Fade to Grey

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Introductory Note:  The last few days have been, cold, grey and wet.  I want to feel the warm breezes of spring and instead I get the arctic chill of a winter that refuses to leave.  The house guest from hell that has long since worn out its welcome but refuses to take the hint that it is time to leave.  Because, while I enjoyed the movie Frozen, the cold bugs the hell out of me.  My mood matches the weather and so I’m drawn down a bit towards the darker side where I just feel like indulging myself a bit.  Things are not as dark as I make them out to be.

So you should know that I had a little conversation with Kid T before our latest lesson.  Basically laid out that I feel like I’m not making a lot of progress and that’s what is keeping my motivation down.  I know it comes across differently so I let her know that I know I can do everything we’ve got planned – even that stupid Quickstep.  But that I want it to be better than the one we did at the last Showcase and I’m just not feeling it yet.  I had described it as a “chaotic mess” at our last lesson which she felt was too harsh but I thought was pretty accurate.

Well, let’s just put that down as be careful what you wish for.  The Quickstep was scheduled as my second lesson of the night.  The first lesson was Tango and then Cosmo ran a Cha-Cha group.  Those were mostly uneventful although I finally got to a point where I understood the footwork at the beginning of our Tango.  I had to have her go in slow motion multiple times and I had to translate her “quicks” into numbers since there were six in a row.

Cosmo runs a mean group.  He is totally no nonsense which is different from how groups have been run.  He’s seriously into repetition and that means you get a lot of work done in a short period of time.  It becomes a grind but he gets results.  I only point that out because I wanted to set the stage that I had spent 45 minutes doing a Tango pattern that covers the entire floor and another 45 minutes doing repetitive cha-cha so I was pretty tired going into the Quickstep.

And then Kid T wants to do multiple run throughs.  We started without music for a couple but ended up doing three in a row with music.  She kept telling me things were fine while I was trying to remember all the things that were in my head about how each step was supposed to be and it still felt rushed and sloppy in a lot of parts.

She fixed the easy stuff first which was around footwork in certain spots.  OwnerGuy choreographed this but it had been modified by two coaches and with the change in instructors, I really didn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing in parts.  I finally was able to say that and she broke it down piece by piece and it was clear that my understanding was far different from the reality.  I was probably remembering a different reality since there have been multiple subtle changes in several parts and it was hard to keep up.

So, then, when I was tired, she brought back frame and head position and some other things which I know slip when I get tired.  And there were more little corrections in where I was supposed to face in certain steps and not over rotating certain parts and more stuff jammed into my head.  All the while we kept doing it.  There were some parts that did feel different and better so there is improvement but …

I have this fantasy about what kind of a dancer I am and this was a harsh slap of reality.  I saw a glimpse of where I needed to go and it was kind of like looking up at the Cliffs of Insanity.  The problem is that I’m not the Dread Pirate Roberts and I don’t see any way to scale this by myself.  (If you don’t get that pop culture reference, shame on you)  I know I can do a quickstep.  But it is so far from being a “real” quickstep that all I could think of is that I really have no business even trying.

See, there’s that inner perfectionist again.  If I can’t match the ideal of my fantasy, then I must totally suck.  There is no in between.  What am I afraid of?  That I’m really just not good enough. That I’m wasting my time and money chasing a dream that will never come true.  That I’ve gone as far as I can and there is nothing further to be gained.

So why don’t you quit?  Because I’ve got nowhere else to go.  No, seriously, I could probably convince them to drop the Quickstep and it would spare me the embarrassment of being judged and showing how inadequate it really is.  But quitting would be just as bad for me because it would be another thing that I was too afraid to do.  When the going gets tough, the tough don’t quit.   Rock and a hard place.  Don’t really feel like I can do the dance justice but don’t want to toss it to the side of the road either.

The only plus is that it is just a little over a minute long and one costume change and then it will be out of my life.  I think I can hang in there long enough to survive.  As for fixing the rest of how I feel right now.  Well, I don’t know what that will take.

Postscript:

Just came from the worst lesson I’ve ever had with Kid T.  I know my mood was grey but I tried to lighten it with a Facebook post.  I come up with little funny things about me that I know people are going to respond to.  I guess I see it as my mission to spread a little sunshine when I can even if I don’t feel it.  I like to make people laugh.  We were Mambo and the other couple was using Toxic which is the beginning Mambo song.  When I first started, it seemed so fast.  Now, Kid T said it was a slow Mambo and it felt slow to me as well.  I was going to say something and then had a major blow out.

We went to do a step I’ve done multiple times before and I reached for what I felt I needed to do and it didn’t work.  We tried again and it failed again.  She’s trying to break down what I’m supposed to do and it was like she was speaking a foreign language because I wasn’t following.  We’d get to the part and I had to have her go step by step and even though I was doing it, I couldn’t get over how WRONG it felt.  I swear it is not what I’ve been doing.  But then it points out one of my fundamental flaws.  I don’t always have command of the footwork.  I dance what feels right and I think I’ve got it but I don’t.

Then all of the fear and the insecurity and the doubt just came charging out of my head and swallowed me up.  I could feel myself falling into that deep dark hole and I couldn’t stop it.  I just got more frustrated with myself and that just triggered more of the “what the hell are you doing” and it was the endless cycle of defeat which hasn’t hit me this hard in a really long time.  It didn’t help that we eventually got through it because the last two times we did it, I still messed it up.

We moved on to Rumba and all I could focus on was the things I wasn’t doing.  Your posture sucks.  You don’t have forward poise.  You aren’t standing tall.  You aren’t doing any Cuban motion.  Who do you think you are kidding.  You don’t belong on this floor.  You are not ready to do Showcase let alone a competition.  Ugly, ugly stuff.

She tried to cheer me up but it just wasn’t working.  I had to leave so I didn’t stay for either group or party.  I feigned that I was tired which is certainly true but I was so frustrated with myself that I was afraid I’d break down if I stayed.  When the going gets tough, the not so tough come close to tears.  Yeah, real manly stuff.  Can you tell I’m still in a bit of self-hating mood.

I am so freaked out that I’m scared to do Showcase because I’m afraid I’m just going to fall on my butt and look stupid.  I’m really hoping this is just a temporary down thing due to the extended winter that we are having.  Well, I’m going to go find something mindless to do.

3 comments

  1. OMG — call the CDC, we’ve got a MAJOR case of run-amok MALAISE going on here !!
    Seriously … I just found something I’d posted to my Pinterest page a couple of years ago:
    “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”
    You’re amazing. Don’t let this *@+#% weather get to you

  2. Ok, how were you able to get inside my head and post all my thoughts without me knowing??
    Chalk it up to a bad case of seasonal affective disorder meets muscle amnesia. The demons had their playtime, time to get back in their cages.

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