Ghosts in my Machine

Tonight I needed to dance too much. My days at work leave me pining for connection and music and warmth. Going to the evening milonga on Tuesdays is like finally getting to come up for air. The problem is that I've been holding my breath all day. Or the equivalent of that. I hear the music, hug my friends, change into my shoes and feel such a huge sense of relief. But the problem remains - I've been a coiled spring all day. My muscles ache, my head hurts. My knees feel weak. These things don't make for great following ability.

Tonight it felt like a bit more than that, though. I felt haunted. There's something on my mind, I just haven't sorted it out yet. Annie Lennox sang it just right. I'm haunted by the ghosts in my machine. I feel melancholy and restless - can you feel both of those at the same time? I thought somehow those would be mutually exclusive.I guess not.

(I don't know if any of you dear readers will know what I mean by this but the feeling is so similar I can't help using the analogy. Gentleman, feel free to stop reading here. It's a bit like have restless leg syndrome. Completely exhausted but unable to keep my legs still. With RLS, it's not that my legs are shaking - that would be easier. It's like there are impulses being fired off into the muscles screaming, "move! move! move!" but I'm so g-damned tired from pacing and pacing and pacing. It can be agonizing trying to wait it out. Usually I just keep moving until I can't - until there was nothing left in me for the RLS to move.)

Dancing with my partners tonight, I struggled to stay with them - to stay in the moment, and in the music. Distracted by onlookers, the cold (and then the heat). Distracted by ghosts. Months ago another dancer across an ocean told me, 'if you get lost, find his heart with yours.' Torso to torso, feel for his heart. Listen to his breathing. Get back where you're supposed to be. For a few moments at a time I could do it - get focused, push everything else to the side. And then it would slip away again and I'd miss simple steps. I caught myself shifting weight nervously like I'd only started classes last week. It felt so good, so soothing, to be dancing - but it was getting harder with every song. I was tired and getting more tired by the minute. If I had a specific problem to focus my attention on, it would be so much easier. But I didn't. Still don't. Melancholy and restless. Chasing ghosts.

Make it an early night, I thought. Prepare for tomorrow. Give my eyes a break from allergies and contacts. (And then stay up too late writing blog posts... but I digress.)

Maybe tomorrow I can do a little ghost hunting.


tangocherie said...

Oh Mari, I've had ghosts in my machine and bats in my belfry for years! I'm thankful for the company.

But perhaps what you experienced yesterday had to do with New Year Letdown, or Post Holiday Stress Syndrome, or simply January fatigue. It'll pass. Meanwhile, the best thing you can do when you feel those ghosts is to take them dancing!

Anonymous said...

I certainly agree with Cherie-

everyone gets that distracted and disconnected feeling at times when they dance. It'll pass- try a glass of wine...or even a glass of whine. :)


AlexTangoFuego said...

When I used to dance more, if I wasn't "in the mood", I would blow off tango, or classes, or workshops, or festivals.

Tango doesn't work if your head and heart and soul isn't in the right place. All three. Tango no workie if heart and soul feel right but head is worrying about work or death or taxes.

Head and heart working, but soul wandering, no workie.

Not sure why I'm talking like this...

Feel's all good, all okay, and will all work itself out...

For me, the best way to correct it was step away, relax, breath, re-group and then come back when the time was right.

Mari said...

Cherie - bats in the belfry - check. Got those too. I think you're right, it's a combination of a lot of things, including just the season/weather. Usually when I get like this, I go to more practicas. That way I can dance and work.

Bastet - sounds good, and I'd like to have some cheese with my whine, lol.

Alex - The problem with stepping away is that it gets harder to go back (if it's for any significant length of time.) What I probably should have done was just chatted and had some wine. Kick back and enjoy the company. The problem is I always say I should do that, but when someone asks me to dance I still hop up like my butt's on fire. I get over-ruled by my body shouting, "heck yeah baby, lets dance!"

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the reason, it sounds like you're spending too much time in your head. When I get like this (yes, after all these years, it still can happen). I completely focus on the physical. When you put your arms around your partner, feel his shoulders with the inside of your arm. Focus on the warmth of his chest against yours. Focus on your hand in his - how is he holding it, what position, its warmth (or lack of), the pressure of his fingers around yours. Focus on the feeling of your face against his. Whatever part you focus on, it is the touch that counts.