Two left legs and a salsa class!

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6:45, said the digital clock on the dashboard of my sliver baby. I could hear its heart pulsating…poor thing! I had driven like a maniac, skillfully weaving through the light Sunday traffic just to reach my destination. The class starts 7 pm prompt on each day of the weekend. Not in a hurry to age exponentially behind my steering wheels, I opted for the Sunday classes. Saturday traffic in my hood leaves one extremely exasperated, putting it mildly. Like the ceaseless ripples of the furious waves of the Atlantic, so does the traffic gridlock extends into all adjoining roads in the axis until it’s a complete standstill with no further space to inch into. Phew!

Contrary to my earlier imagination, the views from my side & rear view mirrors were nothing short of an exodus of a weight-conscious generation seeking respite through salsacise. OK, that’s me exaggerating but quite a number of people had turned up. I couldn’t help but notice a few cute and fit-looking guys amidst them but being a sapiosexual by nature, that may just be the beginning and end of the attraction. The pot-bellied ones were duly represented also. Majority of the dance students in attendance were ladies, ranging in sizes… S to XXL! Some came in appropriately dressed while some simply caused my eyes moments of excruciating visions.

I made my way to the makeshift dance studio located right behind a popular café in town. The patio lounge of the café gets cleared for this purpose. I felt my tummy rumble relentlessly, a sign of nervousness and overwhelming anxiety. Not again! I repeatedly muttered to myself, “just get a grip and have fun, it’s not a competition after all!” I simply couldn’t understand why I felt so much pressure to perform till I remembered my baby sister, as a matter of fact, my baby sisters, yes, them two!!!

Source: Google Images

All through my growing years with them, they perpetually ganged up on me whenever the talk on dance came up. I agree, they are better steppers than I am by default but I honestly do not deserve the age-long title “two left legs”! Even with the physical distance life has imposed on us, a brief run of my dance intent by them over telephone conversations unleashed their venomous jeers once more…major blunder! Adamant and not deterred, this salsa class I will attend. Waiting patiently for the instructors to set-up, I struck conversation with a pair of siblings nearby.

Now, Angel has been dancing salsa a little over two-year and she practically knows all the hot spots in town where to get your salsa groove on. The news of that intimidated me instantly but like the sweet angel she turned out to be, she senses my nerves a mile off and did great justice in calming them. There it was, the needed encouragement for this self-imposed, point-proving daunting adventure I have embarked on. Without soliciting, I got myself a two-man cheer-leading squad for the evening. I went with the intent of inquiring and observing but ended up gyrating.

Being a ‘smartie’ as I was fondly called by an old friend, in minutes I got a good hang of the basics. I was told, to dance salsa, you must keep the count…1,2,3,_,5,6,7 in your head always. In addition, I was shown three other basic steps. Seeing I was getting into the rhythm of it all, I couldn’t help but think about my sisters – my tormentors! My vision of them watching me perform was that of dropped jaws and popped eyeballs, nothing short of Jim Carrey’s act in The Mask! *evil smack*.

The commanding voice of the petite male instructor calling all to fall in line for warm-up snapped me out of my daydream but I didn’t forget to pause their faces on that envisioned state…hehehe! We group danced the electric shuffle to some sultry song and then did some salsa basics to another. I didn’t find the latter as smooth as the former. He kept calling some steps I was completely clueless about, forgetting I’m only but a beginner-duh! Maybe I should have stuck the ‘L’ sticker on my forehead. *rolling eyes*

Source: Google Images

“Grab a partner, grab a partner”, he ordered. Does that include me?, I thought. Before I could say Jack Robinson, I was assigned a partner promptly, one whom everyone referred to as “Mr. Sexy”…eww! In my humble opinion, I had a hard time reconciling the nickname with the figure that stood before me. Need I say more? You could tell he made a concerted effort to colour coördinate his purple & plum combo, don’t ask me in what order! Despite, with extra sensory nasal cavity like mine, I couldn’t help but sniff the stench of old sweat oozing intermittently from him. How shall I cope?, I lamented silently. Honestly, for a moment I wished I was partnering with ‘my man’, one with whom I am guaranteed a mesmerizing fine musky fragrance’. Then, at least, syncing would have been effortless. *sigh*

“Today, we are learning a new dance called Merengue. It involves a lot of hip action!”, he said.  Blah blah blah….on and on he went, giving a fairly rounded background on the origin of the dance. I tried to concentrate on that but I couldn’t. I was more consumed with how I would have to dance with a complete stranger. Admittedly, I suffer a mild degree of OCD (Obsessive compulsive Disorder) as it relates to undesired proximity or nearness to a stranger. Mr. Sexy’s plastered smile unnerved me. Oh! how I wished he could just hide them teeth. Arced lips would have sufficed! I found out much later during the routines he was just being true to self. Bless him!

