How I learned to keep my mouth shut and avoid an argument

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Its been a rough couple of days for some personal reasons that I’m not going to get into.  (I share a lot of stuff here but even I have my limits)

But there is progress on the dance front.  When I learn a new step, my first impression can totally lead me astray.  If I’m not getting it, then I feel awkward doing it and if I feel awkward, then I assume it makes me look ridiculous and then I start to shut down and start fighting my instructor and things quickly go downhill.  Part of is that I still can’t look at myself in a mirror while dancing because I focus just on the bad things.  Yes, years of being overweight has probably left me with some pretty low self esteem about how I look and I still have trouble wrapping my head around my new image.  (Quick aside, I was walking to a meeting with another guy who is at least 6’6″ and totally fit and somebody else I know walks by us as says “there go a couple of beanpoles”.  Beanpole – me??  Don’t feel like one that is for sure)   Not wanting to digress too much into this but I do believe this still drives a lot of my problems because the mental image I get is of some fat guy trying to do a step and just looking stupid.  Objectively and logically, I know that isn’t the case but I can’t yet stop my mind from going there.

Anyway, back to the lesson.  I am more and more convinced that my instructor and I have totally different ways of processing information.  She’s telling me this step (a face loop) is the same as the basic and I’m not getting it.  Fortunately, I was able to break it down step by step and show her where the disconnect was.  She still didn’t quite see what my problem was but at least we worked through it.  Had to spend almost half the lesson on that one step just to make it start feeling comfortable but I kept working it and later tossed it in when she wasn’t expecting it when we were doing some general practice.  Think she was pleasantly surprised.   Still not a big fan but I at least can say I worked through it.

Later, we were doing something else and she shows me one way of doing it.  One of the things I’m not sure they realize is that most of us are watching them closely and just trying to mimic what they do.  The words are nice but it isn’t always easy to follow the words so the actions are what matters.  And two steps straight back are very different from two steps where the second one rotates.  Anyway, after we’ve done the step a couple of times, she’s trying to tell me that it is just like another step that we had learned earlier and I, of course, disagreed.  So she went through it and changed her footwork from what she first showed me so that it did match the other step.  In the past, this would have been a time for me to call her out and tell her that’s not what she did originally, but I decided that I wanted to just focus on getting the step so I let it go and just adapted to follow what she was doing.  End result is that we now have a nice little west coast swing amalgamation to use at the next showcase.  We will have to come back to it because one lesson isn’t enough but I at least have something to work with.

Tonight and tomorrow we work on the quickstep.  Have to go back over the beginning to get that nailed down – we do a little intro which isn’t quickstep but is just to have some fun.   Then we break into some basic quickstep (have to get the timing down so we get into it at the right place in the song).  But, we don’t yet have an ending so that is what we need to get tonight.  Will have to keep last night lesson in mind because I suspect the ending will not be something that I’m initially comfortable with so I have to keep my mind in the same place it was last night.

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