Fun fact: yesterday was my 100th post on the Girl with the Tree Tattoo! I was so tired last night that I didn’t realize it until WordPress sent me a notification. The website has only been up for about 8 months. I’m feeling accomplished!
There are only a few days left of the writing challenge. I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed the daily writings, and if you’re new to the site, I hope you’ll stick around after this challenge ends. Don’t expect any new activity on November 1 though! Honestly, I’m ready for a break.
Today I wanted to talk about trust and its critical role in ballroom dancing.
In my article on partnering, I listed trust as one of three key factors for a successful dance partnership. Trust is a funny thing. It is almost like a house of cards, built up slowly over time, but one wrong move can make the entire structure collapse. It’s very fragile, but at the same time, it holds very strong influence over us. We are willing to give so much of ourselves to those we trust without question.
In ballroom dancing, you have to trust your partner. You have to trust in their ability to dance and lead or follow (depending on your role). On a more emotional level, you have to trust them to respect you as you allow them into your personal space. The physical contact required for ballroom dancing (another key factor) can make you feel extremely vulnerable. It takes trust to ease that feeling and make you feel comfortable enough to dance well.
Everyone has gone through some sort of betrayal or disappointment in their life; broken trust in one person can affect your willingness to trust others. Trust is a huge challenge for me. When I first started with Teacher, I had a huge wall up. My previous teacher had essentially fired me as a student without explanation. About a year later, I finally got an explanation from a third party, but in the meantime, my trust in the dance teacher figure was shattered and I stayed very guarded with my current teacher, just in case he decided to fire me out of the blue too.
Two years later, after more feelings of betrayal from my life outside ballroom, my trust demons still affect my dancing with Teacher. I was getting frustrated with myself in foxtrot this week because I couldn’t stay connected with Teacher as we went into pivots. The force of the rotation pulled me away from him and I couldn’t figure out how to counter it. Teacher reviewed (again) the importance of keeping my left side, specifically my boob, toward him. I kept trying and kept feeling like a failure, and then Teacher observed that I would still sometimes “shy away” from him when we were in closed hold. Which meant I would let my chest fall so my boobs weren’t pushed up against him like they were supposed to be. Even when I thought I was being very conscious about maintaining that connection, subconsciously I was still guarded. It’s been two years! And Teacher has never given me a reason to mistrust him.
It’s no joke that ballroom will bring out all of your fears and insecurities. Even though I’m aware of my trust issues, I acknowledge and work on them, and I write about them, I’m still surprised to find out how much they continue to affect me. Sometimes I feel bad that I can’t make myself feel comfortable enough to do everything Teacher asks me to do. I feel almost guilty that he has to deal with the fallout from damage caused by others. It doesn’t seem fair.
But there has been noticeable progress. Teacher is patient and doesn’t seem to mind dealing with my demons. As I rebuild my house of cards, I realize that the cards didn’t just fall, they were ripped into smaller pieces when the house collapsed. So it’s taking a lot longer to build them back up than it did the first time.
When I watch more advanced dancers, all I want is to move like them. But I know I won’t be able to until I stop holding myself back. Hopefully, with Teacher’s help, I can rebuild my house stronger than before and some day feel comfortable enough to let my guard down and just dance.
Don’t forget to check out other posts from the 31 Day Writing Challenge!