About that time when I cried eating ice cream…


I think we can all relate to heartbreak in a different way. It sticks around for far too long. It tears away what was once bonded to our hearts. It snags us, like a fish on a hook, when we least expect it…

And then there we are: in the middle of eating ice cream, in the middle of the parking lot of Wegman’s carrying an armful of grocery bags in a downpour, in the middle of a project when our mind wanders and the heartbreak we feel mutes our motivation…

I think I have it pretty good in life. The adversities I have encountered have carefully and wonderfully molded me into the person I am today…and I am pretty proud of that journey.

However, there’s just that one major screw-up that still taps something for me every time and I hate the ripple effect that it has caused. At the time, the issue of new knowledge was shocking and made me uncomfortable in my own skin. Was it better to not know? I discovered that when things have a name, they are more real and personal. I have to face it, whether I like it or not.

What followed, a way of dealing with the new information, was a colossally stupid decision of mine that changed one of my most valued relationships. When I came to tango, the pain of that change was strangling and reassuring at the same time. Strangling because reflecting on my choice made me immediately believe I was a horrible person. Reassuring because the pain made me feel I had something to hold onto….like a “thank God I feel remorse, thank God I’m human, thank God I feel something!”

Do we have to experience deep loss, sadness, grief in order to deeply love? Do we have to know what sacrifice is to truly love something? Is that the price, the exchange, or the trade?

Tango has helped me become certain that I am good. I heard somewhere that the root meaning of this word was “functional.” I feel, I believe, I know, I’m whole. However, when it comes to thinking about myself in that one type of relationship….this certainty falls into shambles. A weighty sense of failure and lack of worth envelops all thoughts and considerations.

The act of winnowing through this life event, specifically encountering this frequent feeling of being an absolutely idiot and then reminding myself I really am not one, is the suckiest process. Sifting through the good and the bad is tedious and I dread doing it. How come the preferred verbs are ‘avoiding’ and ‘running’ rather than ‘sifting’ or ‘processing’? *Sigh.

Thank God tango is my safe place to work it out in. Sifting through what I know, what I don’t know, and realizing that there are always various paths that I can choose to take in the discovery is astounding. Separating the good stuff (sometimes that means the positive realities) from the negative stuff (anything that is not a life-giving truth) is not easy. Sifting through the significant and releasing the insignificant is also hard.

What I’ve discovered in this winnowing is hope and value and wisdom and connection to some greater purpose.

I want to be the kind of person that puts others at ease. I hope I am the kind of person that people are not afraid to ask to dance with. I really hope my life story connects to someone else’s….wordlessly in a dance or through some raw emotion that they identify with as well.

And I dearly hope that this heartbreak will go away. That as the intervals of its pangs grow longer and longer, one day it simply will visit for its last time.

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