A little perspective

"I've had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you're carrying a grudge, they're out dancing." --Buddy Hackett

One of the trickiest aspects of writing a tango blog, when you are personally known to your tango community and to your readers, is that it creates an added level of insecurity-angsty-ness when you're already feeling your lowest.

Now, when sitting and wondering why it feels like everyone is dancing but me - I don't just have the usual favorites, 'Is it my dancing?', 'Is it the way I look?', 'Was it something I said?' - but also, 'Was it something I wrote?' It's a hazard of the job... er.. hobby. Public posts are like kids wandering around the mall trying out all the new words they heard you say when you were mad. I just run behind them face-palming and saying 'I didn't mean it exactly like that! Well, I kind of did. Seemed like a good idea at the time . . .' Part and parcel of the trade, second guessing every word that makes it out of your brain and into the world.
Mostly I love getting feedback in person on something I wrote. Then I'm in a conversation and that's what it's all about - what all of this is for. But sometimes, warming the chair on the sidelines of the milonga, I'm just trying to gauge the repercussions of imagined slights.
I tell myself the usual things, it's probably not personal. It could be any number of things. It may be drama that has nothing to do with me. Or, it really could be me. After two milongas in a row of a particular leader asking every follower at my table to dance twice each, and not saying hello to me, it certainly felt personal.

The inner monologue started.
Was it my dancing?
Something I said?
Something I wrote?

I could have asked. But I've covered that topic before. I'd rather have a bit of chocolate and wine and get over it, than ask. This time it took longer than usual to get over it, though. Between milongas, I even went over to Tango-Beat, and re-read fellow tango blogger's excellent posts on rejection. But the pity party was in full force for some reasons that had to do with tango, and several that didn't. Doesn't really matter. PMS. Alignment of the stars. Is Mercury in retrograde ? Whatever.
In the midst of having my inner-tantrum pout-fest, I heard my tough-love inner voice say, "Maybe you could shut up your ego and be grateful?"

Oh yeah.
Let's get some perspective.

I danced a lot during both of those milongas. I'd had several blissful tandas, warm embraces, wonderful conversations and gorgeous music all weekend.

And yet...

Every once in awhile, she creeps back in telling me I'm not good enough, not pretty enough, not graceful enough, not tactful enough, not sophisticated enough, not anything enough. This morbidly addictive focus on all the things lacking, pulls me away from the light and energy that tango brings. As Jantango noted, attitude is everything. When I let me ego drive, I frequently find myself in a ditch.
So I let it go. I got back to work on the things that I could change (mostly my attitude).
My blogging life and tango life are inextricably linked, as they are for blogger, Farnoosh Brock. They require a lot of the same things from me - honesty, transparency, humility, kindness, willingness to connect. And a lot less time letting my ego do the driving.
One of the first people I met in tango told me that the only thing tango really requires of you - be willing and be kind. Everything else is secondary to that. Good advice.


Elizabeth Brinton said...

Listen darling:
You are a good writer, but if you are going to be intimidated by what you write, it will be pap.
No matter what you write, take it from me, someone is going to be under the illusion that it is about them.
So be brave! Keep writiing.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean, writing about people you know is like dancing on eggs. The way I get around it is to tell people "if I say anything that offends you, please tell me as I do not mean to offend"
I have had one or two rewrites, fotinately few and have never yet lost a friend, even though I can be controversial.

Mari said...

Thank you @Elizabeth (love the new blog look!) and @tangogales for your comments.

I do a lot of the "please tell me if something I write is troubling/offensive/annoying" etc. because I really, really want that feedback. But I have also gotten used to saying, "this is how I feel" and that's what the blog is for. I am accountable for my words. And even though I'm not a fan of all of his writing, I do follow Don Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements to the best of my ability.

I have learned so much, as a dancer and a writer, by reading the books and blogs (like your blogs, for example) of other dancers, that I truly believe that sharing these experiences honestly, builds connections and communities.

Anonymous said...

Another thing you need to add to your "decompression" list is that we are NOT Buddha, who was able to live in an enlightened spirit all the time. We are Buddha-in-training, and have our blissful moments of enlightenment on the dance floor. Then pout about being denied the opportunity to be enlightened.

ad said...

Mari - I love what you said about letting go. I used to lose so much of my day worrying about what I'd done - or what I'd thought I'd done - that I forgot to *e*n*j*o*y*. I find that just letting go opens the doors for new experiences that we didn't expect...