I’ve been thinking a lot about Greece lately. I keep losing things I bought there. The first time I lost something, I didn’t sit in the sadness for some time. I was too enraptured by my surroundings. The second time, I searched frantically for months. The third time, I did not even move to recover what was lost. Why didn’t I go back to check? Why didn’t I call Starbucks to see if I left it there that night?

Greece is a place that is bonded to two things for me: loss and discovery. Tango is similar. The nature of the dance is perfect for holding sadness. It’s also perfect for discovering a sense of self, belonging, and for being held. Loss and discovery.  Past and present.

The modern market place in Greece is called the Agora. It is right where the agora in antiquity existed. The ruins are still there. The Agora: a place where things are given away, let go of, sold, found anew, bought, discovered, remembered.

I bought a painting in the Agora on June 9th, 2011. I’ve bought canvas paintings from every country I have gone to but this one in the Agora caught my eye. It was just black, white, and red, and it was made out of metal and wood instead of canvas. It’s the white silhouette of a girl against a black and red backdrop. I bought it just because I felt so connected to it. I mean, it’s just matter. It’s just a rectangle piece of what a street vendor in an ancient marketplace can call art. But I bought it as if it was already mine. As if it was a piece of me that I dropped along the road and just found once again.

And this picture, I thought at first, perfectly captures all the words I can’t put together. But then, thinking about the events of that sunny day in October, I realized that it was more than just the beginning emotions I had during this trip in Greece.

It was the emotions of the whole year.

It was the harsh, reckless wails.

It was the out of body drowning.

It was the anger and disbelief.

It was the confusion.

It was the physical tearing apart. It was, ultimately, the beauty in the breakdown.

Finding meaning in something like a piece of art, a certain song, a sweet moment shared wordlessly with another person in tango….it’s like a marvel. These little things are like a fascination or intriguing subject. Like something to capture your attention, making you reflect in a non-destructive way. It’s still positive, yet retaining all of its negative effects.

Because healing can’t happen without pain being there first.

Perhaps this is another reason why I dance tango; to hold two emotions in one space and share them with someone else, the bitter and the sweet, the unexpected and the exciting, the rest and the swift.

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