It has been well over a month since I last posted a blog post. A lot of changes and transitions, professionally and personally, have happened over a short amount of time that I needed to take some space to distance myself from blogging for a while. Frankly, every week I would plan on writing a blog post on a topic that I’ve chosen weeks or even months ahead but it has been very difficult to sit down and actually write the post. Part of the reason is because there are a lot of thoughts running around in my head, some of which are incomplete and utterly confusing. This evening I decided to sit down and write this post because in retrospect, I created this blog because I wanted to take you all along in my journey. And it’s not a straight path, far from it.
Granted, I still don’t feel like I’m in the same headspace that I was in 6 months ago, but I thought it was important for me to write about forgiveness. Over the weekend, I wondered how could God be so forgiving of our mistakes over and over again? Why is it so hard for us to forgive others at the same degree?
Being human makes us susceptible to failures, imperfections and innumerable mistakes. It is and can be very difficult to forgive those who have wronged us repeatedly and ourselves. Pain, anger, embarrassment, pride and insecurities often take over so much so that we forget that we are all similarly human. We crave the same degree of infinite forgiveness that others seek of us, yet we often decline to show the same kindness. The only answer I can come up with that addresses my question adequately is love. Love at its purest form is patient, kind, humble, and of course forgiving. An elusive verb and feeling.
I guess the trick is to not take love for granted, but strengthen it.
P.S. Always choose forgiveness, even when it’s difficult. Harbouring bad feelings just isn’t worth it. Besides, you can’t change people… you can only love them.
It was my second Forró dance class when my fellow beginner dance partner and I learned how to spin. After practicing the basics a few more times, it suddenly occurred to me that learning how to dance is closely similar to learning how to be in a harmonious relationship. You need open communication, trust, intimacy and confidence in yourself and each other to gracefully move around the dance floor. Granted, you may step on each other’s feet once or twice, literally, but that’s totally fine because it’s far more important to follow the same rhythm.
Before realizing this, I knew my own shortcomings when it comes to being in a romantic relationship. Though I must say, there were four key aspects that I clearly need to work on as a dancer and partner.
The Value of Taking a Pause
In Forró, the beat goes like this: 1, 2, 3, PAUSE, 1, 2, 3, PAUSE, 1, 2, 3, PAUSE. The pause may not seem like a significant thing when it’s written like this but it is. I learned this the hard way by not taking a pause and setting a pace that was faster than my dance partner’s. Our instructor says that, “you fall into the pause, it has a heavier weight while the other steps/beats are lighter.” Not taking that important pause made it more difficult for my partner and I to mirror each other’s steps, and since my pace was faster, I inevitably messed up our rhythm. I needed to slow down instead of anticipating my next step because my partner is supposed to be leading me not the other way around.
Relationships are similar in a sense that we fall in love with our partners slowly.
All of that attraction and desire is present within the first few months, but if we don’t slow down and take our time enjoying each other’s company and learning about one another beyond superficialities, that fire burns relatively quickly. Leaving thinking about what could have been instead of what is.
Letting Someone Else Take Control
Growing up I was taught to be self-sufficient and independent. If I was hungry, I’ll go get something to eat or cook for myself. If there’s an assignment that I need to get done, I’ll to do it myself. I hope you can immediately see how this can be a problem in a partner dance where the control is not entirely mine.
In Forró, the man is responsible for taking the lead, guiding the woman between bases and spins. There’s an unspoken communication between each other, a sort of letting go that I was initially reluctant to do. Part of it is learning to rely on someone else, trusting him. Both of which, I have a problem doing easily outside of dance. Thing is, the moment I let my dance partner take the lead was the exact moment I started to enjoy myself. It wasn’t just about learning how to dance anymore, I was dancing.
In a relationship, at times it may be difficult to trust your partner because trust is such a fragile thing. We’re emotionally invested and hopeful that the person we are choosing to trust will not take that gesture for granted. After all, we do not only trust them to take care of our toes, our hearts too.
Stop Thinking Too Much!
While the instructors were teaching us more complicated spins and steps, I found myself thinking too much about where my feet should go or if I’m spinning in the right direction or whether I was off beat again. Doing so made it more difficult for my body to actually learn the steps and spins.
Similarly, we can get so caught up with what’s in our heads instead of what’s in our hearts sometimes that soon enough we end up in a downward spiral. Questioning every little detail that may or may not matter as much as we think it does. If only we took the time to pause and recognize that all of the thoughts in our head are mere thoughts. They only stop being thoughts when we act on them.
Intimacy isn’t just a physical thing it’s a transcendent connection.
My dance partner and I would sway for a minute or so to get a sense of the rhythm of the song. Often times, you’ll see dancers close their eyes to feel the music and to let intimacy build with their partner. Creating this connection to the music and your partner keeps you in synch as you dance around the dance floor.
It’s a culmination of letting go of your inhibitions, trust, being receptive of open communication and building a connection.
By all means, I won’t be a great Forró dancer right away. It takes practice and changing habits to have the skill level I want to have. I’m also not shy to admit that I haven’t been the greatest girlfriend/partner either, but I’m working on it.
P.S. My apologies for the photos, our dance social kept going as it rained.
This is my open letter to you on your first birthday.
