The Thrill is Gone

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Emotions and feelings are a powerful thing.  On the car ride home from another unsuccessful lesson, I was able to sort through a few things.  It can be so hard when you are in the grip of these emotions.  I’ve read enough about INFP’s and things that have been pointed out about how we tend to feel more deeply than most and that we can be overly sensitive at times because of this.  It is one thing to read words on a piece of paper.  It is another thing to live through episodes where you get overwhelmed by feelings when you’re not really sure where they came from.

During one of my conversations with OwnerGuy back in the day when things with Z were falling apart, he said that we (meaning me and Z) were both emotional people.  It stuck with me for two reasons.  First, because it was one of the few times I remember when he’s been spot on about me.  Secondly, because I’m a guy and we aren’t supposed to be emotional wrecks.  We aren’t supposed to be able to be reduced to mush by these things called feelings and emotions.

But here we are.

At the heart of this is that I have issues with confidence (No, really?!?)  And, it seems that no matter how many times I’ve told myself that I have some skills and no matter how much positive feedback I’ve received, I’ve never really been able to internalize that.  So my confidence is nothing more than a house of cards that can be toppled with ease.  I’m not really sure where this latest break came from.  There could be multiple triggers.  I do think a lot of it is running up against some of my physical limitations.  OK, I’m going to let out my inner 3 year old for a bit.  I sometimes hate my body for not being able to do what I want to do.  Why did I have to get a knee that doesn’t want to function properly when I’ve finally discovered something that I really love and want to do?  Ironically, some of this could also be triggered by the number of times Kid T tells me that she’s picked steps to try and work around my issues.  I know she’s really trying to do what’s best for me but it just keeps the issue alive.  And I don’t like the fact that she needs to do workarounds!  It sucks.  I know I’ve admitted that they are necessary but I DON’T WANT THEM TO BE!

So, yesterday, I get to the studio early and I’m watching the coach work with Z and one of her students.  They are doing Viennese Waltz and he’s telling the guy that he can’t do it properly if he’s up.  That he really needs to be slightly down in both knees to make the steps work.  My first thought was “Am I dancing Viennese Waltz Up?”  Which just lead to the fear that I’ve been doing it wrong all these times and that there was no way I was going to be able to do it right.  And I love Viennese Waltz but is it never going to be really good because I can’t do it the right way.  I can probably bend a bit but I know that load bearing on bent knees is a recipe for pain and suffering (well mostly just pain).  And does this mean Kid T is eventually going to get on me about that in Viennese Waltz as well.

Yeah, I might have over thought that just a bit.  It’s what happens when the emotions run wild.  Kind of like a sandstorm.  First, the desert looks all pretty and then the wind picks up and gathers a few grains of sand.  Then, it just continues and soon you are surrounded by sand and it blots out the sun and it just digs into every part of you and, driven by the wind, the sand cuts into you.  Soon, you can really even move because you are just trying to protect yourself from the sand and wind and you just want to lie down and hope it will be over soon.  (And that might be a touch dramatic but it sounded like a good metaphor in my head so I went with it)

We had a lesson before the coaching and so we got a little time to practice the Argentine Tango at the end.  And, then it was time for the coaching.  This is a guy I’ve known for years and worked with multiple times.  He is good friends with Z and OwnerGuy and so I always wonder what, if anything, he’s heard about me.  But, we talked about what we wanted to do and where we wanted help and then I got that dreaded “well show me the routine”

This is still a new routine and it is far from polished and I stumbled in a few places and we got done and I looked over at the coach.   Now, here’s something else you need to know about me.  I’m an observer.  It’s what I do.  And that means I’m not just listening to your words.  I’m listening to how you say it and listening for what you don’t say and I’m watching your facial expressions and body language.  There is the risk of misinterpreting the signals but if your words say “that was good” and your body language says “well this is going to take a lot of work”, guess which one I’m going to believe.  And the look he gave us was clearly in the “gee, this is kind of mess” category.

We broke the routine into pieces and parts and he looked at each and everything and made some suggestions.  There was one part where I’m supposed to swivel and he brought up the whole “get into the knees” thing which I tried.  He touched on several other things and it was all about getting more flair from me into the dance.  There was one part where he changed something because he said our Tango looked “too proper”.  Well, we know that’s an issue for me.

OK, so let’s talk about that for a minute or so.  When I get overwhelmed like that, it just makes me fearful of really letting go.  I mean, what if I look stupid?  What if I can’t do it?  So the defense mechanisms kick in so I can tell myself that it just isn’t me and that maybe this isn’t my dance and on and on.  When I feel comfortable, I have no problem playing the characters.  It is the difference between doing at Showcase and doing it during a lesson.  I just get afraid to really get into on a lesson which means I just look at the things he’s asking me to do and say “that’s just not me”.

At the end of the lesson, I sort of fell for that Famous Franchise thing where they tell you how great you’ve done and how things are so much better than when they started.  And it kind of felt that way.  I walked out thinking that I could do most of what he wanted and that this routine was going to turn out OK.

Guess the clock struck midnight and I turned back into a pumpkin because today’s lesson was a disaster.  Kid T started with an intro to get us into position.  It is nothing more than a flair and collecting her to get back into frame.  But I just got all in my head because we are doing it solo and all I’m thinking is I’m not going to be able to move my body in a Tango sort of way and it will just be obvious from the start that I’m not a good Tango dancer and all the fancy stuff we do later won’t matter.

Then, she changed the part he designed at the start of the routine.  He had it traveling more side to side and she wanted me to come forward.  I told her she changed it and she tells me it is the same.  And I’m thinking “no, this feels different, it isn’t the same”.  Later she acknowledged that she changed the angles because I wasn’t getting out of the way when she did her little kick.  But I guess we have different definitions of what “the same” means.  Well, this new part does require a little lunge on my part and, of course, I went way too far the first time I did it because I was self conscious about giving her enough room.  And me knee said “don’t do that again”.

There was another part that he changed and we were going over it and I thought I understood it until she put on the music and the timing was faster than I thought.  That was the only time I really let my frustration show.  She started to try and tell me why it was messed up and I basically cut her off to say it was messed up because I didn’t know what I was doing.  After that, she went through the pattern in much more detail and it started to click.  Part of me was a little ticked off.  You let me flail away without providing all the information I needed.  Again, when I get into these places, failure is not an option.  Failure does not happen because I’m still learning the step.  No, I much master each step the very first time I do it.  Any failure to do that just means that I suck as a dancer.  Yes, I can recognize that now but not so much in the moment.

So where does that leave us?  Not in a very good place.  I’m not going to be any good if I’m ruled by fear and doubt and that’s where I am right now.  Not sure how to find some confidence but I need to because this isn’t any fun.  For the first time, I’m seriously thinking of skipping Showcase.  I know that is just a panic reaction based on all the bad emotions but its there in my head right now.

Well, I’ve rambled on long enough.

I do love dancing but it can really mess you up at times.


  1. I’m still catching up on everyone’s posts (you may have noticed me “liking” posts from way back in February!), but I wanted to know what you were up to currently. So I skipped ahead. And hey, you’re where I am! That whole fear of just letting go, and ending up looking stupid…I hear ya! I start wondering “should it really be this hard, or am I just not cut out for this?” Ballroom is a fickle mistress – one day she’s making you feel amazing and confident and the next she’s making you feel naked and afraid. Let’s both try being a little less critical of ourselves and maybe even, oh I don’t know, relax and enjoy the dancing?? 😉

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