Originally posted with the introductory commentary on January 12, 2017
“I long for the Dance,” is #6 in the “Life in My 20s” series. It was written between 2002 and 2004. In looking back on my earlier poems and prose, this is one of my favorites. It’s hard to believe I’m sharing it more than a decade later.
Though the poem might seem specific to romantic relationships, the words can be used as a metaphor for the many crossroads we come to in life where we have to make a choice to “dance” or sit out. The question for each of us at every crossroad is, if we choose not to dance, why? Is it out of fear of being vulnerable or seen? Or is it true guidance from our intuition telling us another road is better?
What this poem is really about for me are the times where we do “miss the dance” because we’re too afraid, don’t want to risk being vulnerable, we’re too emotionally unavailable, or we think the grass is greener elsewhere. And though this speaks about “the emotions that make [a man] a wreck,” women deal with similar issues and concerns, so it goes both ways in relationships. We’re all humans with stories, and they all have an impact and matter. Our past–the events, words, and interactions–can impact us on a very deep level, whether we realize it at the time or not. And what I see is several of us adults walking around in an attempt to “make it work” with much focus on the other person, when in reality, it’s our side of the fence that also needs work.
What is most painful for me to see and experience is when relationships struggle due to a lack of intimacy and connection that stems from our unwillingness or inability to be vulnerable. Feeling our emotions, especially strong emotions of love and joy, can seem risky; because when we get hurt, the pain can be extreme. Some would rather numb their emotions than feel them, even the good ones, due to this risk; but when we do this, the expense is huge.
Our souls and human-ness need connection and a sense of belonging. We need intimacy and love and compassion. We need for our needs to be met in order to feel loved and cared for. Yet we often hold back our true feelings and words of emotion out of fear of being hurt. I do this in a variety of ways and am attempting to work through why I do it.
Relationships, when cared for, can be the exact thing we need to get us through when life gets tough. I think that might be why those in healthy marriages have a longer life-expectancy–because they’re not going through the stresses of life alone. Though, if we realize we’re all human and can see the person we’re with as human with his or her own struggles, it’s humbling, and the ability to love and have compassion expands. And the more we’re willing to be open and feel our feelings, the more joy, freedom, and support we are able to feel to move us through the tough times together. This requires us to be brave and courageous to work on our own issues, blocks, walls, and fears in order to allow ourselves to truly feel and connect with those we love, and it requires patience while those we love work on theirs if they choose to do so.
I have to laugh a little as I write this, for there are no manuals that are specific to the uniqueness of every relationship out there, and I’m learning as I go, the same as everyone else. I do what I can to remain centered and open while giving and feeling Love and Compassion. And with Faith, I do believe the gift of powerful, purposeful, and loving relationships can and do exist. Being committed to and in a relationship is a choice, and loving someone in the way that they need to be and feel loved and cared for is also a choice. From observation, both in the relationship need to be on the same page about their needs and be willing to give the other what they need without hesitation for relationships to survive and fulfill in the long run.
It’s also important that we love during the hard times as much as we love during the good times.
It’s true that it will always take two to tango, and at some point, if both aren’t willing to dance, then the dance can’t continue in a healthy way. So I hope you choose to dance the dance. I also hope you know when to walk away if you’ve been dancing solo for too long.
And finally, to love deeply is a risk, yes, but it’s a risk worth taking; because I do believe and have Faith that forever after does exist, and the only way we’ll know it is if we’re willing to dance.
“Life in My 20s” Series
#6: I Long for the Dance
You look the same as I had remembered.
I’m going insane, and yet staying centered.
Your eyes are so kind; your smile so sweet.
I’m losing my mind. My heart skips a beat.
I long for your kiss with your hand in mine,
The one that I miss, like the taste of fine wine.
And it is true that I understand,
The need to work through the emotions of a man.
And if there were a potion to keep it in check,
I’d feed the emotion that makes you a wreck.
I miss your breath, the taste of your lips,
The insane depths of your wittiness.
There is no rush; I want you to know,
No need to push, let’s just take it slow.
Let go of the fears of commitment you see.
Please dry my tears, for an asset I’ll be.
It’s simple and true. Give this a chance.
This I beg you… Don’t miss this dance.