I’m torn between two posts. I could easily do a recap of my lesson last night. There have been some positive changes since I was gone and maybe my fears about the studio withering away were unfounded. Or, I’ve got a couple of random threads floating around in my head based off a reaction I had to a movie I saw on the flight down to our vacation site. The first one would be easier but I’m leaning towards the second one. Besides, I probably need at least one more lesson to really lock in on the studio vibe to see if it has truly changed. So, we’ll go with door #2. Besides, it has probably only been a couple of posts since I went for serious introspection.
Where does confidence come from? I don’t know. I can only speak to what I perceive to be my experience and yours is likely to be different. I do keep coming back to this quote “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it is what you think you are not.” I attempted to play musical instruments in elementary school and, as late as high school, I took an art class. But all my art projects never turned out as I imagined they would and I soon turned to math and basically shut down my creative side. And so I went along in my life believing that I was not artistic or creative and that I couldn’t do anything like that.
Of course, that also applied to ballroom. As much as it intrigued me, I could never cross the line to go. It didn’t fit with the logical person I had assumed I was. After all, Mr Spock don’t dance. As I got into it and had some success, but I keep fighting the internal battle that this isn’t who I was and that constantly made me feel like an impostor. It didn’t help that I was partnered with an instructor with a personality that was 180 degrees from what I needed. While there was certainly success in getting me to learn the patterns, there was never true confidence built. And that is because the endless stream of sarcastic comments and backhanded compliments. All of these were meant to be funny but they would tear done any confidence I had built up. Many times, I would tell myself that I was a dancer and then I’d hit a wall and not get support and it would all come crashing down around me.
I don’t know so much if it matters whether I’m INTP or INFP or some strange hybrid. There are things about the INFP that are spot on and that is probably what matters more. Just the fact that it made me challenge some long held beliefs about myself. I’ve always said that dancing met some need I didn’t know I had and I had wondered why it has impacted me the way it did. Well, I’ve read that INFP’s tend to need some outlet to express this side and I had shut that off for years. Is it any wonder that exposing myself to dance has had a trans formative impact on me breaking through barriers and causing me to reshuffle and rethink who I am.
An INFP can also be highly sensitive to criticism and tends to need a lot of positive feedback and that is spot on although I need the feedback to be real. Looking back, having a drill sergeant with an acidic sense of wit was probably not a good match for me. It is probably why I clicked so quickly with the Body Double. It has taken a little time to form a bond with Kid T and we are still working on it but she is more supportive and positive and that is more what I need. As the positive feedback has replaced sarcasm, my mind has opened more and I’m more comfortable trying things that make me vulnerable and exposed. And I feel more like a dancer than ever. Oh, the doubts haven’t completely gone away but it is so much easier to feel like I truly belong in this world.
So what triggered all this. Well, it was Frozen. Yes, I had a choice of lots and lots of movies to watch and I picked a Disney cartoon. Don’t judge! I wasn’t in the mood for anything else. The “let it go” scene really spoke to me. Yes, I got deep meaning out of a cartoon. I told you to stop judging! Big picture here. There was a girl who was denying who she was and trying to live the life others wanted for her. “Conceal, don’t feel”. The sense of freedom and release just radiated as she got more into the song and built her ice castle and was finally free to be who she really was. Not entirely the same thing since she knew who she was and was being forced to hide it, but a similar feeling as I get more comfortable with some of the aspects of my personality I didn’t fully understand or tried to suppress.
There has always been an inner struggle with me that I was only vaguely aware of. I do crave meaningful connections with people. Something that goes beyond small talk but that requires opening up and I’ve always been a very private person. Opening up requires being vulnerable and trusting and I’ve normally chosen to just listen and observe. Then, I started doing this and I’m free to talk about all kinds of things because I have the veil of anonymity. But, it has started to move into other parts of my life. Facebook gives me an opportunity to share things that I think are important or funny and it is easy because it isn’t face to face so I don’t have to see how the other person reacts. Then you get the “likes” and comments and it just encourages you to keep going. I was home yesterday and my wife asked if I had told anyone about the fish pedicure and I said no in part because nobody had asked about it. Then, today, I just decided to share it with some people in my group. That allowed someone else to share a story. Nothing forges a better bond than shared experience and I’m started to get more comfortable revealing things without being asked.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. I do have a strong need for positive feedback which is supposedly another trait of an INFP. I’ve always told myself that I didn’t care but that’s really a lie. I get excited when I see a notification either in Facebook or after I’ve done a post. Yes, I’m sort of addicted to the “Likes”. The positive comments you make are even better. It is especially nice when I’ve done an experimental type post that isn’t dance related and I get some positive feedback which is just the encouragement to do more. Again, very much like Sally Field “You Like Me!”
And, it also comes back to this quote I just recently found.
The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest is being happy with what you find.
Not saying I’ve totally discovered who I am. I don’t know if anyone does. I’ll just say that I’ve gone through a great awakening that has forced me to challenge some perceptions of myself. I’ll share another little secret with you. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve found so far. I think that is a big part of my increased confidence.