It’s no coincidence that I have just written a poem after 22 years of having absolutely no inspiration nor desire to write poetry. When I was barely 16, I was writing lots of poems, mostly on the same subject: love, tenderness, and sensuality. My sexuality was awakening and I was expressing it most beautifully and poetically.
Sadly the object of my affection was a 40 year-old man. I was living my Oedipus, as so many young girls do, by having as a first love someone who resembles their father. All would have been fine had he kept the relationship platonic and encouraged me to mature into a relationship with someone my own age.
But he didn’t. He took advantage of my innocence and vulnerability and seduced me. We were together for two years: two years of at least emotional abuse. I don’t feel comfortable calling it sexual abuse because I never said “no”. But nonetheless, that’s what it feels like, when I remember what we did. And it’s those memories that haunt me, and prevent me from being completely spontaneous and free in matters of sexual passion.
My Jungian analyst said that it was sad that the awakening of my sexuality got mixed up with feelings of shame. That was an eye opener to me. I feel enormous shame that I let myself be seduced… and for two years! I truly believed that I had found the love of my life. I remember telling my mum that I wanted her to be happy for me, for I had finally found someone who loved me, and wanted me. She asked if I was sure that I didn’t just need a father figure. I said I was sure, thereby fooling both of us.
I was under the illusion that I was fully in control, that I was an adult, and that I knew what was best for me. This idea was reinforced by people around us, who held me fully responsible for my actions. I was Lolita, having seduced this innocent older man. I was asked to leave the church (where he led the choir) and the music school (where he gave singing lessons). Nobody held him responsible, it was all my fault. My father still hasn’t forgiven me and blames this for the rift between us. As far as I know, no one asked him what the hell he was thinking being with a 16 year-old!
Now, twenty two years later, I have again access to those tender feelings of transcendent love and desire. This time I am older, and this time these feelings are projected onto someone who I feel is more worthy and better equipped morally to handle them, without crushing my feelings or shaming me. Or so I hope. Through dance I have been able to express some of my tender as well as sensual feelings. And it feels good not to be shamed for it! Having them accepted, but not taken advantage of. I feel a bit like Madonna in her song “like a virgin”, taking it in the emotional sense.
I am gaining access again to a part of myself that has been banished to the depths of my unconscious for 22 years: the part that believes in love, that the world is good. The part where bitterness has no place. A part where I am loveable and appreciated by people. The part that experiences transcendent love and tenderness, a religious or spiritual experience of love. I have access to my soul, my spiritual lover, my animus.
At the same time I am also becoming more comfortable with showing off in dancing, mostly arm movements. I am feeling more elegant and am gaining confidence also in showing myself to the world. At this moment I feel really loved and appreciated. And most of all: inspired! Inspired by you, the sweetest dance teacher I ever had.
xoxo, Cuban salsa girl.