“Ladies, sway the hips..sway the hips, hold his hips…hold his hips” he barked repeatedly, almost sounding like a broken record as we danced the various routines being taught. Merengue seem a more sensual dance than salsa dance. This I obviously wasn’t prepared for, for day one. I would have loved it more if I had ‘merengued’ with ‘my man’…hopefully someday soon…but it’s all good.

In all, it was an exhilarating experience, one of triumph over the taunting of my tormenting duo, love them to bits regardless. I must say, I was well commended after the class by my two-man cheer-leading squad and both instructors. For a first timer, I excelled. I look forward to the next class, hoping to adapt better and learn a lot faster. I left the dance floor with my heart racing, legs flexing, smile beaming, sweats beading and my mind soaring…loved it! Mostly, I had my bathroom on my mind!

Today, my body is yet to be copacetic. I woke to deeper stings of sore muscles all over. The ones in the bum cheek regions hurt most especially, thanks to excessive swaying but to salsa i will return!

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Ripple effect!

The ocean breeze at 10pm felt so distinctively warm for July. The tropical rains had been quite generous, characteristic of that time of the year. Thankfully, the shores were dry that night. We found a perfect spot and settled down on the gritty sharp sand without much fuss. It would be my first time on a beach at that time of the night with him. This sort of scenario, obviously in a more romantic setting, I had imagined and longed for  since my days of exposure to Mills & Boon. Though I would have preferred it being on the beaches of the Caribbean or somewhere in the Maldives, but alas,  it was the notorious Bar beach along the Lagos shores. I struggled reconciling my cherished imagination with my apparent reality and tried to make the most of my last moments with him. Romance was the furthest thing on my mind.

A wild and adventurous soul he was. He struck my conservative chords, producing harmonies I never thought resided in me. Our talk that night was intense as unforeseen revelations loomed for him. The tides before us busied themselves with the production of an orchestrated symphony of the night. He was my sweet temptation, a distraction from all my unventilated frustrations. My work at that time in my life had been a nightmare but the renumeration was my only consolation and sole motivation. We were work colleagues and he wasn’t oblivious of the every detail of my daily horror. Madam “Boss-zilla” had made real her earlier threats and true to her sworn words, the anticipated promotion eluded me for the second time in a row.

A moment of silence passed as my thoughts drifted. For more than 2 years, I broke sweats daily to constantly save her “behind” from the scrutinizing eyes of management yet her best repayment plan for me was the less than average appraisal she gave me bi-annually. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, something wasn’t adding up. At every available chance, she uninhibitedly displayed unadulterated hatred towards my person. Being an anti-social by default, the lunch room where all the juicy, and mostly, unpalatable office gossips took place was never my favourite destination. However, as fate would have it, I walked in on them talking about the  “three-some saga” brewing that particular afternoon.

Deeply engrossed in their “brain-storming session”,  my presence was seldom noticed. This afforded me the opportunity to hear my own story being told. It was only at this point did the reason for the animosity made perfect sense. It took every ounce of self-control I could muster to keep my cool and the strength of focus of a ready hunter to stay awake. I almost fainted! My blood boiled as beads of sweat formed indiscriminately on my forehead and upper-lip, my armpit and the crease behind my knees weren’t spared. The split unit air-conditioner coupled with the oscillating fan above me was of non-effect! What my ears heard that noon was too much for my fragile heart to handle.

How is this possible? Adrian and Madam “Boss-zilla” engaged???  They rarely spoke. Adrian and I had been dating for almost 2 years, a common knowledge around the office. We spent a lot of time together after work and at the weekends. We talked about her a lot and he never hid his displeasure. So, What was I missing? I even gathered  from the grapevine they had been dating for almost 2 years as well. The sudden wrap of his arms around me startled my thought process and with uncontrollable reflexes, sizzling hot and spicy slaps repeatedly landed on both his cheeks simultaneously…double whammies! He managed to grip my volatile arms as I crumbled like dominoes to the floor.

