The tango community is a cold and cruel bunch.
I heard the other day that they still gossip about Jaimes and I now, years after we're done. What do they say after all this time? Apparently some people think I planned it all to be this way. Just like this.
Raising a child basically on my own?
An over-controlling ex who started sleeping with a close friend of mine when my baby was months old and eventually left me for her, and who tries as hard as he can to dictate every detail of my life even now? Who is condescending and mean, who has no respect for me, who disappears for days or months at a time, leaving me to find a way to explain to Ravenna that I know she wants to see him, but he's not around, I have no way to get ahold of him, and I don't know when he will next have time for her?
I planned it to be exactly like this. Every last detail. Because this is awesome. I couldn't imagine a better situation.
If I had PLANNED anything, I would have planned to stay with Evan. I was so happy with Evan. He created joy in my life.
It's just as well that we did not stay together - he has thrived since we split, grown and matured and really settled in his life, in ways that maybe he never could have had he still been here with me. But for me, if I had planned anything back then, I would have planned to have stayed with him.
Instead, I let Jaimes sweep me back away. Look where that got me.
So there's that.
The gossips sure got that right.
Then there are logistics. I can't be around Jaimes. I can't be around Christa. There is too much baggage. And they both have too little care and too little respect for me as a person. It nearly always ends up badly for me, much better for me to just keep a distance and firm boundaries. I want to enable Ravenna to have a loving, functional relationship with her father, but for myself, I need distance and space.
This means that a number of tango events and opportunities that I might normally be drawn to are off limits. For my own sanity and well being I have to stay away.
And having a two year old child 24/7, 7 days a week, 12 months a year, makes it that much more difficult, logistically, to get out. Even if she is incredibly adaptable. Even if she is amazingly tolerant about going out to these things and keeping odd hours and allowing me some space when we are out to maintain and nurse my relationship to this dance. It's still hard to find the time. And to balance everything.
Then there are the dances themselves, when I am able to make it out.
Once in a while I go out, I connect really well with my partner, I lose myself in the music, I feel that I am expressing myself to all my potential, and I remember why it is that I love this music and this dance and everything that has kept me all these years.
But that is rare. Most times, nobody asks me to dance.
Then when I ask, if I ask, maybe they will dance with me. But often only for a few songs, and often projecting an attitude that they are certainly doing me a great favor.
I used to think that it was because I was so often there with Ravenna and people didn't know how to ask me in the context of me being with her. But it's so much of the time, and it's just as much when I find somebody to spend the evening with her and I go out on my own as it is when I am out with her in tow.
Yes, I am out of shape in the dance. I don't have the control over my body to execute technique and movement to the degree that I would like. It doesn't help that I don't have the opportunity to dance much, to get that feeling and control back into my body. Even when I go out to the practices and the dances this remains the case. I spend 3 hours at a practica, of which I get to dance maybe 10, 20 minutes. This is not enough to tone a body. So the situation perpetuates.
Body tone aside, I still have the knowledge. The want. The desire. The love of the music. The love of the aesthetic.
But it doesn't seem to matter.
I didn't spend six years of my life learning this dance so that I could go out and feel like everyone around thinks I am not worth dancing with!
So tonight, for instance:
Tonight was a good night. I was happy. Earlier on, I taught a lesson. It felt so good. I had a feeling of being grounded and in touch with my body.
So a bit later, Ravenna and I stopped in at the practica, and I was in high spirits.
The practica - I'm there, people there come up, say hello, they are friendly, but then they look at me with these shifty eyes that say, "Please don't put me in a position where I feel obligated to dance with you, I really don't want that...and oh! Over there, I have to go, there is somebody I'd be upset if I were to miss dancing with tonight."
Not one. Not a few. Most.
Most people. People I have known for years. People I have often quite enjoyed talking to, interacting with, and yes, dancing with.
I started in such high spirits, but I left the dance in tears.
This is typical of my tango experience these days.
Why do I keep going? I don't really know. But nights tonight I feel like it's my own damn fault if I end up feeling this way again, if I'm dumb enough to continue to go out. Like, really, it's maybe just time to sever my relationship with this dance.
Not because of the dance - I love the dance, I love the music - but because of the community. This cold community of people that make me feel so unwelcome. I'm some sort of idiot if I keep letting that into my life. I have good friends, other artistic outlets, great things in my life...tango just sullies it and brings me down.
So maybe I'm approaching the end.