The Next Chapter and Square One

I’m feeling rundown at the moment, but that’s because I started moving this past weekend. Yes, I have a place to live! I’ve experienced it over and over, but it still seems crazy to me how it can feel like progress has completely stalled and then all of a sudden, something gives way and everything comes together all at once.

I last wrote to you on Tuesday about my stressful and frustrating search for a new home. Well, on Wednesday, I got it! I finally had that good gut feeling, like “this is home.” The price was a little more than I wanted to pay, but with the way prices seem to fluctuate (mostly up!), I decided to just go for it.

The momentum picked up big time after that. I got my keys on Saturday and started moving boxes and small pieces of furniture all weekend. The apartment doesn’t come with a refrigerator, so I ordered one and it will be delivered tomorrow. The momentum seemed to rub off on Roomie too; she’s been trying to sell her furniture before her big move and ended up getting rid of a lot of it over the weekend. She was so successful, I had to bring up an office chair and old recliner I had stored in our garage, so we’d have somewhere to sit for the rest of the week. Major moving will happen this coming weekend.

So HUGE sigh of relief there. I’m glad to be out of the “unknown” and able to take more action on moving into the next chapter of my life. This new apartment is actually the first one I’ll live in on my own (with the dogs). I’ve always lived with friends or a significant other up to this point. I’m excited to have a place I can make my own and call home.

In dance news, my ego took a nice blow on Friday. Teacher started the lesson talking about frame and connection. He was using words like “going backwards” and “square one.” These were not references to physical movements or points; these were regarding progress. We had been focusing on the connection through the thighs and hips in closed position. I liked this because we could make a bigger shape and I felt like my upper body had more room. But apparently, I was continuing to drop one side or the other when my torso was free. So Teacher was taking us back to keeping my hip up through my rib connected to him.

It’s not wrong. Ask four professionals the correct way to connect bodies in closed frame and you’ll get four answers. I’ve been told to connect through the ribs, through the hips, through the thighs, and through a combination. Teacher has helped me conclude that it’s really what is most comfortable and effective for the two people dancing together. The end goal is the same: to be physically connected to the other person in a way that allows you to communicate lead/follow cues through the body and appear to move as one. Personally, I’ve developed a liking for the connection through the hips/thighs because that’s how I see the top Standard couples get those incredibly huge and beautiful shapes. I want to look like that in closed position.

There have been brief moments in previous lessons when the focus has been the hip connection and the dancing felt amazing. It was smooth and strong and steady; it felt like we were flying. Those are the moments we live for, right? When everything just clicks?

Well, I guess there haven’t been enough of those moments. I’ve failed to prove myself worthy of what I’m perceiving as more advanced technique, and so Teacher has to take me back to basics. This is my ego talking, of course.

I was getting upset on Friday. At first, I didn’t understand why we were going backwards and going “back to square one” three weeks before a competition did not seem like a good idea. My anxiety was waking up. Once I did understand, my ego deflated like a poorly tied balloon. Being the great coach that he is, Teacher tried to reassure me that it wasn’t really going backwards, we were just revisiting a concept that needed some strengthening. We’ve been doing that a lot since Beach Bash, picking apart the dances and tweaking/strengthening bits that will make a big difference in my overall performance.

By the end of the lesson, I understood why we were completely changing what we had been working on over the last few weeks and I understood what I needed to improve. I didn’t like it; my ego was sulking and poking its bruises in a corner of my brain. But at least I understood what I had to do. I didn’t have to stay in this perceived state of failure.

I saw this image on a dance studio’s Instagram page and was reminded that my ego makes its home in the comfort zone. It does not like to venture out. It’s scary and uncomfortable outside the comfort zone! Even painful. But if you want to get to where the magic happens, that’s where you have to go.

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I still feel a bit of my ego’s pain, but I know it’s part of the process. It’s like I’ve written before – I get knocked down, but I get up again!

Have a great Monday, dancers!

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