Driving Home

Anyone else do this?  I usually listen to music on my way to the studio, but not on the way home. I find I prefer the quiet while I reflect on the dance lesson I just had.

The drive home seems to be the time my brain needs to fully absorb whatever concept we were working on. Sometimes I wish I could turn right around and go back for a second follow-up lesson because something clicked and I don’t want to wait to see if I can actually execute what I think I finally understand.

Other times the quiet drive is time spent having heart to hearts with my demons. On bad days, when my confidence is really low or I’m feeling especially inferior and “not belonging,” I drive home wondering what I’m doing and why I’m spending all this money on something I’m not that good at. I try to counter these thoughts by reflecting on the positive moments in the lesson, like the things I did do correctly or specific praise from Teacher.

More recently, my drives home have been spent reflecting on my journey thus far. Emerald Ball is happening this week. It is a big competition for this region and I think the west coast in general. I competed in bronze smooth at Emerald last year and did really well. I was looking forward to returning this year to compete in silver. Well, that didn’t happen.

I feel a little left out and sorry for myself. I feel like I’m somehow going to fall behind everyone else, even though we’re all on our own separate journeys.

Look at what happened instead! I started working on rhythm. I published a book about ballroom dance! And I’m working on a second book that will be ready to publish by the end of May/beginning of June.

That’s pretty good, right?

Even though I know it’s reality, it’s still funny to me how rarely things go as planned. They don’t always go worse; sometimes they go better! But usually not in the way you expect. I did not expect to be taking such a long break from competing. I thought once I got started, I could keep the momentum going. The comps would be my checkpoints to measure my progress along my ballroom journey.

While those weigh stations are closed to me, I have to find other ways to measure. Or perhaps adjust my view entirely so I don’t need to measure progress at all.

Who am I kidding, I need to know I’m getting somewhere. If I want to just dance, I can go to social dances and stop spending so much money on private lessons every week. I like pushing and challenging myself, and I like having milestones to mark success or progress in my challenges.

Learning silver rhythm is a new challenge. Learning the routines will be the first milestone, then understanding technqiue, applying styling, etc. will be others. But after switching back to smooth for a lesson and working on waltz and foxtrot, I realized another challenge will be not losing what I know in smooth. We worked on body movement and foot tracking again. I enjoyed the lesson and felt like I did well, but on the drive home, I was frowning. We had worked on those things before and I thought I had a handle on them. It had been weeks since we last worked on smooth. Did I lose progress so quickly? Is it like when I don’t stretch for a couple days, and I feel so stiff? Use it or lose it?

This is when my demons pop up and tell me I’ll never be good at two styles because I can’t afford enough lessons per week to be able to effectively progress in both styles. Cue the tiny violin.

But it’s my own journey right? There is no set timeframe for measuring progress in pro-am ballroom because it’s all individual. We aren’t ranked against each other except at each specific comp, and even then it only counts for that one event. I’ll get good at both styles when I get good at both styles!

I do have a long-term goal to compete in nine-dance, the four smooth dances and five rhythm dances. To be honest, I’d love to be able to do it at my next comp, whenever that may be. But I’m doubtful I will be able to afford paying double what I’ve paid in the past. Who knows. This journey has taken me in unexpected directions. Maybe there is another twist in my future!

That was a lot of rambling but that’s what happens when I just reflect on things! Hope it wasn’t too boring for you.

Happy dancing, and good luck to anyone competing at Emerald this week!


One thought on “Driving Home

  1. D_Wall says:

    I do have the music on when I drive home but there are times when my thoughts are louder. Yes, I’ve had many a night when the drive home is “what am I doing”. Sometimes, I’m able to find a bright side. Sometimes, not so much. Some days, I wish I had a shorter ride and less time to think.


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