Welcome to another episode where I just try to capture all the things rolling around inside my head and hope to make sense out of them.
I’ve been reading Crooked Kingdom which is the second book in a set and a sequel to Six of Crows. It is actually a continuation of a previous trilogy that I read a few years ago. Yes, it is in the YA genre but I’m the type who likes to read about different worlds and imagine what it would be like to live there. Give me good characters and a story and a well developed alternate world and I’m there.
This is not going to be a review. I’ve listed the titles so you can read more if you so choose. It centers around a group of six teens with hard backgrounds who are more or less forced into being petty criminals but are mostly good at heart. Lots of schemes and plans that go wrong but they eventually outwit and triumph over the real villains in the story.
But I couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness and loss when getting to the end because they ended up going their own ways. Yes, I know I get too wrapped up in fictional characters but it happens. It was the dynamic of the group that was great and that they pulled off things against impossible odds. Part of me just wanted them to stay together but we all know that life changes.
I’ve read the opening quote before but it is really resonating with me right now. Life is change. We get into periods where things are mostly predictable and, for some of us, there can be comfort there. You don’t think about how long some particular phase may last but you probably don’t take enough time to really appreciate where you are.
Or maybe the 80’s hair ballad from Cinderella puts it more succinctly “Don’t know what you’ve got (till its gone).
But what the heck does this have to do with anything. I guess maybe the book ending hit me a little harder than I expected because of what I’m experiencing at the studio.
I talked a little bit about returning to normal but it isn’t the normal from before and I don’t know if that normal is ever coming back. Ballroom has always met multiple needs for me. I love the dancing and I love how it makes me feel and I enjoy the challenge of finally nailing a new step after so many frustrating tries. And if it were just about dancing, I wouldn’t be feeling this way. The other part has always been the social part. Meeting with my dance peeps and and seeing them at groups and dancing with them at parties.
Its more than just the interactions in the studio. Go through a Showcase or another event with a group of people and it does create some bonds. Dancing in the studio is one thing. Dancing at an event with people judging you requires you to put yourself out there and be in a vulnerable position. Doing that together with a group of dance peeps becomes a shared experience. I know the judges are never really mean but it is still a type of trial by fire and you’ve all walked (well danced) though it together.
Or maybe I just say this more simply. I miss my dance folks.
The studio today is filled with people who started after the pandemic. I know faces but not names. There is kind of a wall that separates us whether I want there to be one or not. It is funny but the beginners never seem to understand that you were once a beginner.
And, yes I could start going to the groups and parties again. But I did a couple of groups and I get the comments about “slumming it” or some such nonsense. Like I shouldn’t be there because what the heck could a Silver dancer get out of a Bronze group?
I know that several of them enjoy dancing with me so parties could be an option. But there is this other thread as well. Last night, I had someone tell me that she wanted to get better so she be able to dance with me. Again, like I’d get bored if I’m not doing my Silver stuff.
In some ways, it feels like this:
The funny thing is that they’ll dance with all the instructors and think nothing of it and the instructors have a heck of a lot more skill than I do. And it doesn’t seem to matter how often I try to tell them that they are certainly more than worthy, it doesn’t seem to sink in.
I guess I had been holding out hope that my old studio would come back. It is possible that more of my old crowd might come back at some point in the future. But the studio I knew before the pandemic is not coming back. Things have changed and life moves forward and not backwards. We only understand things with the passage of time.
And this isn’t like the first time things have changed. I’ve gone through periods like this before and somehow adapted to the new reality. It is just that the change this time seems more dramatic. Yes, I still feel welcomed at the studio. That hasn’t changed. It is just that I somehow feel different and not a part of the main group. It may seem odd to say that I can walk into a room full of people and feel alone and isolated but that’s kind of where we are now.
I do also know that I can easily get lost in how something feels to me and that my feelings are not always reality. Doesn’t make them less valid and it is still something I have to work through. And that’s part of what is inside my head right now on this wonderful spring morning.