Reflecting on the Year of WTF is Happening

I had the opportunity to apply some upgraded technique to my Open Waltz routine this week. Well, maybe I should say I learned that I needed to apply less. I have a tendency to do too much because I think I’m not doing enough. This week, I learned I was rotating way too much in a slip pivot, which then put me at the wrong angle for my heel pull, which then threw me off for the steps coming out of the heel pull. All that was corrected beautifully when I just stopped trying to do so much. Less was more.

Life continues to be really weird, so it was nice to have a moment when things actually made sense.

I’m closing out 2020 with a couple short work weeks. I have one more virtual ballet class and then it’ll be solo practice time until the new year. I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago, but I do like to take this transition time to reflect and set new intentions.

2020 was absurd in a lot of twisted, messed up ways. It was like a yearlong version of those scenes in movies where all of the ugly secrets and truths are revealed in some kind of dramatic shouting match. Except in 2020, one of the shouters was infected with COVID-19 and so almost everyone ends up sick or dying. Some only get a little sick and start shaming those who got really sick for “overreacting.” The one person who didn’t get sick decides that everyone else is faking and out to get them.

I’m expecting at least 3-4 movies in the next 5 years related to 2020 and 157 self-published novels. I mean, with all of the content this year has provided, the stories write themselves. Maybe I’ll write #158.

It’s strange to think we’re living in a moment in history, like the kind that will be added to an overpriced high school history textbook. There will be adults 20-30 years from now who will look at us old folks with skepticism and disbelief as we tell our pandemic tales. “When I was your age” declarations will shift from “I had to walk to school 2 miles every day, uphill both ways” to “we weren’t allowed to eat in restaurants and we had to wear masks whenever we left the house because otherwise we might kill or be killed.”

I find it challenging to reflect on such a complicated year. On a personal level, the year was pretty chill. I worked from home, had everything delivered, and saved on gas. I still danced, though at a lesser frequency. I took a break from competing starting in March to make choreography updates and develop my dancing even further. I wrote more.

Outside of my personal bubble…yeesh, where do I even begin?

Spending more time in my personal bubble has given me the opportunity to observe the world from a relatively safe vantage point and reevaluate how I want to fit into it. I’ve already shared how my perspective on competing has changed and made me reconsider the purpose behind my dancing. I realized beneath the glitzy makeup and sparkly rhinestones, dancers are just as human as everyone else, which includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.

At the beginning of 2020, I chose dance as my word for the year. While I had planned on literally dancing more at more competitions, dance also meant something greater.

To say I’m going to dance more in 2020 is really to say I’m going to be more of me in 2020, in the most authentic way possible.

The Girl with the Tree Tattoo, 2020 Intentions – Dance and Otherwise

I’d say I succeeded in meeting that intention this year, even more so because of all the shit that went down. Just like seeing someone walk with awful posture makes me stand straighter, seeing people behave at their worst makes me want to behave at my best. I still make plenty of missteps and mistakes, but I’m trying to do a little better every day.

Better has to start in the personal bubble before it can expand out. I had a lot of depressed and anxious days during this pandemic because the ugliness and nastiness in the world seemed too much to overcome. What could I as one person do that would make any type of difference? Like with my slip pivot, trying to do too much wouldn’t work. I needed to start small with just myself before I tried to change the whole world.

Health has definitely been a big topic for 2020. For my own health and the health of the planet, I’ve shifted what I’m eating, as well as where I get my food, and moved to low or zero waste household products. I’ve spent more of my money with small and planet-friendly businesses. I’ve danced with my dogs in my living room, and when it was permitted, I’ve danced with Teacher in the studio. I recognized how lucky and privileged I am and didn’t complain about inconveniences like taking dance class virtually instead of in-person or wearing a mask whenever I left my apartment. I also exercised my full right to vote this year and actually looked up candidates for local positions and read about the propositions instead of just voting for president and calling it done.

These tiny shifts don’t make a big difference in the here and now, but I love the analogy one of my coaches uses. If you’re in the middle of the wilderness with a compass and shift your position just one degree and take a few steps, you won’t be that far away from where you would have ended up if you walked a few steps in the direction you were originally facing. But if you keep walking, you’ll end up miles apart from where you would have been if you followed the original trajectory.

I have high hopes for 2021. With the arrival of a vaccine, the end of this pandemic is on the horizon. There will still be a lot of damage to repair and recover from, but we can do it together. On a personal level, I’m excited about the choreography changes we’ve been making for my Open routines and I hope I have the opportunity to show them off in the new year. I’m also excited to continue expanding my writing endeavors.

How about you? What hopes and dreams do you have for the new year?

I want to wish everyone a happy belated Hanukkah and happy early Christmas! Stay safe, and happy dancing.

And don’t forget! You have until the end of 2020 to get your discounted book bundle at Practice Ballroom Dance.

2 thoughts on “Reflecting on the Year of WTF is Happening

  1. Lilia says:

    Wow Girl! I feel this might be one of your best writing that I’ve read so far! Vivid, genuine, and a pitch-perfect tone for the times we are in.
    Love the 2020 analogy – fresh, accurate, and funny! Can’t wait to tell others about it. 🙂 And that compass analogy – so simple and yet profound! I haven’t heard it before, but might come in handy at my next “what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here” moment. 😉
    Happy holidays to you, and good luck in the new, hopefully better, year!

    Like

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