In 17 days we will be leaving for the event that I choose not to name. In 18 days, I’ll be on the floor at said event. I will eventually name the event in these posts rather than as a tag. This is kind of like Rocky V where he had a photo of Drago on his mirror and ripped it down the day of the fight when he was mentally ready. So I’ll toss the name in right before I leave.
That means the next two weeks are going to packed. I’ve got all kinds of extra lessons and there is a coach coming to make some final tweaks. Do I feel ready? Silly rabbit, I never feel ready. But I’m realizing where I need to focus the next couple of weeks.
First, I am a good dancer. There, I said it. Still sounds egotistical and I’ve got some kind of built in switch that is saying “don’t brag on yourself” so I naturally go into a self-deprecating defensive mechanism to down play my abilities. But I have had enough people say this that it has to be true. And nothing that happens at the event that I can’t name will change that fact. Yes, there are still many things I need to work on but, that doesn’t negate the skills I do have. In any athletic activity, even the best have to keep working on their skills to stay there so having more to learn does not mean I am bad at what I can do. It just means that what I do can be further improved and enhanced. I’ve come much farther and higher than I would have ever expected when I started and maybe, just maybe, it is time to start giving myself some credit for what I’ve achieved and not punishing myself for what I still can’t do. The continual challenge is to harden that core belief so it becomes like the center of an avocado so when the inevitable screw ups and semi-sarcastic instructor comments happen over the next two weeks, they can only pierce so far into me but can’t break into the core belief that I am good at this. It is to then refocus those comments to what they are which is just ways to continue to improve and not an indictment of what I’ve achieved up until now.
Second, I must learn to stop freaking out over the amount of information they are throwing at me. Like a velcro dartboard, some things are going to hit and bounce off and some are going to hit and stick. It is not realistic to expect that I remember every little piece of information regarding technique that they have given me. Again, I’m not stupid and it is not a failure that I need to be reminded of things on multiple lessons or that I really need time to work on certain concepts until they become automatic. I’ve done enough group classes to know that many things have stuck with me and so many things are just routine now that I don’t have to think about them while I can see others in group class still working to try to grasp the same things that are second nature to me now. The new stuff will come with time and if I don’t quite master certain things in 18 days, it is OK because this event is just a stop on what I hope will be a much longer journey. Like many things, dance is a continual learning process and the higher you go, the harder the stuff becomes and the longer it takes to master it. The routines I’m doing now are light years ahead of where I started and we had to get the basic choreography down before we could really focus more on the technique. That’s where we are with the closed routines and the open ones will follow the same pattern but it will take time and that is OK.
I don’t expect to be the best out there but I also know I’ve worked my butt off to get ready for this event and I will continue to do so over the next couple of weeks – that is a given. I have done a lot over the last couple of years to make myself a better and stronger dancer and the last thing to work on is my head which will be the biggest challenge. But, no matter what happens with the placements, I belong out there. I have done enough and I’ve worked hard enough to have earned a spot out there. It is mine and I’m going to take it! I am not some imposter who tricked his way into the event. I am not going to be as over my head as I think. I can do this.
(Well, I may not fully believe that last part just yet but I figure putting on paper is the first step.)
I can say honestly that I can wait to get back into the study tomorrow and I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks. It is going to be a grind but I’m up for it.