I may have had a small epiphany when reading The Thespian’s latest post. But then I’m always looking for ways to fit pieces together to figure out the puzzle that is life. Sometimes, I just jam the pieces in and hope they work.
I’ve written before about how special Z and OwnerGuy made me feel back when I was dancing with her and when I first started going to the bigger events. Competitive dancing is a whole different world and you need a guide to keep you on the right path. The judges look at everything so every little detail matters. How you walk on the floor. Making sure they can see your number. Where you position yourself on the floor. How you react if someone gets in your space. How you come together to start the dance. All of that matters and you haven’t even started dancing yet. It is about grabbing the judges eye right from the start and making them want to watch you. Oh yeah, you’ve also got to have the timing, posture and all that to keep them watching you.
I remember Z dragging me to the backstage area to see the vendors to pick out an appropriate rhythm outfit. Yes, it was a bit embarrassing like going back to school shopping with your Mom. But, the right outfit makes a big difference and you have to pick something that works for you and having someone who’s been there and knows what they are doing helps.
But, it was more than that. Some people are born with an abundance of confidence and some us are plagued by doubts and fears which just manifest in all sorts of ugly ways when we are trying something new – like competitive dancing. All of the attention was nice, but it finally hit me (or maybe it just hit me for a second time) was that they were doing all of this because they believed in me and my potential. No, they never came right out and said it but it was the actions. We had rough patches in the first competition but the second one was great probably because I was starting to believe just in bit in what I could do. Of course, since then, I’ve gone through so many ups and downs and instructors that my confidence has been built and destroyed and rebuilt and redestroyed more times than I can count.
Yes, there is always the cynical side that says they were doing this for their own means. OwnerGuy wants people to take to these events and so you could just as easily argue that they pushed me to do this as a means to their end. He tried with two other students a year before I went but it didn’t take. At the time, I was the acknowledged king of the studio and so when people saw me doing it and having some success, it spawned other interest. And, yes, that certainly could have been the plan all along. But I can still be idealistic and perhaps a little naive and believe that they wouldn’t have tried if I didn’t have some potential.
And, I have some experience in being the person who says “I believe in you” and the power that can have. Well, not actually saying it but at least modeling it through actions. I’ve got the two Work Daughters to demonstrate that. I still have trouble sometimes understanding why anyone would need or want my approval given that I’m just a giant ball of insecurity. But certainly the original Work Daughter didn’t see the insecurities. She saw me as someone who mattered and someone who believed in her and someone who recognized and encouraged her talents and dreams. She’s still a giant ball of insecurities (takes one to know one) and some of us will always harbor doubts no matter how much success we have. That’s why being the person who believes is difficult because you have to fight the same battles over and over again and that takes patience and it also takes a real level of caring for the person you are dealing with.
So, when I say I missed being special, I think what I’m really missing is having talented dancers who believe in your potential and ability and want to see it developed.
Now, we come to the part of the post where I use pop songs as metaphors to attempt to better communicate what I was trying to say. I suspect Johnny might be a little embarrassed by how silly he looks here (and I think his label probably did this to craft an image). But the message is what is important. Getting pushed out of your comfort zone is difficult and scary for some us. Like walking through a dark and scary bit of woods where you can imagine all sorts of monsters and demons waiting to grab you and take you away. Just having someone there to lead you through and hold your hand (even metaphorically) is important.
Confession time – Celine is a serious guilty pleasure for me. Replace “Loved” with “Believed In” and you get what I’m trying to say. We are stronger when someone believes in us.
I also had another small thought in doing this and it makes me feel a little bad. I do have someone in my corner right now. Kid T has been nothing but patient and supportive. I have not given her the credit for that because she hasn’t won any competitions. That’s not very nice of me.
And, given how I titled this post, there is only one way to end it. Yes, you can run this song down for any number of reasons. It is hard for those of us who find reasons to doubt our talents and abilities even when there are those who try to get us to see what we can do. The challenge is to use their words and their actions to fight off your demons. Stop believing in yourself and the fears will consume you. So never stop believing in yourself.
Maybe that’s my theme for this year.