Learning to Dance with Love

Trigger warning: This piece does contain mention of sexual violence and drug usage. This piece is slightly erotic, mostly raw with remembrance and reflection on my encounters with love and lust. The people mentioned will remain nameless and it is in good faith that their truth is protected and honored as well. No harm is intended with the written nostalgia of our dances together; healing is through being honest and my honesty is best handled through my words. 

Photo by Adéọlá Naomi Adérè̩mí

And so it shall begin. 

This is an ode to all that I was before fearlessly standing on my own two feet and accepting my Truth- humbly rooted and reaching to hug the stars. My grandpa once upon a time and a long time ago said I reminded him of Bambi with my big brown eyes and boy was he right. Big brown eyes, quirky legs, bashful, curious, naive, and still just a baby. Just a baby trying to be bigger than who she was; a baby in what felt like a big, scary, and mean the world. It’s not in vain and it’s not to rebuke her when we spill the guts. Rather a bid of acknowledgment and acceptance for the glory in her rebirth. Forgiveness and farewells are all. Times have changed, the places are different and every one has evolved and is better than before. Hopefully and truthfully.

Now the curtain is calling and the dance is starting.

To dance with love.

To dance while in love. 

Note: Both are delightful but it is recommended to follow the lead with discretion for it may cause distortions of what is and instead delusions of what never will be. Baby, please accept that’s the way things go around here. That’s the way it has to be.

Learning how to move with grace, beauty, sugar, and spice take as much time as the river to fill with tears and the ocean from raindrops. Does it matter? If you think so. Is anyone keeping a tally? Didn’t think so. 

Isn’t it unfair, absolutely brutally cruel how cards are dealt in life- your partner is a strong four on good days and you start at seven points five on your worst? Some days it’s the other way around. Should the [mindset of] the kings and queens sit together and [the attitudes of] the ones and twos too? Maybe that’s nonsense but how can you tell when your head is so far up in the clouds that you can’t even see blue and your partner is waiting for you. 

Well, then who is to blame? For the disbursement of the game and when the rules change. With the unfamiliar names and when the songs change.  Do you know the DJ personally? And even further so, has blaming caused anything productive, or should we just move on? Right. Moving on. 

Back to the dance floor, we go. 

Green, red and yellow lights

Golden signs

Sparkly eyes

Clumsy at times but hey at least you’re trying right? There was rarely anyone close enough to hold your hand and pick you up so hey Baby- look at me, Baby – it’s okay, this time you’re not to blame. Well maybe only slightly. You’re the one that fell, right? Okay, we can move on. Brush off the dust from your legs. Fix your hair. Now let’s get back to the dance before it’s too late.

This dance is shared between parents and their children, friends and their friends, and their friends of friends. People known since freshman year and others are acquaintances collected throughout the years that were only known for moments.  

This is the stage: it’s the lovers of the past and the present as well. For better and for worse, these are the relationships that taught us what love is meant to be even if it wasn’t actually and the difference between pleasure and pain- the Russian roulette jig between the two.  

The lover where there were promises of forever and both of your playlists were the same- it was their first time for real this time and yours too, the first time ever. It was young and lively and full of mistakes- no one had a clue. Those were the golden days but man fuck those days. Fuck the lessons we had to learn that hurt just as much as we are [probably] in love with where it has led us to today and the directions of tomorrow. As much as I want to say sorry for tripping, I hope the wind carries that to you. Thanks for holding my hand to pick me up when I was down and I hope someone does the same for you.

There is the lover that taught you exactly what love isn’t- and that is yelling and crying when you say no and then fucking you because how dare you to say no. And he fucks you so hard it feels like a punishment you didn’t ask for. He says you are a good little girl and at that moment your eyes are wide like cherry pies and you believe him. Even when you mumble, shout, cry. Unfortunately and more often than not, you are too drunk to have the strength to push him away. Your words should be strong enough- clearly, they are not. The sex was painfully good. Everything else during that season was simply painful. 

The time you were the bad guy and your wounds infected everyone who came too close. Those who came too close- well they got hurt the most. Every other night personally taking a knife and reopening something you wanted to heal so bad. Everything was blurry the whole damn time. One season to the next and the sunsets are the only thing you can remember when you look back. Jack and coke and coke. You were sad ugly and toxic. Not actually ugly but holding on to all of the ugly things you’ve ever thought and done. Ugly enough to get left on reading.  

