I thought I had more time, but apparently the countdown to USDC, a.k.a. Nationals, has begun. Teacher comes to me at the beginning of our lesson on Wednesday and says “Ok! Two months to go! We need to schedule them! Double lesson on Friday! And then next week…!!” The man was pumped up! And he didn’t slow down once through the whole lesson as he whipped out brand new Viennese waltz and foxtrot silver routines, raced through showing me the steps while also coaching me on the arm styling and shaping, danced them once or twice with me, skipped across the studio to put music on to dance them to music, and then, with a big smile on his face, said “Perfect! How did that feel?”
Uuhh, not perfect. What was the first step again?
You know when you try running one too many programs on a computer and it freezes and you have to manually shut it off and turn it back on, and then it reboots in “safe mode?” That was me by the end of Wednesday’s lesson. Information overload! I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home and I caught myself more than once just staring at the shelves of food that I couldn’t remember if I needed or not.
I went back to the studio on Thursday night to practice and try to figure out the steps from video we had someone record of us dancing the new routines. Well, video of Teacher dancing and me just trying to move my feet with a look of anxiety/utter confusion. I kinda sorta got Viennese waltz. Foxtrot? Forget it.
To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I texted Teacher on Friday morning and implored him to only have one espresso that day. I thought my brain might implode if he was as pumped up on our double lesson as he was on Wednesday.
My brain didn’t implode or melt down. The flow of information on Friday’s lesson was a more controlled stream, rather than a flash flood. I can dance the Viennese waltz routine by myself now. I still can’t quite grasp foxtrot, but at least I can dance it with Teacher leading me.
More than ever now, I am off the edge of the map. Like I wrote before, I’ve never gone for a championship. I just wasn’t that person. I’m still not sure I am that person. I have never thought of myself as a “champion.” I still don’t, not really. It doesn’t seem to matter how many first places I’ve brought home, I still automatically think “no, not me” when I hear someone call me a champion. This mindset is my biggest obstacle as USDC draws closer. I can learn the steps and practice the technique and even improve my styling, but (as cheesy as it sounds) if I don’t really believe in myself and my abilities, I’m screwed. Teacher tells me to stop doubting myself and trust that I know what I’m doing. And I know he’s right. I just don’t know how. Ok ok, let’s try to be a little positive. I don’t know how yet.
One of the worst aspects of negative thinking is its cyclical nature. Even when you try to inject some positive thinking, it takes a serious conscious effort to avoid getting sucked back into the negativity whirlpool. I try to be positive and tell myself I will figure this out, I can do it. But then the demons come back with “how are you going to do something you don’t know how to do? And no one is going to be able to help you.” I have to fight the urge to give up and hide in a corner. Luckily my practical side helps me there. I’ve already booked my flights and my hotel for the trip to Florida, where USDC is held. I work too hard for my money to waste it.
But that leaves me in a very uncomfortable place. I can’t turn back now, but I have no idea how to get to where I want to go. But I also can’t stay where I am. Is this what being a “winner” feels like? Constant doubt and uncertainty? Or is it just me? I suspect my problem is winning is not something I’m accustomed to. I’m not a winner. But I am. First place in my last three comps. No, that can’t be right.
I’m so confused.