Today, Tex, his wife, Z, OwnerGuy and his student leave for a mini-comp run by another Famous Franchise. I should be with them but I’m not. I would have had no expectations of winning but I had a strong reason for going. I’ve probably talked about this before but I think missing this event gives me an opportunity to fully deal with some of the things in my head. And that means I use the blog as therapy and just dump out what I’m feeling so I can see it on virtual paper and process it.
It is no secret that I’ve struggled mightily with self-confidence and my dancing ability. There are a host of reasons for this. Most of it comes down to one of the first quotes I stuck on Pinterest “It’s not who you are that holds you back it’s who you think you’re not”. I found so many reasons to tell myself that I wasn’t a dancer because it was so alien from any past experience in my life and that helped fuel the doubt and insecurity. It isn’t gone and it may never completely leave me but I’ve learned a lot about myself in the years since I’ve started doing this and one thing I’m starting to believe is that dance has always been inside me just waiting for a chance to come out.
A lot of my insecurities were also from being partnered with the wrong person for so many years and not really knowing it. The difficulty for me in being pro/am is that I’m the am and that’s the weaker part of the team. So how do I establish my own identity and my own worth when I can’t separate what I am from the partnership? I know this is a team sport but it is like talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers. There’s LeBron and then there’s … well there’s that other guy who is sort of good and then there’s … Hopefully, you get the point. The ego is me wants to be known as a dancer in my own right and not just someone riding the coat tails of a much more advanced professional dancer.
It didn’t help that my partner had the unique ability to pick at my insecurities over and over again. I got wrapped up in who I thought I wasn’t and could never really find a true equilibrium and truly functional working relationship. There is no question that I learned a lot from her but the cost was high and has left emotional scars that still haven’t fully healed.
So after the break up, I’ll freely admit that the part of me that I never show or tell anyone about was dedicated to going to another event with a different partner. Again, no expectations of winning but just going and doing as well as I did with Z would be validation that I’m not just window dressing but that I am a dancer and my ability stands on its own. To be clear, I’m not entirely sure if that would have helped but I had told myself it would have.
When I first started working with the Body Double, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. I couldn’t believe how quickly we clicked and it was like she could see inside me to the parts I never show anyone and knew how to reach me. If it wasn’t for her, I would have walked away because it had stopped being fun. But we were soon moving like we had been dancing together for years. There were rough spots but most of it just flowed like it was meant to be. And I felt true support and true caring. I couldn’t wait to get back at a comp because I just felt it would be so different with her and that coming out would put away the ghosts and give me the real new beginning that I wanted. When she walked out of the studio, it was devastating. I still feel the sadness and emptiness but I’m also starting to feel blessed that she was there at the right time to help me begin the next chapter in my dance life.
And this weekend was supposed to be our coming out party. Shortly after working with her, I started mentally preparing myself for this weekend and this event. I wanted to erase the bad parts of Boston and bury the past and give myself a jumping off point to Showcase in November which was going to be the next step.
Now, I have Kid T to work with. It has been a set back because things just haven’t fallen into place as quickly as I had hoped. I know I don’t have a proper frame of reference for partner changes since I’ve done so few of them in my life. But pro/am is a complicated relationship and there is a whole lot more than dancing that goes into it. Sometimes, you get lucky and it works right away. Sometimes, it takes more time. Sometimes, you keep trying to make it work long after you should have stopped. I know we weren’t ready for this weekend. We could have gone but it would have been a mixed bag. I don’t know what that would have done to me.
This is also why I’m having mixed feelings about doing the event in two weeks. There are some dances that just click and will be fine. There are others that will be a struggle. With the Body Double, I was fully ready to go to the next event and kick some butt and take some names. With Kid T, I don’t have that same level of confidence. The doubt monster speaks to me and sometimes his voice is too loud to ignore. If I went and fell on my face, wouldn’t it just confirm my greatest fears? That I’m really just nothing and was being carried by Z for all those years? That I’m just wasting everyone’s time and a lot of my money pursuing something I have no real aptitude for?
In the face of that, I’m trying to remember another quote:
“What if I fall? Oh, my darling what if you fly?”
Or, to put it a pop culture reference more appropriate to my tastes “You can never win or lose, if you don’t run the race”. (I’ll leave it to those who care to determine the song that came from)
Yes, there is the part of me that wants to back out and not do this event in two weeks. That part of me that is listening to Doubt Monster that I’m not good enough and this will be a disaster. And because I’ve perhaps wrapped too much of my self-worth in “proving” that I’m a dancer and using an event as that proof.
But quitting is not the answer. Giving in to my fears and doubts is not the answer. I have to run my race. I have to get out there and do this again. There will be rough patches. There will be stumbles. None of that matters. Dancing is what matters. It is inside me and needs to come out. However this event goes, it will be the first step on a different journey. It isn’t the journey I expected to take but life doesn’t always keep you on the same path. Sometimes, it forces you to go in different and unexpected directions. It sucks and it isn’t fair but it can’t get you down or let you stop doing what you were born to do.
Hmm, I just noticed that I’ve seriously talked (written) myself into doing this event. In all honesty, I’ve just been free-forming the last couple of paragraphs and letting things just come out without really thinking more than a few words ahead. I think that means I’m on the right path.