i have a natural propensity to create an endless barrage of lives for myself, a habit i began forming at a young age. my family traveled a lot (for which i consider myself very blessed), and i never lost time inventing a life for myself everywhere we went. in hawaii, i took hula lessons from a professional dancer at our hotel and decided i really had quite the lei-and-luau future beckoning me; in Aruba, i was sure i had the knack to pad around barefoot on the beaches all day and deftly weave intricate braids into little girls’ hair; on multiple occasions, i regained my sealegs and was sure i’d make a fabulous catamaran driver/lifeguard/snorkel instructor/cocktail waitress/tour guide. a cross country trip at age 14 that landed me in a resilient raft on the Salmon River braving white water and enjoying gourmet meals cooked by our raft guides more than convinced me that the wilderness was my playground and yes, i was absolutely meant to be a raft guide somewhere out west. Colorado turned me into a snowboard bum, and California convinced me i’d make a perfect surfer.

and in Punta Cana, i learned once-and-for-all that my destiny somehow involves salsa dancing. i’ve become somewhat of a broken record over the past couple years in my empty claims that i will learn to salsa, that i must learn to salsa, that i’m DYING to learn to salsa…and then never acting upon it and seeking out lessons or buying Salsa for Dummies DVDs or investing in a Latin music collection that would inevitably spur me to move my feet.

until last night. finally, i made it to a salsa social (at my brother’s suggestion – we’ve decided to learn together, comforted by the fact that we can laugh at each other and not have to look like amazing dancers for strangers who are just dying to twirl us around the dance floor without being hindered by our lack of salsa savvy-ness).

and i loved every second of it. sure, i wasn’t great, and that’s a big pride issue for me — i have to overcome the fact that people are much better than i am in a lot of areas in which i’d love to excel, and force myself to simply take baby-steps toward achieving goals i’d like to tuck beneath my skin. yes, i want to be a salsa dancer, but wanting it is never enough, and i actually had a blast laughing at myself and trying again and again to get down a few basic steps (while other Latino and not-so-Latino experienced salsa dancers shook their hips and spun around the dance floor like their feet owned the night). i won’t always be the best at everything, and i certainly won’t do everything well the first time — but that’s okay. and i’ll keep trying.

and i will learn to salsa, thankyouverymuch. and i’ll love learning to laugh at myself as i get through this whole process of chewing on my humility and stepping on other people’s feet along the way.

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