Days of Future Past

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Reply Hazy Try Again – This is currently where the magic 8 ball of my life sits with regards to my dancing future.

Perhaps I’ve always been this way or perhaps the exposure to more creative things has brought this side out of me, but one thing that rings true about being an INFP is the emotions.  One book describes them as deep, intense and personal.  Yes, yes and yes.  The problem is that there are so many external things (gloomy weather, work issues, worries about the future) that can trigger these intense emotions and usually that leads to some deep thinking and introspection.  But it is hard to sort out what is real from what is just a passing feeling.  And my emotions can color my perceptions of certain things and acts so I read into things stuff that may or may not be there.

Having said that, I was reading another description of an INFP and there were certain things that mirrored how I was feeling.  (Yes, I’ve read a lot of them.  It is all part of the obsession).  This one was from Personality Junkie – want to give them some credit.  I’m going to lift parts of them and then relate them to my current unease.

INFPs are creative, quirky, humane, and individualistic. Like INFJs, they want to understand who they are and their purpose in the world. Curious and restless, they enjoy entertaining new ideas and possibilities. They are rarely content with “what is,” preferring instead to focus their sights on “what could be.” This, combined with their strong idealism, can engender a sort of “grass is greener” mentality.

I just can’t away from that quirky thing, can I?  But the whole focus on “what could be” does perfectly describe my dancing goals.  They are not tangible goals about winning or placements but just the idea that I should keep striving to reach my potential which is the unknown country.  The “what” I could be.  And, yes, there is currently a great deal of restlessness about my abilities to reach that goal at this Famous Franchise.  So am I guilty of the “grass is greener” thinking?  That there is some other studio out there that could better help me?  Maybe but, then again, maybe not.

INFPs seek a life of passion and intensity. They want to know what it means to be fully alive and how they might cultivate a rich and abundant life. They gravitate toward experiences that arouse or intensify feelings of passion, inspiration, or meaning. They may turn to relationships, novels, poetry, music, travel, or activism to achieve their desired level of intensity.

Well, if I had known this, I would have started dancing years ago.   I don’t know that I gravitated towards dancing but it certainly does arouse and intensify feelings of passion, inspiration and meaning.  I’ve even said that being on the floor makes me feel alive like few other things do.  I wasn’t actually seeking a life of passion and intensity but I’ve found that in dancing and I desperately want to hang on to that.   The problem for me is that the practice required to reach my potential very rarely arouses those same feelings.  It is about chasing the high for me and whether the long periods of drilling is going to pay off at Showcase is still to be determined.

As INFPs proceed in their search for self, they eventually stumble onto something that deeply moves or inspires them. They may even feel they’ve finally found what they have been looking for. But more often than not, their enthusiasm is short-lived, once the novelty of their new discovery has worn off. Over time, this can become frustrating or demoralizing for INFPs, since they so desperately want to find themselves. They don’t want to remain seekers forever. They want know to know their mission in life. They want their seeking efforts to culminate in a sense of conviction and direction for their lives.

Yeah, this says it better than I did.  I wouldn’t say my enthusiasm is “short-lived” considering how many years I’ve been doing this.  But it is certainly fair to say that my enthusiasm level is at a low point.  It was like this last year but that was for different reasons.  Now, there are few new challenges and few opportunities to know that I’m growing and moving in the right direction.  So I feel the need to find someplace new where I can get these things.

With that said, it would be wrong to pretend that INFPs don’t also find the seeker’s journey deeply meaningful and enjoyable. Whether they admit it or not, their seeking is at least as much about the journey as it is the destination. But it is also true that they wouldn’t be seeking, at least not with such vigor and zeal, without an anticipated payoff. Hence, they may resist notions like “just relax and enjoy the journey” because the imagined destination, that ever-elusive Holy Grail, imbues their actions with greater meaning, urgency, and intensity. 

