight off its rest at the gym where we rehearsed. Yet, he seemed to believe we could pull this off.

And we did.

It was an emotional night for my entire family, who couldn’t help but notice that my Dad was not seated at their table. Yet, I know he was watching. He never missed a chance to support his children.

The night could have turned out differently had I gone with my original outfit, a backless top held together with a thin silver strap. It broke as I tried it on in the dressing room. Not sure that’s how a contestant should go about trying to score extra points. No wardrobe malfuctions here. I packed a backup outfit, thanks to the advice of my mother, and thanked my lucky stars the strap didn’t break mid-performance in front of an 80-year-old man. Dad, you must’ve been looking out for me.

A big thanks to Mike Tinder, my instructor and friend, who listened to me complain on bad days, and still taught me how to dance. More importantly, I learned to venture out and try something new.

Hey, isn’t that what life is all about?

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