Love is not Love
Elita Sohmer Clayman
Shakespeare said it well in Sonnet 116 though sometimes it
is hard for the average person to decipher what he meant.
Here are a few lines from 116
Love is not love
When it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove
O!no It is an ever fixed mark.
I am no Shakespearean scholar by any means. However I am
interpreting it this way and possibly I am wrong. He means
that when we love and things change, we still have to love
and not be influenced by that change. We do not remove it.
We have loved and will
continue to love when changes appear. We do not let it leave
us for any reason at all.
This can be applied to our ballroom dancing in a way. Many
of us take lessons with a coach and that costs lots of
money. Many of us as seniors do not have the money to lay
out for this hobby. It starts out as purely fun and to some
of us that is not enough. We want more. We want to compete,
we want to showcase in front of our dancing peers and lastly
we want to excel in it for our own ego.
So we love this hobby or event or happening in our present
life and we do not want to alter it in any way. We do not
want to bend because it is a fixed mark in our today’s life.
As seniors, we need this thing called ballroom dancing
because it enhances daily living, is a good exercise tool
and it increases our kindness towards our self. We see our
own being as a distinct and different person when dancing
against the person we are in our daily life.It is as though
we are two disparate personalities. We are family people and
then we take on the personality of a different identity.
That is good because we now are two special persons instead
of the usual one.
Many of us look forward to this thing called dance that has
entered our life and taken over it with great speed. The
first night we took a lesson together, we went down to a
record store to buy ballroom dance records. In those days,
they were the large plastic ones which now are outdated and
give way to tiny discs called DVDs. We bought about five
ballroom dance records recorded for Arthur Murray Dance
Studios which was a prominent dancing school. I was so proud
to carry the bag from the record store into the house
because it made me feel special that night.
We went downstairs to the large family room in our home and
moved the furniture and practiced that night what we had
learned. By then, it was like eleven o’clock in the evening
because we had gone out after that first lesson for dinner.
The dinner was for our daily eating and also a celebration
of the new thing we had accomplished that night.
We tried so hard to remember what the coach taught us and
then we decided from then on, we would take notes and then
eventually I brought along a small audio recorder and
recorded the lesson. There were no recording devices called
camcorders then. So we relied on the audio tape and to hear
the coach explaining the steps etc. It helped some and along
with the written notes, we could practice.
I remember one day when my husband went to work and I was
waiting for the time to go and pick up my son and daughter
at school. I tried to practice myself and thought my
goodness, what have I gotten us into? I had gotten into in
reality the most promising thing I could attain as a couple
and also for our mental and physical health. We were in our
forties then and imagine now what it does for our health now
Every time I watch Dancing with the Stars, I think of what
we have accomplished. No flashy dances, no short and
revealing costumes, no artificial smiles and no judges to
put us down. We have achieved and brought to fruition the
magic of show business coupled with the magic of being
ballroom dancers. In so doing, we have attained a high
perspective into how exciting and illuminating this activity
can be perpetual, never ending and eternal.
I have many email pals that dance and that is how we became
those email pals. I have never met more than one friend from
my email list. I feel like I know them as well as I know
other friends. I have pictures of them so I can place a
picture face with the written email message. We discuss our
families, our health, our dancing and best of all that we
are all in this community of dancing. No matter how old we
are, we are in the best society of them all- we are ballroom
dancing people and we know we love it and we need no
appraiser to judge us and to tell us how poorly we are doing
or how good we are dancing.
We know that ourselves and as our dancing improves and
our confidence soars; we too will be as Shakespeare said not
having our love altered or bending or removed because it is
an ever fixed mark. A mark so bright we can see it with our
eyes closed. Our eyes are open now and wide because we are
at this point in our senior lives and we know for sure that
this is love in a pure state. We adore this dancing part of
our life and we are proud to display it and tell of it.
Shakespeare was not talking about our activity, we know we
have hit the mark and we are satisfied.
I am no Shakespearean maven but I can sum it up as this:
Ballroom dancing alters our life in a most positive way, so
much so, that the alteration is with us forever.
Elita Sohmer Clayman