I believe life is one giant masquerade ball. We are all dancers in an intricate, complex, joyful, and often extremely sorrowful event. Every song is a moment in time...fleeting and unique. We choose with whom we dance, when we dance, and when we sit in the dark corner alone. We decide when to wear our mask and hide our face, and when to reveal ourselves in full vulnerability.
The last 3 years of my life have included a great deal of sitting in the corner...watching the dancers from a distance. Before this, I was dancing joyfully and easily with a partner, until I became bored and curious. I chose a new dance partner...a masked man dressed all in black. We danced passionately and feverishly for the first few songs. Then he became tired and weary. Rather than choose a new partner and continue the dance, I followed him off the floor. We sat in the dark together for what seemed an eternity. He would leave the room for long periods of time and I would wait. Occasionally I took the arm of another man, but always returned to my corner. Waiting. Always waiting.
One day he returned and we danced joyfully for one brief song. I wanted it to last forever, but nothing ever does. Finally, we began to tango furiously. Then, during our final number, he pushed me violently to the ground and collapsed himself. The music stopped. The dancers froze in time. Life faded.
I lied there upon the floor, motionless, for months.
Then a tragedy occurred and all changed. The dancers slowly began to move again. All masks were removed. Vulnerability was revealed.
Now I am dancing once again. More with a group this time and more joyfully than before. Less dependent on a dance partner. More alive.
What have I learned from this experience? Every dancer has the right to choose their moves, with whom they dance, or whether they want to dance at all. They can lock themselves in the next room or collapse on the floor. I can chose to continue dancing. Continue living.