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Salsa, strength and hope

Letting loose on Latin night.

So women are supposedly the weaker sex, but my experience belies that old wives’ tale. You, too?

Oh sure, men can bench-press and haul things, push machinery around, build stuff. But if you need someone to handle a really big job — something with emotional heft — find a woman.

Faced with feelings, most men will employ the rub-dirt-on-it-and-walk-it-off mentality. A woman will get to the heart of the matter.

And if it’s someone else having some unpleasant feelings, well, she’ll lend every ounce of support she can muster.

I was reminded of this wonderful phenomenon again yesterday at a Latin dance night I attended at the Jazzercise Center of Southwestern Connecticut. It wasn’t a Jazzercise class, but an excuse to let our hair down and have some fun.

And we did.

But first it seemed like everyone had some bit of baggage to park at the door.

I don’t mean just the generic crap life gives us, such as:

“What jackass took the sheets out of the drier and left them in a heap on the couch in the den?”

or

“Why is there still unpacked luggage in the middle of the living room five days after the trip to DisneyWorld?” 

or

“If I worked around the clock every day, there is no possible way I will ever get to the bottom of this to-do list.”

Although heaven knows there was plenty of that.

No, in our midst were much bigger issues: a woman battling cancer who has lost all her hair and will start radiation treatments next week, another who is caring for her seriously ill mother, a third whose husband died unexpectedly two weeks ago and whose daughter is getting her master’s degree today. Plus people grappling with numerous other medical, emotional, financial matters.

All the makings were there for a pity party, but we didn’t succumb. Instead, we did the only thing we could: We danced and drank and laughed — not necessarily in that order.

The night was a test of our mettle, our esteem for each other and the elastic in our sports bras. We passed the first two tests with flying colors. (Let’s just say, for future reference, that much shimmying equals a two-bra night.)

Of course our escapades didn’t magically erase everyone’s troubles.

When it was time to head home, however, it seemed the baggage was briefly easier to carry.

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About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.

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