To dance the best you can with love is not an easy dance at all. Some partners you will never remember again after a few more months and some you hope the memories become null. Remember this Baby, not all partners are made to last and nothing is really forever. Learn what you can and leave what you must.

There are the dancers naturally born with the innate skill to move in love, move with love in such a delicate, promising sway that for one second you would never waste to doubt their intentions for their ways are just too pure. Too fucking pure. But alas, you were staring into a murky lake and never truly saw its bottom. There are the ones who were cared for with cold hands and a bitter heart and when they were introduced to a consistent fire the heat was too much to face. The feeling of not deserving to be warm swallowed their prey whole and only spit out bones.

With every partner, you learn new steps and how to jive; sharing secrets and moments of sweetness while their hands are on your hips and you’re wrapped around their neck. Their fingertips whining into your fingertips. Their tongue glides with your tongue. That’s the way it goes. Tongue, spit fingers in mouth.

[Used to] Tiptoe around the ballroom, from one partner to the next, with the demons lurking on the sides. Or maybe I charged right into the middle. It’s all a blur anyway, I can’t recall which. I do remember grabbing the hand of my devilish ways, the sinister sway, and twirling and twirling until my head was swimming in ways I thought were to love but really were to lust. And swirling in a vortex of survival manners I had adopted only to immediately release with the wind to never return to me again if I wanted to get any better. Spinning and spinning- dizzy in a spiral where we only go up. And it gets better and better; sweeter and sweeter every time we try again. We get higher and higher when we step in faith and wisdom. Ascencion like Maxwell. 

[Used to being] Sucked into this limiting, harmful, and loveless cycle the corner of my eye is caught by a sweet and soft orb of an angel. She’s my Angel. I slip out of what no longer serves and is unjust and slip away with Her. Ditching the cloak of insecurities, leaving behind my fears and defensive tendencies on the dance floor. We kick off our shoes and the confinements are no more. I shed the layers of pretty and persuasion I had originally prepared and now my back is bare. And at that moment, she [they] loved me before I could love myself before I could even face a mirror. The space I needed to be me and to be free had always been but I had always been looking to be a part of the dance floor in a way to prance from anything that would ever hurt me again. Rather than a space to float and be me I had always dreamt to be. Even if the malice ways were shadows of my own as well. The Angel and I intertwine and I’m learning to not let go of her hand when I get tired. 

Do your Angels and you talk and dance and laugh and cry?

With all the dances my 21-year-old body has been a part of, the most precious and sacred partner has revealed to be myself. For if I can’t dance with such grace and form by myself, how can I share a fluent rhythm with the next? Relearning where I possess delicate curves and arches, teaching myself when to rest and how to stay on beat with the world around me. If I don’t know the anatomy and physiology of my own movements, how could I possibly move in a way that is everything authentic and righteous for both my partner and me? Beyond the moves is the mindset where I had been chained and shackled by unforgiving external forces and twisted ideals.  Hey Baby!  Don’t forget that shackles of steel cannot be burned and chains don’t cut from words. The tireless effort of wrestling with your traumas and fears and at first the constraints tighten. You dissolve into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable form where the mirror is unrecognizable- those are the first eight counts, the first few beats. And then the familiar song comes on and acceptance creeps and forgiveness sways and tickles behind your ear. For you have learned that in order to move then you must try again, try harder, and listen to the whispers of your Angels and Ancestors too. 

So slip on a new pair of shoes where the toes are perfectly snug and heels supported, step back onto the dance floor, and get ready for the next song. The dance you love so much is the dance that calloused your heart. It is the dance that then mended your wounds and kissed you like the sun wishes to kiss the moon, delicately and with promises of tomorrow to try again. Go and leave with the current as if you are forever a wave in a sea of souls swirling together and diving deep to continue the dance forever and ever.

For our children and for ourselves- the show must go on. Go on. Go on. Let go and be free. Let’s share one last one before the last curtain call and then break free. Just you and me and then just me.

Distinguished Diva

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