No, I’ll freely admit that my dancing has often been a lot more about the journey than the destination.  I know I can’t really define the destination although the payoff is just me knowing and feeling that I’m making progress and getting better.  I know progress can be slow but I don’t like feeling that I’ve spent the last six months (and significant amounts of money) just to be in the same place I was in November.  That may not be true but it is how I feel and that, in part, drives my restlessness.

There is also the strange sense of “right” and “wrong” that comes with being an INFP.  Sometimes, the things that feel “right” or “wrong” to us won’t make sense to others.  We can try to explain but it is unlikely to help because the judgement is personal and based on a lifetime of sifting through experiences and placing them on the right side or the wrong side.

Here’s a concrete example for you to explore.  There in a big dance thing coming up in June.  When OwnerGuy first brought it up, I said I would consider it.  I tried to make it clear that I wasn’t interested in doing another one of these until we had open routines and that at least could dance through them.  The subject never came up again until after a particularly rough lesson.  I was feeling totally down on myself at that time so I just said it was never going to happen.  It was never brought up again and I figured it was a dead issue.  Until last night before our lesson when he comes up to tell me that this is the last night to register for this dance event and he was giving me one last chance since I had originally expressed an interest.

Now, you might be saying that it was nice of him to give me the one last chance and that he was just making sure that I had every opportunity.  And that is certainly one way to interpret those events.  It is not my way though.  It comes down to this, if you are going to ask me to spend a significant amount of money, then I’d rather it not be an afterthought right before a lesson.  Based on our last conversation, it should have been obvious that I was having some real serious reservations.  So, talk to me.  Figure out what is going on and why I feel that way.  If you want me to go, then give me some reassurance that it is the right thing to do.  Kid T has been totally silent on this even as well.  It is possible she didn’t want to bring it up after the last time but  I need to hear from her that I’m capable and this is something we can do.  You could argue that I’ve done it before so why would I need all the stroking.  Well, do you not have any idea of the roller coaster I’ve been on since the last one?  (To be fair, he wouldn’t because I don’t volunteer these things but, if you never ask, you will never, ever know).   I’m sure he meant well but don’t leave something lie for weeks and then ambush me at the last minute.

So, aside from that, what else is feeling wrong?  I will tell you but I’m going to have to fess up that this part is a lot about ego and envy.  Wish that wasn’t the case but I’m not perfect.  If you want the truth, it has started to grate on me when I see all the attention and praise lavished on people who aren’t any better than me but just willing to spend more money to attend these events.  The last time I signed up for lessons, he brought up how lucky we are as a studio to have experienced dancers like him and Z.  OK, but what am I getting out of that when Z doesn’t talk to me and I’ve had one progress check with him in six months?  I know his argument would be that he works with Kid T and Sunny and he does watch part of our lessons from time to time and gives them some feedback on what to do.   But there is still only so much they can do.

It is not that I’m getting any hostility from the studio.  They are all very friendly and saying hello when I walk in.  There are just too many times when it feels like the attitude is to send Kid T and me into a corner of the studio while the real competitive dancers work.

And now we are less than two weeks from Showcase and I can’t really afford to have this kind of crap rolling around in my head.  For better or worse, I’ve committed to going and there is really not much improvement that is going to happen between now and then.  It is more about working on what I’ve got and hoping for the best when Showcase gets here.  Really all I can do is try to shut that stuff out and just dance to the best of my abilities and see what happens.  That way, if this turns out to be my farewell performance, I’ll go out on a high note.

2 comments

  1. Wall – Do you think Owner Guy is an extrovert? If so, you may wish to consider this: I, as a highly extroverted person, am reluctant to question people, for fear of invading their space. I figure if they want me to know something, they’ll tell me – because that’s what I would do. While I know a lot about Type, It’s stIll VERY hard for me to remember that introverts tend to not share info spontaneously. As Owner Guy likely knows nothing about Type, it may not even have crossed his mind that you may be harboring unexpressed feelings and perceptions about which he needs to know.

    1. That’s possible. We have talked a couple of times. Perhaps he is assuming all is well since those talks even though I haven’t perceived any significant change.

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