Ever have one of those days where you just want to yell “I swear I’m better than this!” because the current evidence is indicating otherwise? Yeah, that was me during my last lesson.
I was such a good student. Arrived at the studio an hour before my scheduled lesson time. I did my stretches and I did a round of my bronze routines AND my silver routines, all on my own. The silver was a little questionable because I still don’t have all of the steps, angles, directions, etc. without Teacher leading me. But I got through them.
Then my lesson started. We were working on silver.
Waltz wasn’t too bad, the emphasis was head weight. Pretty sure I’ve got the hang of it, just need to keep reminding myself to stretch, stretch, stretch! Foxtrot was sorta kinda ok? I know the steps better now but I need to remember to stay lower and when to do a heel lead and when to do a toe. Tango. Ha! I’m slow where I should be fast and too fast where I should wait for Teacher’s signal. Silver tango is fast-paced and intense. It’s really fun when my brain and body are cooperating like they should! It was not one of those days.
I’m a little disappointed in myself with Viennese waltz, even though Teacher says don’t be. After we tried to run through the silver Viennese routine and didn’t make it because steps came up faster than I expected so I stumbled through them, he said he thought we should just stick with what we use for bronze. Again, the silver routine is fast-paced and apparently, some of the new moves are making me think too much and the confusion shows on my face and obviously, in my body. Teacher doesn’t want it to be a source of stress for me at the competition, which I appreciate. But, even though he said I shouldn’t think like this, I can’t help but feel a little bit of a failure. He choreographed the routine based on what he thought I could do. And it turns out I can’t. Or as the demons keep whispering in my head, I’m not good enough.
I know I’m leaving out an important word: YET. Just because the move is a challenge for me now doesn’t mean it will always be. Just needs some more time and more practice. But of course, I always expect myself to be perfect or near perfect. Which is nonsense, but I do it anyway.
I love the challenge of learning new things and the triumph when I succeed. But I get very frustrated when I don’t succeed in the time frame I set for myself. I don’t know how I determine this time frame, but I know when I’ve exceeded it. It’s an issue that comes up again and again for everyone, this high expectation of self.
We need to give ourselves a break! To err IS human!
We all tend to be unsympathetic and harsh with ourselves while striving to be understanding and lenient with others. Why don’t we get the same courtesy? It’s one of the golden rules, right? Treat others as you would like to be treated. Somehow we forget that it doesn’t stop with others, we need to treat ourselves as we would like others to treat us too.
I know I’ll enjoy doing the bronze Viennese at USDC. It’s fun and I feel strong in it. I’ll do my best to listen to Teacher’s insistence that having three silver routines down is already an accomplishment. And try to ignore the whispers of “not good enough” coming from dark corners inside my skull.
Another accomplishment I need to accept is that I am learning to recognize when I’m reaching that point of frustration for not meeting my absurdly high expectations. I’m learning when I need to just take a break.
To my pleasant surprise, this week was not the last week for pre-USDC lessons. Teacher is fitting me in for a few more before, during, and/or after another competition he’s attending next week. I know I will need to practice more by myself in the next week, but I also know I need to be very aware of my state of mind. Sometimes a night spent at home with my puppies is just as important as a night spent at the studio. It all comes down to maintaining that delicate balance!
Balance this weekend will mean taking a break. I can feel myself teetering on the edge of the darkness again and the happy thoughts aren’t quite strong enough to keep me from falling. So I’m going to retreat a little and focus on something else. Specifically, some cool changes and new projects for the Girl with the Tree Tattoo! Stay tuned!