Ballroom dancing is a drug. And like any good addictive drug, it gives you an amazing high for little cost. At first. But soon you find yourself needing more and spending more to maintain that high. And as with other drugs, ballroom dancing comes with side effects.
I’ve been an addict for a little over two years now and have no intention of giving it up! I have encountered some interesting side effects. Some were expected, like benefits to my health, but others came as a surprise.
1) I have made some great friends! Support is so important on this journey, and it’s so motivating, rejuvenating and thrilling to support and be supported by people on the same journey. I get so energized when I’m able to share my dancing with others. And considering I have limited stores, anything that gives me energy instead of taking it is awesome.
2) Within the first six months of dancing, I dropped two jean sizes! The weight loss according to the scale wasn’t much, somewhere around five pounds. But my body had slimmed and toned with all of those stretching and sustained movements. The downside was none of my clothes fit me anymore! Add another cost to the list.
3) My overall mood has improved. The energy I get in dancing is so positive, it is difficult to stay grumpy on bad days. And I have frequent “bad days.” Or at least I used to! I owe a big part of this to my teacher. He’s so focused and encouraging during our lessons, whatever emotional baggage I carried into the studio that day gets forgotten within the first 10 minutes.
4) I grew an inch! No joke, I used to measure at 5′ 4.5″. During a recent visit to the doctor, I was 5′ 5.5″. It’s amazing what improved posture will do.
5) I have been forced to face some deepset insecurities and fears. This one was unexpected. I thought I was just learning dance steps, but it turns out I’m also learning to trust, be vulnerable, open myself to subjective criticism, and express emotions that I normally hide from public eyes.
6) My clothing tastes have changed to center around what I can dance in.
7) I can’t listen to music anymore without trying to figure out what dance I could do to it and if it would be a good practice song.
8) The way I carry myself has changed to the point that strangers ask me if I’m a dancer. I admit I get a total ego boost from this question.
9) My view of money has changed. I used to think in terms of gas and food. Now I think in terms of lessons and comp entry fees. Dance lessons are a line item in my monthly budget.
10) Phrases like “you should be inside me” and “give me your boob” sound completely normal to me.
11) The choreography for my different dances is constantly running through my head, especially the pieces that I’m still struggling with. Sometimes it’s hard to resist the urge to practice my open fan in front of the big bathroom mirror at work.
12) Withdrawal is a bitch. If I go even a week without going to the studio, it feels like I’ve been gone for months. No lessons for two weeks? I think I’ll forget everything I learned.
Any of these sound familiar? Let me know what side effects you’ve experienced!