Amusing side note before I begin: I opened up a blank blog post to begin writing and then just stared at the screen for a few minutes while I thought about how I wanted to start. I started writing things out in my head instead of on the computer screen, but by the time I thought, “oh shoot, I should actually be writing this,” I forgot what I wrote.
That’s what happens when I try writing while I’m still drinking my first cup of tea in the morning.
I always loved the warning “be careful what you wish for.” We so often think we know what we want, but then, if we actually get it or are set on a path to get it, we realize it isn’t what we expected. Reality rarely matches the fantasy or expectation. It doesn’t mean we should never wish, hope or dream, but we should be careful. We should make sure what we’re wishing, hoping or dreaming is what we truly want.
As follow-up to their joint interview in April, I had asked Elizabeth Thomson and Nicholas Barkley if they would be willing to do individual interviews and share more of how ballroom has impacted their lives. Liz shared her struggles with PTSD and how ballroom brought her back to life in May. Now, we get to hear from Nick!
This month, I invited another dancer to write her own story. We met through Instagram of all places. Her Instagram account (@girlinthe_vans) is mainly videos of her dancing at a gym. No fancy costumes or glamorous settings. Just her, the music, and dance. The story behind these videos is full of pain and loss. But always, there was dance, ready to act as a lifeline when she reached for it.
When I first spoke with Nicholas Barkley and Elizabeth Thomson about doing an interview for the blog, I also proposed a second set of individual interviews. Their stories of how ballroom became the key to coping with their PTSD were incredible and deserved their own spaces, separate from their shared story of becoming an amateur couple.
Liz was kind enough to make time for me during one of her visits down to Orange County. We met at my studio after one of my dance lessons and talked for over an hour. While we sat stretched out on the floor of the teachers’ break room, Liz shared her journey, from enlisting in the Army to getting diagnosed with PTSD to finding relief in ballroom. Although she still struggles, ballroom has been Liz’s defibrillator. It brought her back to life and saved her from becoming “just another PTSD statistic.”
Just a quick post tonight. I just finished up some work for the main day job. It’s been a busy week (and it’s only Wednesday!) with an extra project for the main job plus side work from the second job. That did not stop me from getting to my dance lesson tonight though.
Got a few things bringing me down, as sometimes happens. I thought I’d put the blues to good use by sharing them with you and also sharing what I plan to accomplish anyway, in accordance with my #dontgiveup and #keepgoing mantras.
I realized that it’s been over a week since I last posted. Sorry about that! I’ve had a lot on my mind, but didn’t have anything concrete enough to put into words. I didn’t want to leave you hanging though, so I’ve done my best to form some hopefully readable sentences.
I get this question a lot when I’m at the studio. I ask this question a lot! It’s a standard “catch up” question among ballroom dancers to find out what event you’re working toward. But it’s also become an awkward question because my answer is “I have no idea.”
I’m slowly figuring out how to cope with not having a real answer to that question. I’m working on setting non-competition dance goals to keep myself busy and motivated (keep an eye out for an article on those!). Teacher doesn’t want me to give up on competition goals though, even if the next one is six months out or more. Usually encouragement and support from Teacher would boost my motivation to find any and all creative solutions to my financial dilemma. That’s how I managed to afford my 2015 comps!
But something is holding me back. And considering I just wrote about why I crave a challenge beyond just dancing, I want to explore why I’m having trouble motivating myself to find a new path to the fuel that feeds my inner fire.
You guys don’t mind me using this platform to psychoanalyze myself, right?
Imagine you dance at a competition and you do great! Imagine whatever “great” means to you – top placements, pure enjoyment, or successfully executing something you had been struggling with. Now imagine you wake up a couple of days after the competition and you feel like crap. I call this “post-comp blues.”