Salsa for people who think too much

I write because it lets me predict the future. Yet for the first time, I had no clue where this story will bring me. Maybe it’s because, when I started, I was mature enough to understand that:

I’m Perfect!
I’m Smarter than you,
I’m Faster than you,
I’m Better in every single way,
And for all I have done
Let’s be honest,
I deserve more than you!

I was somewhere in this cheerful mood, when I went to my first salsa class. Now I have to confess something: I have never, ever danced before. Not even under the shower. After I took the first beginner class 3 times, the second beginner class 3 times, the third beginner class 3 times, moved to intermediate, and then came all the way back to beginners, I realized … there must be something wrong with the teaching method. So I decided to come up with my own. Salsa … for people who think too much.

Lesson 1 – the upside down umbrella

You dance in a circle, switching partners. By the end of the class, you’ve done the full tour twice and you get a pretty complete and consistent image of yourself:

You’re frowning, you’re angry, you’re thinking too much,
you’re counting, not counting, don’t do it as such,
so wait for the next one, next time, boy oh boy,
now?
Now you’re not good enough.

Let’s skip all the blaming and get things straight – Yes, I’m the guy, Yes, I’m supposed to lead, it’s all on me. Yes, I really, really wanna do things right. Yet here I am, stopping in the middle of a move because I forget where the freaking legs are supposed to be, stuttering back and forth a bunch of times until I think I got the rhythm right (and I look into her eyes – nope, I didn’t). Here I am – hating myself for every clumsy little move, and I put in my google calendar that the next time when I go, I won’t just talk about my mistakes, I’ll make people compliments, but I can’t. I guess that was my first salsa lesson – you cannot make compliments when you’re frustrated.

One evening, at a salsa party I saw a really strange thing. In the middle of the stage, a chair, and a little kid sitting on it. Two larger, heavier kids, were pushing him from the sides, trying to see if they can fit him in smaller space. I could read on his lips, he kept saying, if only I could disappear, if only I could disappear and these two assholes would bump into each other, if only, I could disappear… I ran off to help, but the children vanished.

I looked around, and on my right, there was a girl, who I asked to dance, and for 2 minutes, I forgot all about my salsa mistakes. All I could think of was her hair. Whenever she turned around, her hair raised, weightless, like an upside down umbrella. I didn’t say anything. Back then, I feared that making compliments always has consequences. Instead, she looked at me and said, in the sweetest possible way: you think a lot, don’t you ? It might have been a compliment.

Lesson 2 – the alien

I land. I watch the dancers float on the stage and I am amazed. I make contact with the humans: unbelievable, we have the same five fingers. But what do I say? On my planet, the whole world lives inside my head, but here, your world is too big, and I cannot carry all its emotions. I am … a mirror. An emotional amplifier. You want me to be myself ? If I share the dramas that live inside me, they would crush you. So I break the loop. Instead of reflecting emotions, I transform them. I become a drunken clown, that turns fears into jokes. A colorblind poet, that paints the world with words.

That night, I left early, exhausted from too much thinking. I reached the entrance, and there I saw a man, sitting down, his legs closed, flipping one coin over, and over again, never happy with the outcome. After he flipped the coin a thousand times, I found my courage, and went back to the dancing floor.

Lesson 3 – What did you wanna become as a grown up?

When I was a kid my dream was to become Michael Jordan. My plan was to sit in the sun, all day, until I would turn black. I was pretty sure that if I’m black, I’d play basketball like there’s no tomorrow. So, if right now I am just one shade of brown darker than the average white guy it’s because, well, I gave up too early. But now, for serious, when I was a little kid, what I wanted to become was an extrovert. Many years ago, I used to go to parties, I wouldn’t talk much, but I would say bye – to people I knew, to people I didn’t know. It was the easiest thing to do – I didn’t have to have a half-an-hour conversation after that goodbye (although that seems to happen all the time lately and I love it). Somehow, doing that has become a sort of tradition for me. Because for me, goodbye, is when people get to know me: I am … the child who didn’t disappear. I am the man who flipped the coin a thousand times, the coin that every single time showed, in reflection, his face, to realize that I am … you!

Epilogue

If to be broken,
Is to live in a world,
where only the satisfied are fed,
and you,
you’re so hungry,
that you learn to pretend.

If to be broken is to live life,
like it’s a Mario game,
never making it past the first level,
always falling down into that first pit,
because for some odd freaking reason,
in the those twenty something years of your life,
I had no idea,
that THERE’S A JUMP BUTTON!
that I can skip over pain,
jump over yesterday,
live like a child,
never right,
never wrong,
too small to make sense of any of this,
but still taking the jump,
the bold leap of faith,
and hoping
that one day
I will learn to fly.

Thinking that maybe, maybe the happiest moment of my life
Is right now,
And right now, I am split, spread out,
between the lines,
Between you,
Letting go,
With so many walls torn off,
With nothing to fear,
And nothing to defend,

If that…
if that…
if that is what it means to be broken,
Then broken is what I want to be!