Watching From the Other Side of the Ballroom, Accompanied by My Fears

I spent a lot of time waiting while working as a runner at the Hollywood Dancesport Championships. It gave me a chance to watch people dance, including Teacher with two of his students. I already wrote about the challenges that can come with being a spectator, when I attended the studio’s Halloween team match. Spectating at this comp was the next level up.
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Trust and Ballroom Part 2: Trusting Yourself (Write31Days Day 30)

After getting a bit of a mental smackdown courtesy of my demons last night, I considered letting them write today’s post. But I’m going to pull myself together and focus on the productive and the positive.

We all fall apart sometimes

Another lesson and another repeated mantra from Teacher yesterday led to this extension of yesterday’s post on Trust and Ballroom.

You have to trust your partner in order to dance ballroom. But you also have to trust yourself.

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Express Yourself! In the Studio Vs. the Club (Write31Days Day 4)

It’s funny, I made a list of topics for this 31-day challenge, but have yet to actually follow that list.  One post just leads me to another post.  But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that things aren’t going as planned.  When do they ever?

Last year, I started a series on my first blog, The Uphill Factor, titled “Express Yourself!”  Teacher was starting to bring up the need for more emotional expression from me while I was dancing, and naturally, I wrote about my struggles:

Express Yourself!
Express Yourself! Part 2 – Tango Curses
Express Yourself! Part 3 – Butt and Boobs
Express Yourself! Part 4: No, Really, Express Yourself!

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Life Isn’t Fair – Based on a True Story

I was prepared when the phone rang this time. Teacher asked how I was and I said “I’m not sure…because you’re calling…”

Teacher was calling to inform me of the surgery necessary to repair the fractures in his wrist. So much for a clean break.

Surgery meant a longer recovery time. So for the second time, a goal has been crossed out and the future shifted back into obscurity.

There will be no Best of the Best at Ohio Star Ball for this dancer.

I initially wrote this post right after Teacher called me that second time. But I wanted to hold off on sharing it until after my first post-surgery lesson with him. Because the title is 100% true – life isn’t fair. But it is still worth pursuing.

In the middle of processing the second dream lost, I couldn’t articulate why anyone should bother if it all could be taken away without cause. So I waited until I had some time to process and then reconnected with Teacher and started working toward new plans for my ballroom future. I thought getting back into the swing of things would help inspire the words I would need to encourage and motivate you despite the random smackdowns life would give you.

It didn’t.

I still feel like life is just totally unfair and I’m still struggling to keep myself motivated.

But screw it, here is what I wrote anyway.

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Countdown to USDC – 12 Days: Well, That Could Have Gone Better

Ever have one of those days where you just want to yell “I swear I’m better than this!” because the current evidence is indicating otherwise? Yeah, that was me during my last lesson.

I was such a good student. Arrived at the studio an hour before my scheduled lesson time. I did my stretches and I did a round of my bronze routines AND my silver routines, all on my own. The silver was a little questionable because I still don’t have all of the steps, angles, directions, etc. without Teacher leading me. But I got through them.

Then my lesson started. We were working on silver.

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Countdown to USDC – 15 Days: Just Hold That Happy Thought!

Fun fact about the Girl with the Tree Tattoo: I love Peter Pan. I have loved the story of the boy who could fly ever since I was a kid. The first appeal was the ability to fly, of course. And the fact that this ability was within the grasp of the “normal” Darling children. All they had to do was think happy thoughts! And get a little fairy dust sprinkled on them, but I like to focus on the happy thoughts part of the formula. Just think how awesomely it can translate to real life – with positive thinking and a leap of faith, you can lift yourself up out of your every day existence into something magical! You can reach for your dreams!
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Countdown to USDC – 18 Days: “I Am Significant!”

I needed a pep talk to offset the negative voices in my head. I thought there might be others needing one too. So I decided to publish what I came up with.

“I’m not good enough.”  “I don’t matter.”  “I’m ugly.”  “I’m unlovable.”  “I don’t deserve to succeed.”

Everyone has thoughts like these.  They usually originate from an external source, either direct or indirect. Sometimes from a trusted source. A careless comment or dismissive question can burrow deep in our brains and fester into something much more sinister. Someone you love and trust asks you why you bother doing what you do, it’s not like it’s going to take you anywhere. And, if you’re like me, the demons in your head latch onto that comment like it’s a precious metal and twist it and build it up until, in your dark moments, you find yourself thinking why am I doing this, I’m not good enough to “make it,” what’s the point.

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At What Point Can You Call Yourself a “Dancer”?

I think I’m going through a little ballroom withdrawal. It’s been weeks and weeks since I took a group class. My last few private lessons were a week apart due to Teacher going to comps or having other scheduling conflicts. And I haven’t been going to the studio to practice. I have all sorts of excuses, including the fact that I’m still doing things at home like the journey to splits challenge. I used to practice before and/or after group class. It worked well for me. But now that I’m not taking group, I find it’s hard to motivate myself to go to just practice on my own. This is why I fail at being a gym member. I’m much more likely to go if there is a class or something where I have other people to support me and hold me accountable. But going by myself to work by myself? I feel like I may as well save the gas and stay at home. This withdrawal coupled with anxiety over USDC and reading online how often others practice or have private lessons has me once again pondering a question my demons obsessively taunt me with: at what point can I call myself a dancer?
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