The Open Letter

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I’m still working through some things in my head.  The following is part of what I’d like to say to my instructor but may not have the courage to do so.

First, I want to say that I do appreciate everything you’ve done lately.  I like the fact that you’ve taken my letter and plastered pieces of it all over my binder as a constant reminder of my goals and what I like and dislike about lessons. I appreciate that you are trying to explain things in multiple ways and that you stopped to focus on what I might be doing to cause some knee pain in a particular step.  The logical part of my brain tells me you are still there for me but I’m still struggling to fully get over what happened after NorthStar.  It is also true that we are starting on the next phase in my evolution as a dancer but that always makes me feel a little like Sisyphus where I just pushed the stupid rock up the hill (NorthStar) and it rolled down and we are starting all over again.  The road ahead always looks long and impassible at the start.  I’d like to believe I can accomplish these next steps but it will take a great deal of support but also commitment from me and my feelings are getting in the way.

I’ve seen you mad at me before.  I’ve felt that. It wasn’t pleasant but what I felt in the weeks after NorthStar was exponentially worse.  I’ve never experienced such a range of strong negative emotions directed at me.  It was a combination of coldness, indifference, irritation, and perhaps even some hatred.  I felt pretty clearly that you really didn’t want to be there and that you wanted nothing more to do with me.  To be completely honest, I don’t feel I deserved that for a comment that was in no way directed at you.  But as someone who feels strong emotions, I can’t be too upset that you took my comment to mean something that it didn’t.  It may speak to some more deep seated issues between us but I’ll leave that for now.

The strong negative stream of emotions did some damage.  It triggered my flight response as there were many days when I didn’t want to come in and most days, I was ready to run off our lesson midway through.  Even at Medal Ball, I was full of anticipation heading to the event because I figured we’d end up at the same table and I had no idea how that would go.  It did turn out fine so that’s not the issue.  As I’ve said, you’ve done nothing since that time to make things worse. But the events of those weeks have left some scars on me which I’m only now realizing how deep.  I go to lessons now and I’m hesitant around you since I’m not sure what to say or how you really feel about me.  You’ve been supportive but I keep going back to those weeks and wondering what your real feelings are.  You’ve said you want to continue with me and that I believe but why?  If you don’t like me as a person, can we have an effective student/teacher relationship.  As much as I hate being this emotional and weak, there is a part of me that has to know what you really think.  I see that you greet everyone else warmly and have no problem engaging in small talk with others.  For me, it is “Ready to go” and then we are off on the lesson.  Perhaps I am simply imagining this or maybe it does represent a new reality for us where we interact just as student and teacher and can at least be civil to each other even if there is no real good feelings between us.  I’m not sure that is a recipe for long term success though.

I do suspect that I am still reacting emotionally and reading much more into things then are truly there.  But things between us feel different.  Heck, entering the studio feels different.  There is another instructor who also appears a little colder to me than before.  The others seem fine but things just feel off to me.  It is a vague feeling that I can’t pin down and I can’t really point to anything concrete which frustrates me because I can’t fix a bad feeling.  There is just some rip in the space time continuum that makes things feel wrong.

The funny thing was is once I got off the lesson, I started acting like myself again at group class.  I know I avoided you at party.  Something was just telling me to stay away.  This is my signal that something still isn’t right and maybe my subconscious is still sending out the “run away” messages.  I am hopeful that I can get over this and, aside from telling me that don’t really hate me, I’m not sure there is anything you can do either.  I hate that I can get tied in knots like this but that is what has happened and I can’t quite figure out how to untie them.  They say time heals all wounds and I’m hopeful that is the truth here because I really want to go back to how things felt before NorthStar.


  1. Say what you need to say. Choosing to do nothing is a also a choice, and from my perspective it would serve you far more to express yourself. How she responds or reacts is nout of your control, but how you show up in your own life is absolutely up to you. How do you want to show up? How about as a bold, honest, courageous and authentic man? Better than a holding back, stuffing, hiding, running away man, I’d say. Plus only one course of action has the potential to create clarity and change. I believe in you. You can do this! Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather choosing to take action regardless of shaking in your boots. You’ve got this!

    1. So the phrase “Man Up” comes to mind. Thanks for the encouragement. I had pretty much convinced myself I had to say something. Just needed people to push me in the right direction.

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