When Your Number Isn’t Called, Remember Why You Danced

I entered a writing competition in August on Medium. There were four categories – Space, Death, Reentry and Work. I wrote articles for the first two:

Space

According to Society’s Expectations, I’ve Failed At Life

Death

For Whom the Flyswatter Sings

The winners were just announced. I did not win any prize or receive any honorable mention. I didn’t expect to, honestly. There were about 10,000 entries between the four categories! I didn’t maximize my chances by entering all four categories, and more importantly, I still have plenty to learn and explore when it comes to writing.

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What Do You Believe About Yourself As a Dancer?

A few weeks ago, I attended a workshop hosted by my mindset/personal development/creative/just generally awesome coach, during which we did an exercise that involved listing things you believed to be true about yourself. This wasn’t meant to be a self-roast or pity party; the goal was to identify positive things. The question then came up – is it really being honest to only list positive things and ignore the negative?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
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Dancing to Keep Warm and For Plain ‘Ol Fun

It’s officially Autumn here in Maine! Those warm Summer days are long gone, evidenced by the 63-degree temperature inside the house (I’m not turning on the heat until I can vacuum out at least the ends of the ducts). The trees are also changing, which is beautiful. Batches of trees turned this brilliant red early on along the main route that I drive for groceries, PT, etc. You have this large swath of summer-y green and then bam! a batch of red in the middle. So gorgeous. I understand why tourists flock to this area at this time of year.

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I Never Would Have Moved to Maine Without Ballroom

Hello from a dripping wet, soggy Maine! The rain arrived Friday night and has kept us drenched since then. Good thing I got the lawns mowed earlier this week. #ThingsISayNow

The rain has made for a cozy, relaxing weekend, except when the dogs need to go out. Even then, it’s not too bad. They don’t care about getting wet and I have bright blue rain boots and a solid rain jacket, so who cares? I took it a step further yesterday afternoon while the power was out briefly and decided to have some fun (see below).

A fellow ballroom dancer shared with me that she’s appreciating how all of the intangible skills that have come out of her dance training, like increased self-confidence, ability to work through challenging dance moves, learning to win and lose gracefully at competitions, have translated well into “real” life. She saw the additional value gained out of all of those expensive private lessons. I responded that I agreed completely! Without those “side effects” of learning to ballroom dance, I never would have moved to Maine.

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Looking Back and then Forward

The response to last week’s blog post was huge! Clearly, I’m not the only one who struggles with reconciling my passion for ballroom with the cost. Before I jump into this week’s thoughts, I wanted to share another older post, which asks the question, “Is it worth competing if the game is rigged?”. This older post is for anyone who feels that their financial situation unfairly affects their placement at competitions because those who (can afford to) compete more get seen more. Familiarity can create an unconscious bias toward dancers who compete more often.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a bias exists or not. What matters is you and your dancing. If you can only afford to compete once or twice a year, do you really want to taint those precious experiences with worries about whether or not judge bias is affecting your results? Wouldn’t you prefer to take advantage of those few moments you have to dress to the nines and perform your heart out?

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Reexamining The Cost of Being a Ballroom Dancer

I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow ballroom dancer for the first time in person this past week. She is one of several Maine dancers who proved me wrong when I thought I was moving to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I also learned that she has been following the blog from the beginning!

We had a lovely chat on a picnic table over tea, which of course primarily focused on our ballroom journeys. She voiced her appreciation for my willingness to openly discuss the financial aspect of ballroom. It can have a great impact on someone’s dance journey, but so often, the cost of being a ballroom dancer is swept under the rug or hidden in the shadows behind the bright lights and sparkling rhinestones. Don’t look over there, look here on the dance floor where everything is shiny and colorful and everyone is smiling.

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Dead Mice, Zumba and Dance Goals

They say time moves more slowly in the country, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Caring for this house alone could be a full-time gig. There are about 50 acres of forest waiting to be explored and that’s without leaving our property. Inspiration for art, whether it’s dance, photography, painting, etc., is abundant in these natural surroundings. Country living is anything but boring.

The difference I notice as I sit at the kitchen table and listen to the wind in the trees through the open window isn’t that I’ve slowed down since moving here. The difference is that Life around me moves at a less-rushed pace. The manic mood of the city is absent here. The bumblebees and hummingbirds show up every day in the overgrown garden next to the kitchen to collect their pollen and nectar. They aren’t lazy about it; they are consistent and persistent. What they aren’t is frantic. Their work is steady, not hectic. Amazing how they still complete their tasks without buzzing around like their boss is going to set their hair on fire if they don’t appear entirely stressed out.

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Finding My Maine Rhythm

Whenever you move to a new area, you have to go through the task of reestablishing your routines. You have to decide where your glasses and silverware go in your new kitchen, and how to arrange things in your new bathroom. You have to find your grocery store, drug store, dentist, doctor, veterinarian if you’re a fur parent, etc. It can be fun exploring and trying out different places to see what you like best. It can also make you feel like a tourist in your own town while you’re relying on Google Maps to get to the hardware store.

I’ve been trying out different grocery stores over the last couple weeks, but I have to admit that I miss getting my Imperfect Foods delivery every week. It was so convenient, the produce was great, the customer service was awesome, and they kept adding new and fun products. Alas, until my mom moves up (she volunteered to do our food runs), I have to resort to doing my grocery shopping in person.

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