All Things Big and Small

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So I am now officially checked out of Silver II in all of the nine dances. There was a judge there so I will be getting some comments at my next lesson. I guess it was good to add Bolero and Mambo to the list. Wouldn’t want them to feel left behind. At the end of the night, OwnerGuy tells me that maybe I’ll be doing Silver III check out next year. It is always possible.

There’s good and back to check outs. I went years without doing one because I got stuck in that mode where I felt I hadn’t “earned” my Silver so I wanted to drill until I felt I was truly there. I do now realize that was kind of silly because it just fed my own internal perfection and unachievable internal expectations. On the other hand, I’ve seen people pushed through who are sort of able to do the steps and I don’t want to be that.

We had a big group and they were mostly JoNY’s students. So I was at a table with three other couples who were all checking out of Bronze I. This one guy had note cards with all the patterns on them and I flashed back to one of my medal ball experiences because I was doing the same thing. Not saying I’m all calm and collected but it certainly does help to have gone through this a time or two. The best advice I could give all of them was just keep dancing no matter what happens. But they all made it through which was the point of the evening.

Without prompting, this one lady videoed all my dances (I did Rumba, Fox Trot and Tango as well as the two I was checking out of). So I got those air dropped to me but I haven’t looked at them yet. Except the Mambo which she made me watch at the table. Fortunately, I wasn’t wearing my glasses so things were a bit blurry. At that level, it looked OK but I need to do more with my free arm. It would nice to be able to look at a video without automatically going into cringe mode and laser focusing on all the stuff that just looks bad. How can people say I look good when I don’t think I do. Yeah, videos still bring that kind of reaction.

I’m going to say it wasn’t my best night but it wasn’t my worst. Couple of things didn’t work in my favor. The thing was supposed to start at 3 (it was late) and JoNY didn’t show up until right before it started so we had no warm up time. Then, they go by levels starting with the very basic and Silver II was towards the end so there was a lot of sitting. Lastly, because this was a dinner/dance, I showed up in a shirt and tie and who can really dance Mambo in a tie?

I’m being a bit serious on that last point. I’m not a formal dress guy so I was out of my element. And it wasn’t the dance stuff I wear to Showcases – what I wear for Latin is loose and it feels good and the buttons are shiny and it makes me feel like a dancer. Here, I was in stuff I normally don’t wear and it just made it a little hard to really get into performance zone. If I had one complaint, it would be making these events sort of formal. It feels like it is straight out of the 50’s where men were supposed to wear coats and ties at all times. Haven’t we loosened up a bit to where we can be a bit more casual. Or maybe that’s just me. Some people like that stuff. Me, I put a tie on and it feels like some creature trying to choke the life out of me.

The unintentionally funny part of the night came at dinner when there was the usual small talk. One part of this is that it is an opportunity to actually talk to students I don’t normally get to interact with. And by talk, I mean generally listen to what others are saying but it’s still good. Anyway, one lady at our table just asked what I did for a living. So I had the awkward story of the night – well up until Wednesday, I did this but now I’m kind of in a transition.

When I was in on Friday, it was interesting to see the dichotomy in how I was treated. Most people were nice and supportive but there were those who treated me like I was carrying a contagious disease. Like I must have done something wrong to deserve being fired and they no longer wanted to be seen with me.

One of the nicest things has been getting some supportive messages on LinkedIn. There were some common themes but the best was from one guy who said he liked my “calming influence” and how I was pragmatic and wouldn’t fall for “group think”. That’s just my INFP showing. The only sad thing (and I’m so guilty of this as well) is that people waited until I was gone to say these things. I think that is the way of work. You assume work is eternal and that the people who are doing a good job just know that you value them. Sometimes, you need to let people know that you appreciate something they’ve done.

Forgot to mention one very sad bit as the firings commenced. There’s a guy who works in another department. He’s a bigger guy and he’s truly introverted. I’ve been in meetings when he had to present something and you could just tell it was like torture. We had worked enough where he would say “Hi” to me so that’s something. Anyway, he was one of the first and as he was walking out, someone else in his department stopped to talk with him. The end of the conversation was him saying he was the only one in his department to go because he was the most useless. That hurt. I know this is stigmatizing but, frankly, I blame his management. Everyone at work has some set of skills – nobody is useless and it is the managers job at times to get the best out of people. Nobody should ever walk out of a job feeling like they were useless. This guy really helped us with a particular study so I know he wasn’t useless.

I suspect I may be talking about this for a bit just because life changing events just have a way of stirring up a lot of emotions. The weird thing was that when I got up this morning, I started to feel like life had just given me a great gift. I have no idea what it is or what to do with it but those were the actual thoughts that formed in my mind.

And that seems like an upbeat place to end this.

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