The weather is getting colder here. Frost appears on the grass every morning now, with low temperatures hitting the 20s. I had to scrape ice off my windshield this morning before I left for Zumba. High temperatures are still hitting the low 50s, so I wouldn’t call it winter yet but I know the 20s will soon be the high rather than the low. Layers are my best friend as I await the arrival of my first real winter in years. I also ordered some wool socks.
Zumba has been the only significant dancing I’ve done since that fun little Salsa social last month. I’m missing my dance lessons with Teacher and the deeper digging we were doing into my movement through the Smooth dances. I rewatched a video of the latest version of our Waltz before starting this post and danced through the beginning a few times. I felt a little better feeling some of the rust fall off and noticing spots where there actually was no rust. My body was ready to go, just waiting for me to move it.
It’s hard to stay motivated to practice a partner dance when you don’t know when you’ll see your partner again. Everyone got a taste of this over the last two years through various pandemic lockdowns. I’m still getting a daily serving. When I left California, I figured we’d be on Zoom in a couple months. After I arrived and spent that couple months finding and booking contractors to do work that had to be done before winter, I figured by the end of the year, I’d be back to my weekly lessons. Now I know it won’t be until 2022, mostly likely February, before I’ll be in a financial position to take on a new lesson package.
None of this makes me regret my decision to move to Maine. Even with the colder temperatures nipping at my joints, I love it here. And I also miss dancing. The two are allowed to coexist.
So much uncertainty and TBD has made room for a cloud of doubt to roll in over my dance journey. All the usual inner demons show up and question why I’m practicing when I’m not competing or even taking lessons. They tell me Zoom will be too hard, Teacher will be too busy, and the competitive ballroom world has already forgotten me. So why bother? They’re sneaky and will also put ideas in my head of how easy Life will be without having to worry about paying for lessons, making time for practice, or dealing with cross-country logistics. Wouldn’t it be easier to just go to Zumba once a week?
This conversation is an old one, but it keeps coming back. I may think the issue has been resolved, but when the circumstances change, it pops up again asking “are you sure??” Honestly, no, I’m not sure, but I’ve learned to keep going anyway. Just like in my lessons when Teacher would ask if I was ready to dance something and I would say “no but let’s go for it!”
Even if I can’t see the path ahead, I can still trust myself to go in the right direction. That’s how I deal with those doubt demons who roll in like they’re all that and know what’s best for me. Step back, sirs, I’m steering this ship. More importantly, I’m steering this ship and if I steer her the wrong way, I can turn around. It’s easy to develop tunnel vision, which only shows one path toward the desired result. In reality, there are many paths, some you can’t see until another path is closed off. As I’m missing dance and doubts are rolling in about whether I’ll be able to continue my ballroom training, I keep in mind that there are plenty of ways to move my dance journey forward. If one doesn’t work out the way I hoped, then I can try another way. Maybe I’ll finally sign up for more lessons with Teacher and we find out Zoom really sucks for training in Smooth. Maybe we meet in person every few months instead. Or we change what we focus on during virtual lessons. Or maybe I meet a potential amateur partner who is local and Teacher becomes our coach. Or, or, or. The possibilities continue!
I guess this is a long way to say “when one door closes, another one opens.” Sometimes we don’t see the other open doors because we’re so focused on the closed one.
But before I get lost in any more personal development platitudes, I want to be real with you, in case you’re dealing with doubts about your journey too. It sucks when you’re in the middle of Mirkwood and can’t see the path ahead and you’re not sure how to get back to where you were either. Pull a Bilbo and climb a tree to clear your head and your view.
Say I don’t perform or compete again for another year. It will already be two years since my last competition this coming February 2022. Will it really matter in that future moment that I had to wait so long to experience that again? Will it really matter that others had been competing the whole time or had zero interruptions to their training? All I’m going to care about in that moment is getting to dance! What if the next year takes me in an entirely different direction? Who knows what places I’ll see, people I’ll meet or experiences I have yet to have! It’s exciting and scary to not know what lies ahead.
What it comes down to is trust and knowing why I’m on this journey in the first place. The doubts would intrude whether I was in Maine not taking lessons or still in California preparing for my next competition. Either way, I have to trust myself to carry forward.
Before I go, I want to remind everyone that the Solo Practice Worksheet is still available, for free, at practiceballroomdance.com. Even if you only have five minutes, you can make progress in your dancing. My brief Waltz today is a great example!
Whatever doubts are plaguing you today, don’t give in. You’re strong and you’ve got this.