Tango’s Like a Box of Chocolate



My chest couldn’t contain my oozing heart. My knees turned to jelly.
I smiled as I left the room, left the space.
Shame. Envy. Sadness.


In spite of an ingrained attitude of ‘hard work reaps rewards,’ some people, some styles, some experiences are undesirable to others … An unpleasant lesson a privileged and sheltered life had denied me.


I respected his right to consent to a dance.
This is a kindness due to us all: We all have the right to refuse a dance without needing justifications.
So I sat with my stinging pride, huffed about ‘dancer ego,’ and choked back the pains of rejection until the earth stilled and the night soothed.

I cursed the cabaceo. It didn’t bring me closer to him. And neither did my words.
He is a handsome dancer. His steps are strong and clear. With conviction and grace, he glides through space … An intense embrace, yet smooth and rich in flavor. All of his partners cannot help but to feel a sensual intoxication as they part with him from the dance floor.

But to me, he said, “No.”

In my solitude, tightness gradually gave way to kindness—a newly-forged gratitude: Gratitude for being capable of such desire, gratitude for the night air’s gentle embrace, gratitude for having friends and dancers to cherish so fiercely.

And, gratitude for every other person I dance with—every person, every embrace, every body can teach lessons of movement, how to hold the body, how to change the embrace.

Some dancers step small and sweetly, a fruity jelly. Some may have just a little too much liquor inside of them—heavy and lingering. Some are intensely bitter on the outside, but move with an airy-whipped softness. Some are hard and cling like nougat. Some kick with the snap of a toffee crunch, others are a gooey caramel that sink into their knees.
And though I may prefer some tastes to others, depending on my mood or the music, I savor all the flavors of the dance.

Do I still experience rejection? I do, from time to time.
Does remembering and experiencing rejection still hurt? Sure it does.

Though I didn’t dance with him that evening, I danced with every other willing dancer—

I danced until sweat and smiles replaced the echoes of sorrow.
I danced until La Cumparsita sang through the speakers.
I danced until the various flavors of tango melted within my embrace.

Many, many moons have passed since then.
And you know what? The world continues on.

And I still dance (… a lot)!
Keep an open mind in your interactions with others–each person has an experience worthy of compassion.

Be kind to yourself when things don’t quite go as expected–we’re all growing and learning.

Try, fail miserably, and try again; step on some toes, say and receive “Thank You” with respect, and cabaceo until your eyes go dry!

You won’t know how the flavors of tango taste until you dare to try them all.

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