Return of the Demons

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Yes, last night was not a whole lot of fun.  It started out great.  I was working with Kid T on the Peabody and it is coming together nicely.  She’s doing more of taking the training wheels off and letting me dance it without her counting and it’s working pretty well.  The song is relatively easy to follow and all I have to do is count to 8.  I am ready for another challenge though but I know we have to get through Showstoppers next week and then we can focus on what else needs to be improved.

Something did happen in group class.  I’m going to tell you about it but it is another thing that is likely going to sound so minor and inconsequential that it will not be clear why it set me off.  I wish I could explain it better but I will try.  I’ve had to accept something about myself.  There are times when I feel things very deeply in part because I may be over interpreting an action.  I don’t necessarily always know the true motives but maybe it doesn’t matter so much because my perception becomes the truth.

It is no secret that my relationship with Z was and still is very complicated.  It is hard not to dance with someone for many years and not feel like you’ve developed some kind of bond.  Dance has opened up a whole new world for me and she helped introduce that to me.  The break up was necessary because the relationship had devolved and there was no real bond anymore.  She was just doing her job and all we had left was the exchange of money and that wasn’t enough for me.

They say time heals all wounds but the healing leaves scars and I don’t know if things are ever truly healed.  The break up was intense and emotional and I’ve gotten the clear sense that she wants nothing further to do with me.  And so we’ve been able to coexist at the studio by ignoring each other as much as possible.  Dysfunctional in a way and I suppose if I was stronger I would try to patch things but part of me knows that is a dangerous path since it would all end up being my fault.  I went down the road of trying to be the student I thought she wanted me to be and that’s where the worst of the demons came out.  So I’ve just decided to let it ride.

But, with Lady Gator out of the picture, it leaves three instructors to teach group class and last night, she was teaching group.  As luck would have it, there were more guys than ladies which meant she had to be part of the rotation.  That already made me a little apprehensive because dancing with her at group classes since the break up has been awkward to say the least.

For some reason though, I felt like maybe something had changed because she did address a couple of things to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still dreading when the rotation came around but I was willing to make the best of it.  Or at least I thought I was but maybe I was sending some signal out.  I don’t know exactly how to describe the step other than to say that we were supposed to be dancing together and while we started the step like we were supposed to, at some point, she just obviously pulled away from me like she couldn’t wait to get away from me.  And that happened each time we did the step.

See, I told you it would sound like nothing.  But it only happened with me.  It is one of those things that just started rolling around inside my head and gathering strength.  And it somehow stirred up all the little demons that were just waiting for an opportunity.  As I said, I can’t accurately describe how it made me feel but it quickly put me in a bad head space.

So the Waltz practice with Hilde and OwnerGuy was less than ideal.  I started back into expecting perfection and then beating myself up when things didn’t go that way.  I know OwnerGuy is trying to stretch me but everything that didn’t go perfectly was just echoing in my head and some part of me was again asking “Who are you kidding”.   You can’t do the dramatic stuff required by the song.  You can’t match Hilde’s intensity.  You can’t create the shapes that OwnerGuy does.  The dance feels clunky and not smooth like a waltz is supposed to.  Oh yeah, it was a real treat.

I don’t know if I’m assigning too much blame to the group class slight but I do know that once I got through the Waltz, it kept coming to my mind.  I might have tried to push it down to get through the Waltz but it was there and working its special magic on me in other ways.

Funny thing was is that Hilde grabbed me after we were done and said “we have to talk” and then she starts going on about how good I am and why she wanted to do this and how she’s making as many mistakes as I am.  And how I shouldn’t be beating myself up and how I’m leading her through things she’s never done and on and on.  I just wasn’t in a space to be able to focus on the good parts of the Waltz – and there are some good parts.  She’s mentioned she wants to continue doing this even after Showcase with another dance.  And how she doesn’t want to be good, she wants to be great.  And how she thinks I can be great but that I just need to trust myself and let it out.  Yes, it was a mini counseling session which maybe I needed.

She also told me I’m emotional, sensitive and vulnerable.  I don’t know if those are good qualities or not.  But she sees something which I’m slowly acknowledging is true about myself.  I feel things too deeply at times.  In the light of day, I don’t know if the group class incident was truly intended as a slight but that is sure what it FELT like to me.  And that feeling just carried over to the next lesson because I just couldn’t find a way to release it.

These damn emotions!  I try to convince myself that I’m Spock-like in my application of logic and then something like last night happens.  And, I have to be honest, I still can’t quite shake the FEELING of that group class.  I hate that a little thing that may not even be a thing has such a big impact on me but, here we are.  The good news is I’ve got one more lesson with Hilde and OwnerGuy before ShowStoppers and there is no group class before it.  I’ll try to stay in a better head space.  I know I can do the Waltz.  Just have to keep those damn emotions in check.

5 comments

  1. Preaching to the choir!! I know exactly what you’re talking about and those “little” things can absolutely have a huge impact on you. And especially in dance. I know I’m very sensitive to any time my teacher treats me (or appears to treat me) differently than other students. I don’t know if it helps, but consider if you’re still feeling awkwardness/tension with Z, there’s a good chance she does too and she IS human. So maybe she did just feel uncomfortable dancing with you, wasn’t able to stay totally professional and did pull away. Just keep making yourself refocus on the positive things! It takes a lot of work, but it will help! Sounds like Hilde is a good partner for you to have. 🙂

    1. I suspect you are right. As an introvert who hates conflict, I run silent which probably just increases the awkwardness. Just the emotional side of me wondering why she hates me so much. Then the logical side says that’s not true and why do you care anyway. My typical internal struggle.

      1. I went through a similar thing after “breaking up” with my first teacher. I finally received some insight from 3rd parties that helped me realize it wasn’t my problem, he just didn’t know how to handle the situation.

  2. Just a little thing? It means nothing? Sorry, no such thing in dance–or any other creative endeavor for that matter–we’re in an element that requires us to open our hearts and souls and very beings to the world in an effort to bring out the very best of ourselves. Stop beating yourself up … you deserve a medal for having the courage to have actually stepped into the arena!

    1. Thanks for the perspective. I’ll admit I’ve been kicking myself. The whole “my ex-teacher doesn’t like me” feels like a pretty silly reason to be in such a funk. I just think I should be stronger than this.

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