Misty Watercolor Memories

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I’m using the title but I really can’t stand the song.  It does evoke the sadness it is supposed to but it tries way to hard.  I mean hit me over the head with a hammer and its going to hurt but it sure isn’t subtle.  Still, I am taking a short trip down memory lane this weekend.  (Wait, you said in another post that you want to look forward and not backward.)  That was yesterday.  This is my blog and make all the rules and then break em all (because I am the best).  Sidebar – I think this is why I love doing this so much.  No procedures to follow.  No rules.  Just sign on and go total stream of consciousness and see what happens.  It is very liberating.

But, back to the first topic (oh yes, there is much to cover so strap in).  Last year, I was at the big dance event in Boston.  That is happening this weekend as well and OwnerGuy, Z and a few of the cool kids are there.  (Is that a little jealousy I sense)  Yes, now shut up and let me tell my story.

It was after we got back that my relationship with Z was blown up beyond all repair.  While my dance progress has taken a series of forward and backward steps, I still know this was the right thing to do.  We INFP’s tend to be loyal meaning that we can’t always get ourselves out of bad relationships.  Yes, I get that this was primarily a business relationship but the reality is that it will always be something slightly more.  And, no, that’s not what I plan to write about (Thank heaven for small favors, you’ve certainly beat that particular horse to death).  You know, I’ll find way to get rid of the italics button if you don’t leave me alone.

Actually, the reason for the dip into bad memories is that this marks one year since my last major competition.  Do I miss it?  Yes.  I’ve got a serious love/hate relationship with these events but there is a part of me that wants to get back out there.  Showcases are great but it kind of like minor league vs major league.  One of these comps is like being a minor league star getting a call up to the majors where all the pitchers have wicked fastballs and nasty curves.  It isn’t necessarily about winning (although that would certainly be nice).  It is about going up against really good dancers and holding your own.  Its about the pride of walking out at the end of an event and thinking that you do belong.  It is a sign post that indicates progress and it points the way to the next stop in your dance journey.  Every event has brought unexpected results that allow you to see your dancing in a new light.

Oh, there are parts I don’t miss at all.  I think the Famous Franchise does these events so they can have total control of everything and with the Famous Franchise, everything is about fun.  But “fun” means being loud and cheering during the heats and having “fun” themed parties both nights so you have to bring costumes.  It is all extroverted fun and a lot of it feels fake and forced.  It is like all the instructors are “on” the entire weekend.  Well, except Z last year who acted like she wished she wasn’t there with me.  (Oooh, that’s a little bitter.  Besides, you said you weren’t going to talk about that.)  I lied.  Sue me.  I think all the yelling and clapping is supposed to make you relax and have fun and feel supported.  For some people, it probably does.  For me, it just adds to the stress because you’ve got all these people and all this noise and chaos and confusion.  I get through one of these events and I’m totally wiped because it is hard to find true down time to recharge.

Now, I’m not a total stick in the mud about these things.  But I want them to be real.  In the right mood, I can act silly and let loose and have a good time.  I just hate being forced to do so.  Sorry, always a contrarian.  Yes, all the yelling and clapping does create some support but I’d prefer one real look from someone than all the fake noise and support.  I like watching the watchers at these things because you can catch people in unguarded and unscripted moments.

Speaking of forced fun, the party at the studio on Thursday included a lip sync battle.  Did I participate?  Have you not been paying attention?  Of course not.  I’m always singing along in the car when I’m alone but this was more forced fun which I want no part of.  The students who did it were in to it and they were entertaining  Since OwnerGuy and Z were away, this party was run by the rest of the staff.  Before the big lip sync battle, they did there own thing to entertain us with all five of them on the floor with each one taking turns lip syncing to a song with some dance moves.  Kid T did Baby One More Time complete with some of the Britney Spears moves from the video.  It was actually nice to see them in a different light.  I suppose you could say it was just to loosen up the crowd so the people doing it wouldn’t feel as silly but it was still fun to watch.

On Friday, was dance date night with Hilde.  I saw the end of the Samba group class last week and I decided to go to the class this week.  My knees prevent me from doing the bouncing that Samba really requires so I bounce as much as I can but I have to back off when I feel them start to act up.  I felt like I wanted to explain to the instructor that I know he wanted more but I was giving him all I had to give.  Well, I could have done more but I had to save something for the party.  Still it was fun.  The instructor decided to give us a couple of things to play with.  We ended with a step where we start in shadow and I release her while doing something similar to a botafogo but we end up face to face with her hand on my chest.  My next steps are just forward while she pushes off me to spin.  I had to check myself for bruises this morning because Hilde was seriously in to this.  Confession time – I didn’t hate it either.

