I Wish Life Was Like Milk Chocolate


photo by alliecooper (flickr)

Dark chocolate is my favorite kind of chocolate.  Of course, I love milk chocolate, too.  It’s very sweet and smooth.  I’m willing to bet that most candy bars I ate as a kid were milk chocolate.  If I had to make an analogy to life, I’d say it’s more like dark chocolate.

I say all this to ease into the real subject: Tommy has returned.  After over a month’s absence, he’s back at the studio.  Actually, he’s been back for several weeks now, but I didn’t post right away because I wanted to figure out how to address this.  Please bear with me as I try to explain how I plan to move forward.  Let’s begin with this: it’s taught me a good life lesson.

I was raised with the analogy of the seasons.  They come as quickly as they go.  That’s what my mother always said to me whenever I was stuck on these issues.  For example, I moved around a lot when I was little because of my father’s job.  I was born in Indonesia and lived there for six years.  Then, I moved to Singapore, where I lived for a year-and-a-half.  From there, I moved permanently to the States. (My family would take vacations to the States when I still lived overseas.)  In the States, I lived in Colorado for three years, and I moved once while there.  Finally, I moved to Texas and have been here for eleven years.

How does this apply to Tommy?  This experience has given me what I hope is a mature awareness of life’s temporality.  I’m at risk of becoming a philosophical sad-sack, so I’ll make this quick.  I desire to move forward acknowledging this fact of life without focusing on it.  The former can cause inappropriate grief while the latter is a recipe for self-induced misery.  Therefore, I plan to cherish the time I have left, understanding that he could very well leave when this year ends.  I never expected him to come back.  Past experience taught me that when an instructor was absent for around a week, they’ve moved on.  This wasn’t just for Tommy, but for others, too.  One particular instructor stayed at the studio for only a couple of days before leaving.

Thinking about these realities sometimes makes me wish life was like milk chocolate.  It would be sweet, smooth, with the occasional Rice Krispies or nuts thrown in for flavor.  Then I really think about it.  The reason I favor dark chocolate over milk is the contrast.  The semi-sweetness and bitterness balance each other perfectly.  So it is with life.  I have been taught that the bad times make the good times even better.  Conversely, the good times help sustain us when conditions get worse.  And, is living a flat life of sheer happiness really that, happiness?  I know the answer already so there’s no point in elaboration.  To close, this is how it is, and I wouldn’t have my chocolate any other way.

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2 thoughts on “I Wish Life Was Like Milk Chocolate

  1. Alaina – I can really relate to your grief at the prospect that Tommy is leaving. A number of instructors have left my studio during the time I’ve been there, and I have mourned the loss of each. There is something about the nature of the instructor-student relationship in dance that may (or may not) be unique. It certainly feels psychologically and physically intimate, and, during lessons, we enjoy the undivided attention of a charming, and likely good-looking, member of the opposite sex to a degree that is hard to come by in real life. And, of course, there’s a dollop of hero-worship in the mix, too. Would love to hear from dancers who’ve done other sports as to whether they consider the teacher-student relation ship in dance similar to player-coach relationship in sports, which I’ve heard can be intense, also.

    • Thanks for your kind words. As of now, he hasn’t left yet, but the prospect of him leaving is always on my mind because I don’t know if the information I conveyed in the linked post has changed. Honestly, I don’t have the heart to ask. It’s better to enjoy what time I have left.

      And, it was a family member that called out my grieving as “inappropriate”, stating that such expressions were best reserved for things like death or divorce. I respect that view and know that I can definitely take it too far, but said family member, as far as I know, was never a part of a sport’s team or took lessons with a fine arts teacher. That’s why I take it with a grain of salt.

      Speaking of athletes, I always used to mentally roll my eyes when the football players at high school talked about their team being a family. I just thought they were being cultish. (I still consider football to be close to the status of religion/cult.) It took years of dancing to find out that they were right. Your sporting family may not be a true family in the emotional or physical sense, but you trust each other and love each other. I do consider my studio to be my “dancing family”, despite the no fraternization policy.

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