In Between Dances by Pam Tillis

I recently went to a Pam Tillis concert.  In preparation, I dug out my old CDs so that I could become reacquainted with the reason I wanted to go listen to her perform.  I had boxed up all my country-western music when I moved out of my country phase.  But the good CDs I kept.  This was an example of one I kept.I listened to her songs and the words came back to me.  It has never been a talent of mine to remember words to songs but after a couple of times listening to the songs I could sing along as well as I ever could.

Sweetheart’s DancePam_Tillis_-_Sweetheart's_Dance

On her Sweetheart’s Dance CD I remembered there was a particular song that I liked.  It spoke to me.  It was my song.  I found it and listened to it and remembered why I liked it.  Perhaps when I first fell in love with it nearly 20 years ago I couldn’t explain why I liked it so much.  I just knew that it spoke to me and said the words my heart couldn’t say out loud.  But I’d like to try to explain it now.

In Between Dances

At first, this is a simple story of someone at a dance but doesn’t want to actually dance at the moment.  The deeper meaning is about someone taking a break from the romance department.  But the even deeper meaning for me is someone with anxiety who wants to take part of life but usually sits it out.  That message is what spoke to my heart nearly 20 years ago but I didn’t recognize it or was able to give it a name until I listened to it recently.  Of course, since the concert I have listened to it over and over again and let it speak the words of my anxiety filled heart.  Ready?  Here are the lyrics with my connection in parenthesis.

In Between Dances

There’s room at my table, why don’t you pull up a seat? (always looking for a friend)
The music’s inviting but I’m staying off of my feet(excuses, always with the excuses)
The floor’s getting crowded, but I don’t want to take part (always an observer)
I bet you can guess it’s got something to do with my heart (I have the heart of a chicken)

I could sure use your company now (I want company…sorta.  It’s actually complicated)
But don’t be mistaking my smile (the fair facade of faking it)
I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while (for a lifetime)

The partners are chosen, look at them (everyone has someone except for…)
Waltzing away
The tempo gets slower, closer and closer
They sway (it feels like every pot has found its lid except for this one)
I’ve had my moments when I could get lost in
The sound (there have been times when I have or wanted to joined in the dance)
But when the song ended the one in my arms
Let me down (it just never works out to be with people)

I could sure use your company now
But don’t be mistaking my smile
I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while

Have you been in my shoes? (Do you really know what it feels like? Do you know the difference between anxious moments and debilitating anxiety?)
I search your eyes for signs
Will you remain, remember my name (No one remembers my name because I don’t connect. I am easily forgotten)
After it’s closing time

I could sure use your company now
But don’t be mistaking my smile
I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while

I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while

Songwriters: Barry Alfonso / William Craig Bickhardt

In Between Dances lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

That’s the thing with music.  It can mean something different to different people.  When you find one that shares your personal story it becomes your song.  I didn’t pen it but my heart could have written it.

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