And I had to promise the first waltz to my other dance partner which Hilde did some fake fuming about.  So between them, I had a petty full dance card.  I could have been out there every song but I had to rest a bit.  There was a birthday celebration for one of the ladies and they made all the guys line the floor.  She was supposed to start with her partner and then get danced around the floor as each guy would cut in.  I don’t know if this is a standard ritual for this studio or not but it made me a little (ok a lot) uncomfortable.  I started out on the floor but was in the corner nearest the door and I just snuck out while the instructions were being given.  It just didn’t feel right to me.  I don’t really know the people at this studio that well yet and just felt wrong to crash this thing.  Yeah, I know that may sound funny  but you have to remember who you’re dealing with.  It is introverted feeling.  We have a strange internal code that guides us and it means we sometimes do things that don’t make any sense to anyone but us.

Hilde did ask about my lesson and whether I was dumping the Famous Franchise.  I said that this was in addition to them and that the first lesson was great even though I hadn’t retained any of it.

But it was a classic extrovert conversation.  Multiple questions in rapid fire with no time for a real response.  If any extroverts have made it through all of this, let me give you some advice.  You can’t have a conversation with us the same way you would with other extroverts.  I get such a kick out of watching two extroverts go at it with each one talking over the other.  I don’t even know if they really listen or just want to share their story as quickly as possible.

We’re different.  For many of us, the ability to freely and quickly share personal information is hard.  I can make all kinds of quick connections and pull out pop culture references to entertain the masses but ask me a question about myself and I go into a stall.  With introverted feelers, it is even more difficult.  Things about us are deep, intense and private.  We do eventually love finding someone who really cares and then you’ll get all kinds of stuff.  But, until I know that (a) you are truly interested and (b) I can trust you, there is a calculus going on inside my head all the time.  I hear the question and then I float multiple different answers inside my head.  How much do I really want to reveal.  Does this person really care or is this just pointless chit chat?  It takes us time to formulate the right answer.  But when we have the answer, we want to give it so when you jump to the next question before we’ve finished, the cycle starts all over again and it gets frustrating.  When that happens a couple of times, I quickly figure this is just small talk and then it becomes easier to give non-commital, short, fluffy answers.  How was the lesson?  Oh, it was great.  That seems to satisfy the extrovert who is just trolling the surface and saves me from some of the mental gymnastics that are required to answer a question because I can just short circuit those inner discussions and give you the short answer you want.

You really want to talk to us?  Slow down, listen, let us finish and show some genuine interest.  Because here’s the other thing.  At least for me, I learn from experience.  You do that enough times to me and a check mark goes after your name in my head meaning that this is a person who just wants surface stuff so that’s all you’ll ever get.  Got someone in your life who likes you but gives you one word answers a lot of the time.  Maybe, it is because you’ve talked over them enough times that they are tired of trying to expend the effort to have a real conversation.

Oh, and don’t ever, ever, ever, EVER say something condescending like “its so nice that you’ve come out of your shell”.  No, we haven’t changed.  We’ve just decided that we are comfortable enough/trust you enough to share more.  It’s got nothing to do with coming out of a shell.  As I read somewhere else “when a turtle comes out its shell, it dies”.  We don’t need to be changed.  We aren’t a project to be molded into what you are more comfortable with.  Conversation is different for us.  And, by the way, you make a statement like that and I’ll smile back at you but you’ve just got a big check mark against your name.  I actually had some lady at work tell me that she loved “digging” into introverts because there was a nice person underneath all the quiet.  Seriously, WTF.  I was a nice person BEFORE I started talking with you.  You didn’t change or dig something out of me.  I got comfortable with you and decided to share more.  But, if that is how you feel, then you really don’t understand me.  And if you don’t, I really don’t want to waste a lot of energy on you.  Yeah, we are still friends and still talk but what she gets of me know is very limited.  See, I can do the fakey small talk thing when I have to.  Oops, sorry but guess I hit a nerve with myself there.  Got to watch us introverted feelers.  Touch the third rail and sparks are going to fly.  OK, lesson over.

Next week is Showstoppers.  Lessons on Tuesday and Wednesday with Kid T and Sunny to polish up the routines.  Monday is my first real lesson at the other studio and where I’ll likely sign up for a small package.  Maybe that will help me feel more like a real part of that studio.  It should be an interesting week with lots to talk about.  And, you never know when I might decide to veer off on a tangent like this. No rules, just right.




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