Some lessons are uplifting and leave me wanting to rush back into the studio to continue. Tonight was the opposite. I warn you right now that I am so pissed at myself and I really hate this part of me. So I’m going to rant a bit (well maybe a lot). Will it make me feel better? Who knows but there are times when dancing just makes me face the worst parts about me and I hate them.
So, you probably expect some big traumatic event that set this off and the laughable part is that when I look at it now, it was really kind of trivial. I get to the lesson in a reasonably good mood and the first thing out of her mouth is that she’s going to test me and I better not fail. Turns out one of the other instructors was talking about how I was leading a certain swing step at the last party which of course was totally wrong. It is one of these subtle lead/follow things but my instructor was telling me how she told this other instructor that I would NEVER do that because I know better, blah, blah, blah. Then, she dances it with me and confirms that, yes, I was royally screwing it up. And she goes into a long explanation about how it should be done and why I shouldn’t do it the way I was doing it which didn’t help because the bottom line is I was doing it wrong and I should have been doing it right. It came across to her that I was mad at her but I was really just pissed at myself for screwing something up that I should have known how to do correctly.
What I find really ironic, is that my last post on the Imposter Syndrome, contained the question “I’m afraid people important to me will find out that I’m not as capable as they think I am.” We have a WINNER! She was so confident that I couldn’t be messing this up but yet I really was. I tried to make some lame excuses because there really are a lot of little subtleties and I’m just not able to remember all of them but she wasn’t buying it and I wouldn’t have either. I should know better and I didn’t. That’s the bottom line and if I really was at the level I think I am, then I shouldn’t have been messing up a more basic step.
Anyway, she tried to build me back up for the rest of the lesson. We did get through the swing, rumba and bolero routines and I did do a few things right. At one point, she tried to compliment me but when I’m in the grips of the dark side, everything gets scrambled and interpreted entirely differently. We did the contra check in the bolero and she said she liked it but, in an attempt to be funny, she said something like “you didn’t fall down and nobody died”. My mind translated that as “Well if you set the bar THAT freaking low, then anything is a success but it isn’t really a success”. (To be clear, my mind didn’t really use “freaking” but I’m trying to keep it clean here) Having now written this section, I can objectively see that we did get a lot accomplished even if I was in a crappy mental place.
At one point, she wanted me to say that I did something well. I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t even that I thought what we had done was a complete disaster, but I just don’t have a good frame of reference. To me, it still felt awkward and forced in places and I’m pretty sure we were off time and my posture could have been better but she was probably giving me a break on those for now. I suppose the positive affirmation types would suggest that you need to tell yourself you are good in order to help you believe it. And that might be totally correct but I have always struggled with saying something I don’t really believe in. For example, I can’t just parrot the line of HR BS that the company provides because I know if I’m not genuine, then people will see right through me. Well doesn’t the same thing apply to yourself. How can I tell myself that something was good if I really didn’t believe it was. Then again, my approach isn’t really working for me so maybe telling myself some lies would be the way to go.
Then, when I couldn’t find it in me to compliment myself, she asked me “Why are you so mean to yourself?”. That is actually a very good question and I didn’t have an answer to it. I still don’t. The logical part of my brain realizes that I shouldn’t be because it really doesn’t help anything and just leaves me feeling worse about myself. But the power of the dark side is very strong and when the emotions take over, the logical part gets bound and gagged and can’t help at all. It is only later (like now) when the emotions have calmed and the dark side loses its power and I’m able to see things more objectively. Of course, then I get pissed at myself for allowing the dark side to take over which just leads to more battles. I spoke last time about trying not to be so hard on myself and in the first lesson after, I failed miserably. Not a good start. All I can do is try harder at the next lesson. And maybe lie to myself a little bit.
Never would have predicted that when I started taking dance lessons that it would force me to confront things like this. Maybe, in time, I’ll be able to resist the call of the dark side. Logically, I know that would help me get to the next level. Oh well, as I said last time, one lesson at a time.