Today was a good day. My studio hosted a team match, and due to some good fortune and strict budgeting, I could afford 12 entries. And my anxiety had apparently taken the day off! A few butterflies showed up after the dancing first started, but that was it. I attribute it to the events of the previous day. I had a lesson scheduled and then I was to go to the spray tanning salon to do a test run in preparation for Emerald. I was in an awful mood all day.
I hated that I was going to get a spray tan because I hated what it represented and I hated that I was going through with it anyway. Was ballroom that important? How much do I really love this? I was starting to feel like I was betraying a part of myself. Dramatic I know, how is it any different from all the makeup I put on? Somehow it was different.
After work on Friday, I ran home to “prep.” See, you have to go through a whole process to prepare for spray tanning before you actually get the spray tan. Shower, shave and exfoliate. Make sure you are wearing no lotion, no makeup, no deodorant. I prepped Thursday night and more on Friday after work, before my lesson. I was reminded of Ethan Hawke in Gattaca when he would scrub himself every morning to remove any loose skin or hair that might betray who he really was.
Teacher already had an idea of how stressed I was from my lesson with him on Wednesday and my insistence that I was “fine!” at group class on Thursday. So when I came into the studio for my lesson on Friday, freshly showered and ready to serve my upcoming sentence, he asked me to sit down and talk for a minute.
He asked how I was doing and again I said fine, though I didn’t bother hiding that I most definitely was not fine. He told me to not think about the tanning as something I’m doing for the judges or because it’s expected, think of it as something you do to accommodate the lighting in the ballroom and avoid looking washed out in photos or video. He was trying to help me look at it from a different view because he knew it was not in my nature to do something just because it was “expected.” I told him I thought I looked fine in the videos I had and to be perfectly honest, the only reason I was going through with it was because I was feeling pressured to do so by those around me.
Then Teacher said the two most beautiful words: fuck it. I said the same thing you’re probably thinking now: what? My wonderfully supportive teacher gave me a pardon! He said if I felt this strongly about it, fuck it, don’t do it. He didn’t want to cause me extra stress. He even told me to call the salon right then to cancel my appointment, tell them I was sick or something. And what about Nationals? Fuck it.
Best. Teacher. Ever.
It was like 20 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I could breathe, I could move. It was a great lesson. We worked on the approach at the beginning of each dance and hip movement. And things were clicking. And I felt like I actually employed these learnings at the team match the next day (today).
I know he didn’t have to give me that pardon. He could have said suck it up, it’s not a big deal. He could’ve just been sympathetic and tried to help me get through it. But no, he pardoned me from having to go through it at all. For me, it was an incredible gesture of support and respect. Yes, I know, I could have flat out refused when he first brought the matter up. But I respect him too much as my teacher. If he thinks I should spray tan, then I will spray tan because I trust that he has my best interest in mind. And it was almost surreal to me to be proven right in that trust. I have written about trust and expectations in the past and how I struggle with placing those on other people. So to have someone not disappoint but in fact exceed my expectations…it was hard to express my gratitude.
Today was a good day. I felt really good about my dancing overall, and proud when I caught myself making an error and correcting it right away. And yes, videos have been added to the video page. Let’s dance!