I desperately wanted to be held  by him yet the thought of his arms around me drove me insane. I long for comfort at the very source of my pain, a paradox to say the least. In my crouched state, I could feel the overwhelming pangs of resentment welling within me, the shame of having been the office joke for so long wasn’t far behind. My soul wrestled in me as it struggled with the effect of 2 years of over-dose on lies and deceit, a measure too deadly for any human soul to sustain health. The phrase, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” meant nothing more than the barking of a toothless bull dog for I was too weak to launch any fury attacks, too dazed to think straight. The one thing I knew as I stood from my crumbled state was the long walk I was about to take from it all.

It’s been three years and four months since that fateful day when I walked away from Adrian, Madam “Boss-zilla”, my vulturous work colleagues and my nightmare of a job. Nothing has changed much. Here I am, struggling with the feeling of unforgiveness which has now graduated into bitterness and mistrust, affecting my relationships on different levels.  Knowing that  Adrian and Madam “Boss-zilla” eventually solemnized their union hasn’t made it any easier. Oh! how deep and  unsearchable is the desperate wickedness resident in the heart of man!

The thoughts of forgiving them for the emotional and psychological torments I ignorantly endured in their hands was one I never entertained. How could I? I am yet to forgive myself for being so vulnerable and undiscerning. Forgiving is the way to heal, this I have heard many times over but isn’t it easier said than done? Could the lack of a deserving closure be responsible for my inability to move on? How does one forge ahead having experienced such level of deception? It’s been three years, four months and counting… deep in the abyss of despair I remain.

Source: Google Images

Nubian’s Thoughts:

Logical reasoning would justify our determination not to forgive  some  specific  wrongs done against us. However, in my sojourn in life so far, I have come to the realization that forgiveness is a willful act that can only be fostered by a deep understanding of  it as a gesture of benevolence to an undeserving soul, so to say.

Choosing to forgive truly liberates. It facilitates the healing process and makes you the better person. To forgive self is the first step on the road to recovery. You need to be in a healthy frame of mind and being to extend a hand of  healing to another. 

Even with the knowledge of this, I have had to deal with some stubborn stumps of unforgiveness in specific situations at some point in my life too. One thing that helps me through it  is  an illustration I heard many years back. It is impossible to hold something down and at the same time move away from it. Same is the case when we hold others down in unforgiveness. Liberation becomes evasive. Progress is impeded.

 Unforgiveness is cancerous to the human soul. It eats you up and literally sucks life out of you. It is pointless holding anyone down in unforgiveness. I have come to realise that the unforgiving person hurts more than the unforgiven on the long run. The ripple effect it generates in one’s life can’t even be compared with the devastating effect of a vicious hurricane storm.

Asides the deposits of hate, bitterness and resentment it leaves on the soul, unforgiveness can sometimes turn us into the very character we despise in our offenders. Long after the departure of the offender, we may be left with a prolonged battle within that could span over many years of preventable misery.

I leave you with these thoughts;

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”  -Katherine Ponder

“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.”  -Anonymous

“Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to    people in its own way and time-just like it does for you and me.” – Sara Paddison

“The key to forgiveness is to forgive from the heart, not from the mind.” -Sheri Rosenthal 

Let it breathe…

We were welcomed by the regular chaos on the high street as Linda and I stepped out of the office for lunch. The sun was out in all its glory, scorching us bitterly as we made a brisk five-minute walk to our regular café. The unrelenting smack on her face gave her away, I knew she had something up her sleeves. Quickly, we ordered some sinful delights without caution nor consideration for the possible side effects. Let the scales deal with that!

The first bite barely made it into my mouth before she launched her attack. Like Russian missiles on a deadly mission, her questions, observations, suggestions and brilliant hook-up idea kept pouring in. The thought of an impending hook-up thrilled me. I must confess, a hopeless romantic I am! The greasy meal that laid before me was barely touched and fast running cold as I mopped every juicy detail of Ken with eager anticipation. In my usual self, I was already standing next to a faceless Ken at the altar. Hopeless “desperado” I hear you say. Whatever!!!

Come friday same week, my status update read “TGIF”, right across all my social media platforms. I mean, my tweet, Facebook update, bbm update…name it. It meant much more than the last work day of the week for me this time around. I was super crazy excited. Linda had arranged “the Ken and I” hook-up for the day, yay! Concentration at work was a lost battle with spasms of day-dreaming filling most of my unproductive hours. The plan was, to be picked up by Ken from my workplace at half six in the evening. He was right on time.

