Anyway. Timehop is the reason I know that two years ago, I received a magical gift.
Not just any tango shoes — these are red Comme il Faut tango shoes (aka Come and Fuck Me shoes), the Cadillac of tango shoes. Look at them! HAWT!
These shoes became emblematic of my will to live. I was gonna say Eff You to cancer and learn to dance tango IF IT KILLED ME. Even though by the time I got the shoes, I barely had the strength to stand more than a couple of minutes, let alone dance on 3.5 inch stiletto heels.
I could no longer drive. I lay on the bathroom floor for hours a day, doing 5 daily coffee enemas. I drank ghastly-tasting juices every hour on the hour. I downed pills by the handful. I gave up everything that tasted good or felt like fun. I left the house only about once a week, determined not to lose all my normality, and on Sundays I bundled up in thick layers and let my soulmate lead me slowly around the farmers market so I could feel what it felt like to be real again.
Those red shoes kept me going. One day, I said to myself, I will wear them. Dancing. With my beloved.
The shoes lived in a satin bag in my closet and came out on special occasions, when we held fundraising benefit milongas in the Seattle and Portland tango communities. I sat like a queen in a white dress that bared my impossibly thin arms, and walked slowly backwards to beautiful music on those red Comme il Faut shoes while my beloved made me look good on the dance floor. A good lead can make any woman look good on the dance floor. Those minutes dancing this sensuous and tortuously difficult dance were some of the most sublime and nerve-wracking minutes I ever experienced.
A lot has happened since those shoes came into my life. Two years ago, I did not know if I’d make it to Christmas. To my next birthday. To the next year. Everything had changed for me and I was afloat on a sea that led me farther from the safety of shore and out into what seemed like dark and dangerous stormy waters.
To heal, we navigate the waters of our souls.
I wish I had a Happy Tango Ending for this story but I don’t. Life took another turn and instead, here we are growing love and loving big by the ocean. Two years ago, I did not see this coming, this Bold New Life. But I did see that to truly live, I had to cast off the chains that bound me and to embrace my inner dance.
What are your red tango shoes? What inspires you to throw off your chains and dance?