Last night was the Snowball dance which was held on the top floor of a downtown hotel. The hotel is not the best but it did offer a nice view of the Christmas lights. I will describe it in more detail in another post; I’ll just say here that I had a lot of fun and stayed out later than I normally do so I’m dragging a bit today.
But, there was a small thing that I want to talk about separately. I’ve got to do two solos and our mini formation tonight so I need to be on my game and so I’m taking this opportunity to use the blog as therapy to just put the thoughts out there to clear my head.
At each table was a Christmas card with your name on it. The instructors had all written little notes in each card. Kid T took up the entire top half of the card with some really nice things. OwnerGuy started by talking about how happy he was about how I overcame the “adversity” and how I’ve still improved my dancing.
It probably would have been best if the source of my adversity had simply chosen to right “Happy Holidays” or some other bland greeting but she didn’t. I guess I can’t blame her because we’ve not spoken since the break up and I guess you can’t totally ignore it. But her money line was that her only regret was that I believed she didn’t care about me or my dancing.
You are probably wondering why I would even care after all this time. That relationship was important to me. Despite all the problems and fights, I still felt we had a bond. To find out that it wasn’t real to her was devastating. It hurts. It still hurts. I spent the last 8-9 months of dancing with her in a state of denial trying to figure out a way to patch something that was broken beyond repair. It was only when I realized that and also figured out that staying in that relationship was toxic and damaging, that I found the strength to end it. They say time heals all wounds but the healing can leave scars so maybe you are never really whole again.
The ending was so abrupt and ugly that I think I’ve held out this hope that we could have some sort of reconciliation. I don’t want to be her student again; I can see from how she treats the others that she hasn’t changed her ways or her methods and those are still toxic to me. But the idealistic dreamer in me would still like to believe we could put some of that behind us. The tension in the studio that I feel is a distraction. The silence between us doesn’t need to be there. It feels like we could be civil to each other.
Now, I know some of you are saying that somebody has to be big enough to make the first move so why don’t you do it. That’s a very good question. And my simply answer is self-preservation. I’m not about to open myself up to her again if she’s not going to be receptive. I simply get the sense that she’s not open to it and has no interest in any sort of relationship. I know from experience that she can and does hold grudges.
You could argue that she’s feeling some of the same thing I am but that’s why what she said on the card is so important and illuminating. During the stormy time in our relationship, she was always telling me how I felt or what I thought about everything. I would try to argue with her since I should know how I feel or what I thing but it never got anywhere so I gave up. When I’d try to share feelings, she would invalidate them by telling me I was wrong that I couldn’t feel that way. So it always came back that whatever was happening was all on me. I spent that time feeling guilty and hating myself for not being different.
So if someone wants to reconcile, the Christmas card is the perfect opportunity. Even if one doesn’t want to come out and ask, the proper phrasing leaves the door open. For example, imagine if it said “my one regret is that we couldn’t get past our personality differences and continue dancing together.” See how different that is? It makes it a shared failure and expresses true remorse and gives me the opportunity to say something similar. There is a place to start a dialog if I so choose. If not, then it is really on me.
But think again about what she really said. Her one true regret is what I think?!? Or maybe it is more accurate to say that her one true regret is her perception of what I think. Where does one go from here? I see only three possible paths:
- Accept her premise that my thinking was wrong and apologize for ever doubting that she cared about me or my dancing.
- Don’t accept her premise and try to convince her that I believe she cared but that there were other reasons we couldn’t work together anymore.
- Reject her premise and point out all the examples that helped me believe she didn’t care about me anymore.
See a winner anywhere in that list? Sure, she wins big in option #1 but I lose. The third option would guarantee an ugly scene and nobody wins. Option #2 has some potential but if she has already created a reality that I left because I assumed she didn’t care anymore, then I don’t see a chance because she’s not really open to listening to things that disturb her world view of things.
In other words, I still don’t feel that we can just come to an agreement that our personality differences prevent us from working together but that we have enough history that we should still be able to talk with each other. And maybe dance with each other at groups without it being painful. I shall have to cope with the internal disharmony this creates.