RSCDS, or Finding Community

Five or six years ago, I was in grad school.  It was probably one of the more miserable years of my life. I was sleep deprived (getting up at 5 every morning to catch the bus to the train to school, and up until 1 or 2 completing work), struggling (my stat’s professor saw me in ever single office hour she had), and all-around miserable. I didn’t realize it until after I quit (a very good day), but I had fallen into a major depressive episode.

In the midst of all this, I did have one good point. I’d made a friend during the orientation and we rode in together each morning. We’d talk about anything and everything and one of our conversations ended up covering one of his hobbies- Scottish Country Dance.

Five years later, after I’d run away to Hawaii and come back to Maryland, I remembered what he’d told me about this social dance style and looked it up. Then for the next year and a half, I spent every Tuesday night in the Greenbelt community center, practicing my skip step and learning dances with names like “De’il Among the Tailors.”

Over my time in Maryland I attended two Valentine’s Day dances (and won a raffle at the second one!), was given a scholarship to Scottish Weekend, and spent hundreds of hours on the balls of my feet.  During all of that, I made some wonderful friends.

Last week was my last class with the St. Columba’s group. I’m hoping to keep up with my dancing (I’m SUCH a sucker for social dancing) but the closest class is an hour away so it’s going to be a bit of a challenge.

I was feeling weird going to class. It’d been such a big part of my life; how I’d made my Maryland friends, how I got my regular exercise (that was actually fun!), how I finally fulfilled my fantasy of social dancing.  But at least Kevin was coming this time, because he’d never actually seen one of my dance classes.

When I entered the hall that leads to our dance studio, I was met with a cheer.

It turned out that I wasn’t the only one who was sad that it was my last day.  The entire class (maybe two dozen people) had gotten together to wear tiaras and pink hair extensions.


Because I’m nothing if not an emotional wreck, my instinct was to cry and try to hug everyone. I think I got most of the class.


Ellen, the one in the pink mullet, even got Kevin to come out and do the warm up dance with me. I was the happiest of pud-puds.


Betsy even made pink cupcakes and apparently agonized over getting the shade of pink for the frosting exactly right.

I was so touched y’all. This community has been a grounding factor in my life since we moved to Maryland, but it hadn’t really occurred to me that I might be important to them too.

I’m going to miss my dancing friends, but hopefully I’ll still see them at big RSCDS (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society) events. And a couple of folks have even promised to come down and visit. It’s nice to know that you have friends, no matter where you go, and that people care about you as much as you care about them.


Does anyone else love social dancing? What do you think the odds are of my getting Kevin to try English dance with me in Florida? What’s the nicest surprise you’ve ever gotten? Let me know!

P.S. My manuscript is at 49,000 words!

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