I Perform Better in the Dark

Before I get started, I just want to share that I’m on vacation for an entire week! Obviously, I really needed it because my mood improved more and more on Friday as it got closer to quitting time. I’m looking forward to this week of sleeping in, spending time with my puppies, writing, and dancing!

Which brings me to today’s topic:

For the last few weeks, I’ve been going to these Sunday social dances. They are hosted by a friend of Teacher’s, owner/creator of freeballroomlessons.com.

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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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To Teach or Not to Teach (Write31Days Day 27)

I had no idea what to write for today. I had a list of topics, but none of them were speaking to me. Then I took a phone call, and inspiration finally came to me.

And then it left, right after I wrote “inspiration finally came to me.”

Clearly, something is blocking my creative flow (stress, maybe!). Well, since I already wrote the title, I’ll do my best to put something together. If it doesn’t work out well, you can always catch up on the rest of my posts for the 31 Day Writing Challenge!

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Dear DWTS Contestants: Welcome to Ballroom! (Write31Days Day 2)

After some exciting progress with my writing, from publishing my first eBook to getting another article published on Dance Advantage, I took a break on Monday night to watch Week 3 of Dancing with the Stars.  It seemed like it was a challenging week for the various celebrities as they started to realize that the show was actually a competition and they actually needed to learn and dance ballroom if they were going to stay.  And ballroom dancing is hard!

All of the demons started coming out, and I heard so many things that sounded so familiar!  “I’ve been abandoned before, I’m scared, I’m not sexy, I can’t do this, why can’t I get this right?!”  People were having trouble connecting with their pro partners and feeling uncomfortable with the close physical contact. Someone even brought up the blurry line that is the pro-am relationship (teacher or friend?).  I couldn’t help myself; I had to write about it.

First, to all of the remaining Dancing with the Stars contestants, I would like to say welcome!

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The Evolution of a Dancer

Every once in awhile, I like to reflect on where I am versus where I was. I have changed and grown so much in the past few years, and I think it is important to pause and acknowledge that growth. It’s a good thing to practice, especially when you feel like you’re stuck in your current situation. Think of this as a more in-depth follow-up to When Taking Ballroom, Side Effects May Include…

So how has the Girl evolved?

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Countdown to USDC – 8 Days: I’m Completely Calm (and My Pants are on Fire)

Preface: I almost deleted this post after I wrote it. Because I know I have covered all of this before. The problem with struggles like mine is people get tired of hearing about them because they don’t understand why I don’t just get over it. Especially when I have documented success at the things I have anxiety and insecurities over. But the fact of the matter is this is a long-term project. I could win 10 more competitions and still struggle with fear and self-doubt. My goal with this blog is and always will be to be honest and open about those struggles. Hopefully, it doesn’t get too repetitive for you.

In less than a week, I get on a plane to fly to Florida. Eight days until I dance. I can’t decide if I want this last week to hurry up or slow down. I lean toward hurry up. The anticipation anxiety is always much worse than the anxiety at the actual event. And with it also being almost a week until I meet up with Teacher again, I’ve pretty much entered full panic mode. Which means I’ve gotten very quiet.

But you, my lucky readers, get a glimpse into the storm raging below the seemingly calm surface.

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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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Countdown to USDC – 21 Days: Team Match and a Silver Debut

I’ve lucked out twice now with my studio holding a team match shortly before I’m to go to a big competition. Team matches are great to use as rehearsals for the “real thing” because you get the structure of a competition without the stress. Or in my case, with less stress (it never leaves me entirely). This one was especially important because it allowed me to try out my new silver routines!

Before the team match, I had never done a complete round of all four silver routines with Teacher, causing me just a little anxiety (ok, a LOT of anxiety). Adding to that stress was the uncomfortable feeling of being unprepared because I still didn’t know all of my silver choreography. I could follow Teacher, but I had no idea what we were doing. To me, it was like starring in a play and not knowing all of my lines. I would have Teacher essentially feeding me lines during the performance, but that meant I had to direct more thought power to what the next line was instead of how I was going to deliver it. It also almost feels like half-assing it, like I didn’t bother studying for a test because I was going to be able to take it with a partner. I’m just not that kind of student. Plus, as the article about introverts that I shared stated, I need to feel prepared.

So how did the team match go?

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