In the dance journey, you get both so you get lots of practices trying to accept both. This remains a challenge for me. Criticisms, I tend to take way too personally even though they aren’t meant as anything but constructive. After all, you are never a finished form as a ballroom dancer. There is always something that can be done just a little better.
Compliments are a double edged sword. Yes, the ego perks up when someone says something nice about my dancing. But some other part of me starts to get uncomfortable as I remember all my past struggles and start to feel like I’m just fooling them. I mean didn’t you see all the things that got messed up? I will say I’m getting better at actually accepting them with a simple “Thank you”.
Sometimes, it just gets a little weird and surreal and I had back to back experiences like that at the end of last week. In our studio, we all get binders with the syllabus sheets of the various dances we do and lesson blocks where the instructor makes notes along with assorted other things. Mine has been cleaned out several times but it still takes up lots of space so I’ve got a binder that is slightly bigger than the average.
At party, a lady who just recently started shared a story with me because she saw a binder of unusual size in the bookshelves with the rest of them and went to investigate. Turned out to be mine so she wanted to share the story.
The next day, I’m coming into the studio and a newer couple is coming out. He starts asking me how my Waltz is going and knew the story of why I had switched to double lessons on Friday. Then he makes a comment about how he wants to be like me. (As a dancer of course)
Its that type of stuff that still makes me a little uncomfortable which is just part of who I am. Like all I can think about is the struggles I’m going through to learn a couple of steps and other assorted issues and problems. I’m far from perfect – so stop with the idolizing. I’m just another dancer like everyone else in the studio. Except I’m not.
You get wrapped up in your own little world and I can only see myself though my imperfect lens which tends to hyper focus on what is going wrong and what feels bad. Others see me differently. They see the end result of the years of hard work and the skill level I’ve achieved which I too often don’t give myself credit for.
The funny thing is that both are right to some degree. I have been doing this for years and I’ve acquired a bit of skill to go with the natural ability I brought to the table. So I can move a lot and it will often appear effortless. But I’m also still learning and growing and trying to get better. One challenge is to not get too tied up in my own head that I forget how far I’ve come.
Still, I don’t know that I’m ever going to get used to be some kind of role model or the type of dancer that other want to emulate. That still feels weird to me.