Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why I Dance

Last night, I learned to dance the Meringue'. I joined a class for people that want to learn Latin Dance. The group meets on Friday evenings.

If someone were to casually ask me why I'm doing this, I would probably respond that I was doing this for myself, that I like to learn new things, that I've wanted to learn this for a long time, and now is a good time.

Although all of those statements are true, I would be lying if I said that I was only doing this for myself.

By nature, I don't enjoy doing things for myself; I actually prefer to do things for other people. I've been working on overcoming feelings of self-denial for more than two decades, but I still find it difficult to do things for myself, especially when I am by myself.

Q: If a man is neither selfish, nor afraid, what is his motivation?
A: Helping others? Feeling appreciated? Duty and honor?

For the past twenty years, I have been a single dad. During that time, I found motivation in being a good parent. Protecting my child, setting a good example for him, nurturing him, and encouraging him to become the person that he was born to be. And so, when he turned 19 at the end of 2006, I found myself searching for new sources of motivation.

I tried the "drinking buddies" thing. Spent $1200 on a big party in the atrium of a local hotel. Bought lots of booze, trophies for people that wore costumes (it was a Sci-Fi convention, after all), bought decorations, special lighting, arranged for a DJ, etc. It was fun, but it didn't work for me. Sure, I was the host, the center of attention, and everybody loved the party. But it didn't really seem motivating to me. It motivated me beforehand, but not afterward. It wasn't something that I wanted to continue.

In March of 2007, I went on a vacation. I knew this would be one of the last vacations that I would be able to take with my son, and it was a total Sci-Fi overload (we toured the studios where StarGate SG-1 and StarGate Atlantis were filmed, and we listened to and met several of the actors from the shows. The event lasted three full days, and it was awesome.) On day two of the event, I found my source of motivation.

WOMEN. Powerful motivation for the male species. Not the sole motivation, but definitely one of the most powerful. We learn these lessons from Animal Planet: the female is typically stronger and deadlier than the male. The male goes to great lengths to attract a mate. Showing off, dancing, singing, fighting and posturing with other males. In some cases, dying. The Peacock, the Lion, the Black Widow. We are made of the same stuff.

WOMEN. From the human perspective, and psychologically speaking, my own motivation to please women probably comes from early childhood 'mother issues'. My mom was unhappy during those times, and I tried my best to make the situation better. I was already a good son, but I knew that as "man of the house", I had an obligation to protect and nurture my family. It shaped me into the man that I am. I have no regrets. I like who I am. I define myself as someone who lives and loves to serve other people, especially women and children.

WOMEN. Like many other things that I do, I'm learning to dance with the end goal of making myself more pleasing to women. I want to become the perfect partner, the ideal man, a worthy and attractive mate. I want to become the kind of partner that a woman yearns to be with, someone that she is proud of, someone that she wants to commit herself to. To date, my efforts have been less than successful, but I can change myself, and I am going to continue to make myself better and better, until my some day, some woman, somewhere, comes to claim me as her own.

So I joined a class for people like me, people who have no idea how to Cha-Cha, Salsa, or Meringue'. (I don't know why I picked Latin Dance - it just seems romantic to me.) I drove through a blizzard to get there, but I was determined. I was motivated.

I could have sworn that I had two left feet going in, but at the end of the lesson, I was doing okay. There were some older couples there, and I expected that, but I was relieved to find that I wasn't the only person who showed up without a partner. Thankfully, a couple of High School girls were there to get credit for a Spanish class that they're taking. (Hey, at least I didn't have to dance alone). I'm a quick study, and I learned. Two more lessons, and we'll all go out to a public place to try our skills for real. I'm excited.

Accomplishments to date that I attribute to the influence of women: (1) Lost forty pounds of weight. (2) Started writing. Began with this journal, and in the near future, will try my hand at a fictional novel. (3) Fixed up my house; not completely done yet, but looking really pretty. (4) Learning to dance.

I get the credit for actually taking the initiative and DOING these things. Changing one's self is not an easy thing; it takes a lot of courage and discipline. I get credit for that. But the motivation would not have been there, were it not for women.

(Thank you, ladies)

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