I Ran So Far Away
I just ran.
I ran all night and day.
I couldn’t get away.
In retrospect, I wonder if my anxiety over the studio party was just some kind of premonition about what was to come.
I should note that I’ve edited bits and pieces of this multiple times so it might be a bit jagged in places. I made the mistake about generalizing for an Myer’s Briggs type which isn’t right so when you see “we” in the next couple of paragraphs, just think “I”.
Do you know what Introverted Feeling is? I’m certainly not an expert. I’ve read a lot about it and I have a working knowledge of it although the sources can differ in some of the details. If you believe in the cognitive functions associated with MBTI type theory, then Introverted Feeling is the dominant function for INFP’s like me.
And I know that telling you that giving you a definition like that doesn’t tell you what Introverted Feeling is. I’m going to try to explain it in terms and relate to things I do. If you are a licensed professional, I may be taking some liberties but I’ve already admitted I’m not an expert. You can think of it as meaning that we have a very strong internal compass. All actions are compared to this compass to make sure they are moving us the right direction. It comes down to asking “does this feel right to me”. Or “Is this really who I am?” Things that take you in a different direction are resisted.
Along with that is a strong sense of individuality and wanting to maintain that at all costs. It is why we won’t always “go along to get along”. If it isn’t something we feel deeply passionate about, then its not a problem – we’ll generally be flexible and accommodating. But, push up against a core value and ask us to do something that doesn’t fit with who we are and you’d better watch out. That’s where things can get interesting and we can be a little unpredictable.
See, the bitch of it is that all this core value and moral code is internal and not shown to the world. Its private and we use it to guide ourselves but we aren’t really that interested in forcing our views on others. Because we wouldn’t like that being done to us so we tend to avoid doing it to others. That tends to make us open and approachable because we aren’t likely to be openly judgy about what you have to say. Oh, I’m judging the hell out of you, don’t get me wrong, but it is all done internally and behind the scenes. Say the wrong thing and I might push back – more so in a group setting than in a one on one. But, for the most part, I’ve got a life and let live mentality so I’ll just accept that we agree to disagree. You might even walk away thinking I agree with you even if I don’t. If I find you too judgy, I might just slowly cut you out of my life as much as I can but that’s about as far as its going to go.
One more piece of groundwork before we deal with the party last night. The Famous Franchise does everything they can to make dancing a fun experience. So they will throw things in to parties to give people an opportunity to act stupid because, for some people, that is fun. I guess they feel there is safety in numbers. If they are acting like clowns, then we all should because won’t that be fun! For the most part, I hate “forced fun” because it is forced and artificial and not real and not my thing. I’m not going to put on a clown hat and run around just because everyone else is doing it.
To give you a more real example, consider the song “Blame it on the Boogie”. I’m sure there is a back story to this but it offers an opportunity to do a little coordinated action during the chorus. Not sure if this originated with the Famous Franchise or if they just put their own spin on it but every time the song comes on at a Famous Franchise event, you are going to see it. The four lines in question are:
- Don’t blame it on the sunshine.
- Don’t blame it on the moonlight.
- Don’t blame it on the good times.
- Blame it on the boogie.
If you’ve already seen this, forgive me but I want to explain this a little more. During the first line, you are supposed to wave your hands in the air because I guess the sun is in the sky. For the moonlight, people rub their backsides (taking that definition of moon). Good times and boogie are just various dance type moves.
Look, if that is your thing, get out and have fun. Won’t bother me a bit. But I don’t like directed fun activities designed to make you look stupid. (Translation, I’m not about to run my hands over my butt in a room full of people for any reason). It isn’t me. They’ve given up trying to get me to do it because I simply refuse. I’ll either keep dancing or just sit the song out.
Now, if you want to know how unpredictable this internal code can be, they used to play YMCA at parties. That is another song that allows for audience participation. Had no problem doing the whole YMCA thing. I’d even try to time it so I could spin my partner out right before it. If you hit it right, it was cool. That’s also forced fun but it doesn’t feel wrong so I don’t an issue with it.
Confused yet? Welcome to my world! And, there is no way I could rationally explain why Blame it on the Boogie is problematic while YMCA is not. I could bring up the whole butt thing and how that just feels wrong and inappropriate to me. But I don’t think anyone would truly get it. After all, it’s just a dance and everyone is having a good time so why can’t you just go along? Well, I just can’t. And, it isn’t rational because it is Introverted FEELING.
I should also mention that I had a crappy lesson. We were working on Fox Trot, Waltz and Viennese Waltz and I started screwing up things I should know. That could my whole mind in the “you’ve been doing this for 8 years and you still don’t have it” frame and things just went off the rails. Group class was a hot mess. OwnerGuy wanted to do a hustle step which was cool except my primary partner was a lady who had no idea how to do the step and no plans to actually try to follow. I was just off and it continued into the party.
Well, then, they took a break and announced what they intended to do for the evening to thank the students for all they do. They had a sign up sheet for the party so they knew who was going to be there and the instructors all came up with cheesy little awards for each student. (“Most cheerful”, “Most spirited”, etc). OK, that’s a little silly but I could deal with that.
But, they wanted each us to go get a picture with our instructor next to the fancy Famous Franchise sign that sits at the front of the studio. Oh, and even better, they wanted us to strike some kind of pose to represent the award we had been given. Then, Z straight up says they are using the pictures on social media to promote the studio.
Get the picture? They wanted photos of shiny, happy students with shiny, happy instructors to be posted on the studio Facebook site with the appropriate hash tags. “Look at all the fun these people are having” Don’t you want have fun as well? Then, you should come join us and be like these people!
My first thought was “I can’t do this”. If someone were to ask me about my experience at the Famous Franchise, I’d be positive. They do make it fun and you can learn there. They’ve taught me to dance. But I’m also going to be honest about everything including some of the not so shiny parts associated with the Famous Franchise. That’s just who I am. Especially if it is someone I really care about asking me.
On the other hand, plastering a fake smile on my face and striking a pose for some silly award so it can be used for promotional material is just wrong. I can’t do something that would be fake just so they can get a photo. I suppose I could have just stood there without trying to do a silly pose but even that is wrong. To pretend that I’m having fun to give them free advertising, that just made me uncomfortable.
They’ve used videos and photos of me dancing at parties but that’s real and I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t even mind the group photos that they take at Dance Events because that’s also real. But to use my name and my image in a staged photo with a silly award to make it seem like the studio is nothing but fun. No, can’t do that.
Let me clarify something as well. I’m not looking for you to understand or agree with me. I know that my core beliefs can be hard to figure out because I can draw what appear to be arbitrary lines between what is “me” and what is “not me”. If you think I’m making too much out of it, that won’t bother me. This is just who I am. I get these emotional gut reactions to things like this and when something feels “wrong”, I’m going to resist doing it.
Anyway, they were doing it alphabetically by first name so they got through the first batch and I knew I’d be coming up in the second batch. So I hung back until the next dance started, quickly changed my shoes and walked out without looking back. One of the other students asked me about my “award” and we both agreed she could accept it for me. I’m pretty sure they just skipped me which is just as well.
All the other students are on the website with their smiles and poses and the various hash tags. And, it worked for them. It just wasn’t something I could do.
Also curious to see if it comes up next week. If so, I’ll just fake something like I wasn’t feeling well which was actually true. Of course, the headache and stomach ache were caused by my reaction to what they wanted to do, but they don’t need to know that. They’ve probably chalked it up to something else anyway.
And so it goes.