On the Edge of Hope

I was chatting with another amateur dancer the other night and he was telling me about how excited and already exhausted he was about the upcoming dance season. Coachings were lined up, and competitions were on the calendar. He might end up too broke to eat, but it was okay. We all make sacrifices for the love of ballroom!

I told him I have approximately zero hope left of competing again.

Really?, he replied.

Yes, really. And not really.

For over a year now, I’ve been fighting to regain the momentum I had before my trip to Nationals was cancelled. For over a year, something keeps coming up that pushes my dance goals further back. Granted, a lot of the delays are a result of my own choices. I don’t regret those choices either. But over a year later, I still have no money saved for a competition. If I competed tomorrow, I’d probably rank pretty well. Teacher and I haven’t stopped working, and my dancing skills have progressed. The funds are what I’m lacking and what will prevent me from competing again. Over a year later, I am tired of fighting for what amounts to scraps. A ballroom lesson once or twice a week. A handful of hip hop group classes. When I said that I had basically zero hope left, I felt like I was standing on the edge of hopelessness with nothing to keep me from falling. I was losing my right to use the #dontgiveup hashtag.

Then something funny happened. When I woke up the next day, I still felt the same. Tired and having real trouble finding a reason to #keepgoing. I had this image in my head of standing on the edge of a precipice. In front of me: the vast nothingness of hopelessness. But then, in my head, I turned around. If I was facing hopelessness on one side, what was behind me? It stands to reason it would be the opposite. Hope.

The image shifted to me standing on a narrow ridge, balancing between hope and hopelessness. As close as I was to feeling hopeless, like I should just give up, I was just as close to hope. It wasn’t as far away as I felt. I was so focused on fighting the urge to give up, I forgot.

Tomorrow will be my last lesson with Teacher before I leave town for a couple months. He managed to fit me in for a double at least (1.5 hours instead of 45 minutes), so we should have time to record some more practice videos, do some work, and maybe even have some fun just dancing. I’m going to miss him and our lessons terribly, but hopefully I can send him some videos of me practicing while I’m gone and we can review them over the phone or Skype. Hopefully, two months without paying for lessons will give my competition fund the boost it needs to put me in an excellent position to compete in March or April. HopefullyI will also be able to use the extra non-dancing time to work on the next book in the Dance Diaries series or the other book idea that’s been sitting patiently in my head. Hopefully, I will return home with more drive than ever to get back on the competition floor.

Frankly, I am fucking exhausted (#sorrynotsorry). But I’m not giving up my hashtags, or my dance goals, yet. That hopelessness abyss is right there, but so is hope. I just need to change my focus.


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