I’m not sorry to tell you that I will not be the auntie that spoils silly. I will, however, teach you how to earn what you have and what it means to be happy even when you don’t have everything you want right now.
I won’t be the auntie who coddles you when you first fall off your bike either. I will, however, teach you how to get back up on that bike and ride it even if you’ve fallen many many times before.
I won’t let you get away when you get in trouble. I will, however, tell you that sometimes it’s okay to break the rules and live in the moment because we may not have another moment like this again.
I won’t tell you that you’re enough. I will, however, show you that you are more than enough and no one in the world can take that away from you.
I won’t be the one who tells you to dwell within your comfort zone. I will instead encourage you to see what the world has to offer and experience a rich and meaningful life.
I won’t turn you away when you get your heartbroken for the very first time. I will instead teach you that all the love you’ve given to someone else does not compare to the love you can infinitely make and give.
I won’t be watching you from the sidelines because I will always be there with you somehow, physically or otherwise.
I could add more to the list but let’s just take it one day at a time, shall we? 🙂
Someone once told me that you were going to change my life. And girl, you have! It has been an adventure watching you crawl all around the house; dancing with you as soon as the Tinga Tinga Tales theme song comes on and hiding items around the house because you just want to put everything in your mouth. You gave me a glimpse of the kind of parent I want to be…the kind of mother I hope to be.
Thank you for the cuddles and letting me kiss your chubby chubby cheeks (before waving me away anyway haha!) You probably won’t remember your first birthday, but that’s okay. We will have more birthdays to share. I hope you have an amazing day filled with laughter and love.
Happy birthday squishy face Lexi! I can’t wait to watch you grow every passing year.
P.S. It’s okay, we won’t tell your other auntie that I’m your favourite 😉
Written more than two years ago, I came up with my own unorthodox philosophy about love and relationships. Thing is, it’s incomplete. You know what’s missing? People. Before I explain, have a read of what my previous philosophy looks like:
I don’t “look”. I find that the more you look for it the harder it is to find. It will come at it’s own time, at some place and with a specific person. You won’t know how long it’ll last but it will have a beginning, middle and an ending. Being receptive to everyone you meet is key.
I don’t have expectations. This really goes with any relationship/friendship with me. I believe in having choices and being able to make choices. Not because I can put the blame on the other person after but because I personally don’t like doing something that I don’t want to do so why should I impose the same to someone else? If I’m actually doing something, it’s because I actually want to do it and care for it. And if you can look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of whom you see, that’s good enough for me.
People in our lives come and go. Every person we meet, we met for a reason regardless of how long we stay connected with him or her. If ever they leave, it may just mean that our roles in each other’s lives are completed. But I can also see how this can be problematic. Some clichés insinuate that you should fight for your love versus you should let your love go if you love the person enough. But hey, these are clichés right? Their validity lies on the extent of your belief of them.
Trust is earned not given. Now, there’s a difference between that and giving the benefit of the doubt. You can give him/her the benefit of the doubt but the sincerity is in their actions. You gotta show me not just tell me.
Mind games are for degenerating minds and infants. No being around the bush. Straightforward honest-to-the-big-man-in-the-sky talk. Pretty self-explanatory.
Love carelessly. I’ve already mentioned that you don’t know who’s coming or when, so why have judgement? You love whom you love. This has a dual purpose because for me it also means that loving someone entails taking a leap of faith. It may be impossible to love fearlessly so why not love courageously? Don’t waste chances you could have taken; speak words you could have said and actions you could have made. Breathe, it’s okay to look foolish that’s just a part of life. Learning from your foolishness is your choice.
Love unconditionally. This somewhat goes with #2. Love is the ultimate gift; it expects nothing in return.
I still agree with some of these principles but frankly I wrote these principles while I was going through a breakup. If you read it carefully, I’m not taking responsibility for my actions or lack thereof. These principles reflect the kind of independence that I needed to regain after a breakup. That’s not to say you don’t have any independence in a relationship. No, I’m not saying that at all! The integral piece that it’s missing is that a *genuine relationship is a partnership.
I’m used to taking care of myself and taking care of others that it’s so difficult for me to ask people for help or to let someone else take care of me. A highly problematic trait in a relationship. Truth be told, I have been known to emasculate men because of my independence. Just at dance class the other day, I subconsciously was doing this to my partner! If you’re familiar with the dance Forro, the men are supposed to take the lead. They are supposed to guide women on the dance floor between each base and spin. During our lesson on spinning, I noticed my hand immediately going into position prior my partner making the move for me to do so. My foot was on the right place and I already finished my turn, but I forgot to pause. I didn’t wait for my partner to guide me that it was time for both of us to move forward into the routine. My timing was off because I was just thinking about myself and what I wanted to do next. In Forro, much like in relationships, you need to be in sync with your partner to move forward. You also need to let your guard down, but let’s save that for another reflection session. 😉
So here’s my short takeaway: love is a complete paradox. We try very hard to understand it yet, with every experience we have with love our ideas in turn shift and change. [Monogamous] Relationships are partnerships between two people taking each step together. Sometimes you need to adjust yourself in their rhythm, even if that means taking it one step at a time.
P.S. I’m only 24. I’m just getting the hang of this stuff. Have patience with me.