Nine Days

It’s been nine days since my last lesson with Teacher. It feels like it’s been weeks. Maybe months. I’m pretty confident that I forgot the bulk of my dance knowledge. It’s my fault though; I haven’t been practicing. I review stuff in my head and try to remember to walk with my sternum lifted around the office, but not as much as I should and I haven’t actually gone through my figures.

I think I’m in a rut.

Nine days may not seem like a lot, but it was a really long nine days. “Everyone but me” was at Emerald Ball (can I get some cheese to go with this whine?). The studio was shut down for a few days while new flooring was installed, so I couldn’t have gone in to practice even if I wanted to. Certain events are making me tighten my purse strings, so I didn’t go to my hip hop class. And I think I got myself a little too stressed out about the draft of my second book. I actually finished it sooner than I thought I would and sent it off to my reviewers this past weekend.

I still have no real concept of how the first book is doing. My frustration about this ties in with my need to know that I’m getting somewhere with my efforts. I’ve been doing some marketing on social media, and a lot of it is focused on the Amazon link because people like Amazon. I know I’d be more likely to buy something from Amazon than a online store I wasn’t familiar with. But I won’t know how the book is performing on Amazon for a few months. I hate waiting!

I’m not sure when it happened but something has changed in me. It’s difficult for me to do nothing all day. I used to love spending an entire weekend doing nothing. But now I start feeling guilty or bad or something if I haven’t done something productive to earn that down time. Perfect example: I came home from work exhausted on Monday. I felt like I should give myself the night off from working on writing stuff since I finished the draft over the weekend. I was all set to just chill on the couch and watch tv. Oh, well first I should get those dishes done. And look how much dog fur has accumulated. I may as well vacuum too. My “night off” was spent cleaning the apartment.

It’s not a bad or good thing. Just an observation. And I do find that just doing something different from the norm (cleaning instead of writing) still gives my mind the mental break it needs. I think this need to feel productive and “get somewhere” affects my dancing too. Nine days without a lesson or significant practice has made me feel lousy. It’s like if I’m not “doing,” I become “less.” Hence, the rut I suspect I’m in. Does that make any sense?

I’ve gone longer between lessons. But I don’t think it’s the length of time necessarily, it’s the feeling that I’ve stalled. When I don’t know what I’m working toward, it’s hard to keep myself motivated. I still crave my lesson time, but I lost my sense of urgency. Competitions help me push myself because there is a deadline. Improve and perfect as much as possible by this date. Then go all in and see what happens. It’s exciting! I get the urgency and the “time to give it my all” but at the same time, it’s not my one shot. It’s not like a studio show where I have one chance to perform and that’s it. No, I can try again at the next comp! Emotionally, it’s a good balance for me.

I’ve always been lacking that hard core discipline some people have. I can’t make myself do something just to do it. Which is why going to the gym to exercise never works for me and it’s been a real challenge to stay consistent with my stretching. I need a bigger goal/consequence.

Something interesting just happened. I started to write “I can’t just do it for myself.” But I stopped and thought “wait, why not?” And a demon shrugged and said “you alone aren’t worth it.” Damn. But it makes sense. Not that I’m not worth it, that I still believe I’m not worth it. I still need external motivations like competition because those also get me external acknowledgement of my efforts. When that motivator is off in the unknown distant future, it doesn’t have a strong effect on me. And apparently I haven’t developed a strong enough internal motivator yet.

I do have a lesson with Teacher today (knock on wood, I’m always afraid I’ll jinx it when I count on it happening). I hope getting back into the studio, with this last big comp over and done with, will help pull me out of this funk.

Happy dancing?

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