A few days ago, Dance Advantage posted an article titled 7 Things To Remember In Phases Of Uncertainty In Your Dance Life. The seven things are nothing earth-shattering, but they are excellent reminders. I think I’ve written about all of them myself in past posts. Which got me thinking…
What do you do when you know all these things and you do your best to practice them, but you’re still struggling? Sure, you know “this too shall past,” but does that really help you in the here and now?
Less than two weeks ago, I signed up for a day-long smooth workshop happening at the beginning of November. Four champions would be teaching different group classes over the course of 7 hours. It was a little pricey for me (as is everything in ballroom), but I decided to go for it. I’ve been feeling left out and isolated from the world that I love, so actually participating in something seemed like a good remedy. I had gotten a little extra work from my old company too, so that would help offset the cost. I even decided to ask Teacher to sign me up for a coaching with one of the pros teaching at the workshop.
Then two days ago, I had to back out of all of it.
My car needs a new clutch.
I had taken it in to be inspected in preparation for a big road trip next month (more on that in a different post). She’s almost 11 years old and has over 175,000 miles on her, so I expected a little work needed to be done. And since the clutch is original, I had my suspicions that it would be included. Unfortunately, I was right.
To be fair, for a clutch to last over 175k is freakin’ awesome! It’s certainly better to have it replaced now than be stuck out in the middle of nowhere during my trip. I shouldn’t be complaining.
After being forced to give up my comeback comp goals, I kinda feel like I’m being kicked while I’m down with this expensive, but necessary, car maintenance. I can’t even go to a workshop? Come on! I can’t decide if Life is testing me to see how committed I really am to my dancing dreams or if I’m the butt of some big joke. Or maybe I need to get over myself because people deal with the same or more every day.
The point of this story (besides me venting my frustrations) is reminding myself that everyone goes through things like this and I shouldn’t compare my journey to others because it isn’t really helping. I’m still stuck with a large car bill instead of a workshop and a coaching. I’m still not able to do what I really want to do. Telling myself to go with the flow or just hang in there because it’ll work out eventually, I just can’t give up, is starting to sound like a broken record.
I’m still not giving up. I’m still going to hang in there. I was wondering though, if there are alternative strategies for surviving this bog of uncertainty I’m stuck in. What can I do when I’m sick of trying to stay positive or hearing the same words of encouragement over and over? The answer to that question is the point of this story.
I don’t know if I have a good answer, but I do have some real-life examples of what I’ve tried, both helpful and unhelpful.
1) Solo practice
I have no lessons this week because Teacher is at a competition and Teacher’s friend is injured. I have a brief practice scheduled with Ballroom Viking tomorrow; he says he should be able to make it (more uncertainty). So partnered practice this week is at a bare minimum. It’s not the first time. In the past, I’ve tried to be the “good student” and go to the studio to practice on my own. Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it backfires. I’ve found that practicing ballroom on my own can actually end up increasing the feelings of uncertainty and isolation if I’m doing it because it’s my only option for dancing my routines. I feel more productive and positive about solo practice when I have a specific goal, like a comp, that I’m working toward.
2) Social dancing
A lot of studios are having Halloween-themed social dances this week, and Roomie and I are actually going to head to one. Practice parties and social dances seem like an obvious solution to my no-partner-available dilemma. I have mixed feelings about social dancing though. I’ve had my shoulder wrenched one too many times and as this interesting article so wonderfully explains, even if you’re the most-asked dancer at the dance, that setting can also end up feeling lonely. BUT if I’m going with a friend, it’s an enjoyable diversion.
3) Dances other than ballroom
I’ve been going to hip hop classes for a few weeks now. So far I’ve done well ignoring the extra strain on my budget. I really like the classes, and working on a dance style different from ballroom provides a new challenge that keeps my mind and soul engaged. But it’s still not ballroom, and I’ve discovered it’s not as satisfying as partner dancing is for me.
4) And now for something completely different
Pure distraction is a useful tool. Tonight, for instance, before I sat down to write this post, I baked pumpkin scones and watched episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix. Focusing on things I enjoy that are completely different from dance can be helpful. If I’m not thinking about ballroom, then I’m not thinking about how much I’m missing it.
5) Clean house
I find that taking my frustrations out on the dirt and clutter in my home is helpful. I always get at least a small sense of satisfaction at emptying a sink of dishes or cleaning off a counter or shredding a bunch of junk mail. Clearing out clutter also helps clear my head somehow. It probably has something to do with creating some semblance of order amidst the perceived chaos. While my car is in the shop this coming weekend, I plan on going through my bedroom and cleaning out my closet. Maybe I’ll even find some things I can sell to help pay my car bill!
It’s ok to bitch every now and then. Heck, this is the second post in a week or two where I’ve let loose on my frustrations! I even told Teacher “this sucks, I feel like I don’t get to do anything anymore!” when I texted him that I had to cancel the coaching. Sometimes you just need to vent. When used properly, venting can be very therapeutic. Just don’t make it a habit without trying to change what you’re upset about.
I think that’s enough for tonight. It’s past my bedtime! Hopefully, it made some sense. Check out my Instagram for a shot of the scones I baked. They’re pumpkin-shaped pumpkin scones! Cross your fingers that BV will make it to practice and I’ll have a blast at a Halloween social dance this week. As much as I try other things, I could really just use some dance therapy! I’ll check back in with you guys this weekend and let you know how it all goes.
I hope the rest of your week is a breeze!
4 thoughts on “Stuck in a Bog of Uncertainty”
Sing it, sister.
I’ve also been struggling with Lack Of Dance in my life over the last few months. Moving out of state, trying to find a new instructor/studio, traveling for work, lack of funds…all leads to less time on the floor.
It’s really hard to keep your chin up when you are feeling unsettled about your dance situation and progress. I wish I had brilliant advice, some days it feels like I’m barely chugging along myself. I guess we can take solace in knowing that we aren’t alone in the process, and that eventually the tide has to turn. (Or at least that’s what I keep holding on to, anyway…) Distraction has been helpful for me lately. I’ve had to actively avoid reading dance blogs and even writing in my own, it was really making me sad to see other people doing something I love and not being able to do it myself. Maybe take a 24-hour dance moratorium? No blogging, reading, watching, doing. Just immersion in the rest of life. It’s a temporary fix, but I’ve found it helpful from time to time.
Anyway, hope you have a fantastic time at your Halloween Party! I’m looking forward to going to my local one on Friday, too.
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You brought up something I struggle with a lot but almost feel guilty abput: seeing other people getting to do what I want to do but can’t is depressing! I feel guilty because I think I should just be happy for them and not focus on myself, but it’s hard. It also gets hard to listen to encouragement from those people when they don’t have the challenges I do. But we are not alone! And the tide will turn at some point. It has to.
It is so SO hard. I sometimes find myself feeling jealous when I see people do the things they love, even when it’s not ballroom, because I want so badly to be doing the thing that makes me that happy again. It’s definitely a struggle. Maybe recognizing it makes us more able to let go of it? That’s what I keep hoping, anyway.
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It’s that deadly comparison trap! Hard to avoid but I agree, it helps if you can recognize when you’re there.