My heart raced faster than Hamilton’s car on Formula 1 track as my phone rang and his name stared right back at me. Trembling as I picked his call, I managed to comport my vocals as he announced his arrival. Hurriedly, I dashed out of the office and with every strength I could muster, slowed down and walked gracefully toward him. His smile was endearing, that melted my heart permanently. The evening was fast spent with every second invested in knowing more about each other. Every single evening of the subsequent days became our haven, our ritual, our private tradition. Asking me to write a mini biography about him wouldn’t be a tall order.

It’s now three weeks and two days since I met Ken and it feels like the “relationship” is stuck in a blurry spot. I need to know what we are doing. We are getting too invested in this or is it just me. I boldly asked Ken the next evening where exactly is the destination of all these. He communicates with precision but his response on this occasion was incoherent. He developed an instant case of chronic stammer. This has now left me apprehensive.

I ran my thoughts by Linda the next day at work and I was taken aback with her response. “Dora, I think it’s rather too soon to query such”, she said. In my defense, I told her how much time we have been spending together and how he ticks a lot of my boxes and how open he is in communicating. “What if he has said all he wants to say to you already?” , she asked. This gave me rude jolts.

I spared her the details of the wedding plans I was already making for “us” and how his stalling is frustrating progress. Linda’s response basically threw the spanner in the works. Needless to say, the daily hang-outs after work is fast on a decline.

I think I might have blown it again! *sigh*

Source: Google Images

Nubian’s thoughts:

I am of the opinion it is imperative to inculcate a habit of taking matters of the heart slow and steady. It is an innate nature of humans to get thrilled and excited about the prospect of meeting or hanging out with a new person. However, it is not uncommon to get carried away in the euphoria of that moment which in most cases cloud our sense of reason and judgment. Yes, there is always an exception to the rule but I do not believe it happens in everyone’s situation as a lot of people would like to claim. It is possible to comprehensively understand the principles of a business theory, an application, a craft, a script, a storyline in three weeks but not an individual! Man as a specie (not just the male gender) is far too complex for absolute comprehension within such time-line.The most we can get are impressions which could be easily flawed with time.

The passage of time reveals a whole lot and there is no gimmick we can play to fast-track that. We are  pretty much disposed to  putting our best foot forward at the beginning, for every man serves the best wine first. However, with the passage of time, guards would be let down eventually. It is only a matter of time before the walls of pretense come tumbling down (if any).

Naturally, fondness is bred through consistent association with a particular person but the fact remains, you cannot base crucial life altering decisions on three weeks of fraternizing. There are many hurdles to  leap over before getting to that final one. I am yet to see an athlete being rewarded for not completing his leaps in a typical 110m hurdle race. It is understandable that pressures from various quarters can involuntarily force people to go over these hurdles haphazardly or boycott it altogether but it is a gamble that is yet to pay off for most.

I see and hear from so many “Doras” on a regular basis. One common denominator I have observed about them is the deliberate act of loosing all sense of reasoning, forcefully willing a serious relationship out of every potential hook-up. We all tend to give the impression as people with set rules,values and standards when discussing what we want in a partner but quite a number of us quickly compromise the same set rules, values and standards in real-life scenarios. It is absolutely impossible to acquire a reasonable overview of another for the purpose of critical analysis within such short period of time. Talk is cheap, anybody can say anything to you but only time would allow you sift the wheat from the chaff. Choosing to be under-analytical is detrimental to say the least.

I could go on and on but at this point, I’d rather drop my final two cents for the many “Doras” out there while I await yours as well:

Let it breathe…

Allow the passage of time to guide your sense of judgment and reason through the process. We all at some point compromise but it really should be done for the right reasons, with the right kind of person for you.Do not be quick to make blind justifications nor get caught in the web of clichéd expressions. You need to keep your wits about you even as your heart flutters and imagination accelerates. Constantly take cautious steps back for the sole purpose of re-analyzing and evaluating the ongoing dynamics of your alliance with that person. Set standards if you’ve got none, get better ones if you’ve got some. Be less driven by the motivation to get to the altar at all costs without putting into consideration the quality of the yarns you are gathering to create your marriage tapestry.

I say again, Talk is cheap! Do not get carried away by that which is vocalized, for with practice, anyone can perfect the art of speaking without intent. Actions speak tons and it is only with time can you, almost without effort, create the opportunities for various scenarios wherein you can see one another react without inhibitions. Only then can you draw reasonable conclusions.

Let it breathe!