Eat Me

Man.  It has been quite a week for me.  I’m spent.  Drama at work.  Stress.  Ugh.

I even called Ivan to have an “emergency” dance lesson on Wednesday night.  I just needed to blow off some serious steam.

I showed up in my scrubs from work because I hadn’t been planning to come in for a lesson that evening.  I was stinky from the long day and not  feeling particularly pretty.  But a funny thing happened.  We worked on Rumba (of course) and because (I think) I was so emotionally spent, tired, and feeling beaten down, there was no wall like I usually have.  I was raw, open, authentic.

We did a fan and Ivan told me to grab my butt and I was like, okay, fine.  I totally did it.  I totally just danced the step and used my arm to muss my hair, and really let go.  That was the secret.  I let go.

Ivan was like, “Wow!  What happened?  This is your sexiest day.  You never do this before and now, today, bam!”

Seriously?!  This is what it takes to let the sexy out?  I felt like crap and yet according to Ivan, it was my sexiest day ever.


Don’t really know how to respond to that except for the fact that I discovered that I am more and more often letting go, relaxing enough to express myself, even if it is small chunks, and little by little, I am becoming “that Latin girl.”  There really is something to letting go….like remembering what it was like when I was a kid and had no social filters.  You know, the ones that say, “Don’t look stupid.  Don’t draw attention to yourself.  Don’t be stuck up.  Don’t be this.  Don’t be that.”  And when I listen to them, I end up doing nothing.  The steps are empty.  That isn’t why people love to watch dancing.  They love to watch the abandon, the freedom, the thrilling emotions as expressed by the dancers.

Ah, abandon.  That’s a challenge for me.  It surely is.  But not so much for Ivan.  He’s a pro at it.  Good thing he is my teacher.

So anyways, even after the emergency dance lesson I was still not feeling quite right.  I decided that I could get out of my “stuff” by focusing on doing something for someone else so I drove to Michael’s and bought the materials I needed complete the mirror project I mentioned in a previous post The Mirror of Relationship.  I knew it would be a special thing to do and would give me great joy.  I made a mirror for Ivan that says “I am a champion!  Yes I am!” in Bulgarian.  You can see the photo here.

Anyways, yesterday I gave him the mirror and read him a card and I think he was genuinely touched.

“Nobody do this for me, Estefanie.”

He almost, but not quite, teared up.  I’m sure of it!  Ha ha.

Anyways, I might have created a monster!  Right after this he started strutting around as if he were the lone rooster in a hen house.  He was sporting a big smile and started joking with me.

“You better get a lot of lessons in now before I champion!”

“Yeah, Ivan, you’re right.”

“Ya, I cheap right now.  So dance with me now.  Touch it now.  ‘Cause later it’s gonna be expensive.”

“Gosh!  I better get in as many as I can because I’m already stretched to afford lessons.  They’re worth every penny, but I’d love to be able to do more.”

“No, no.  I not gonna raise my prices, but many people do.  Once I met a lady at a competition who used to dance with Tony Dovolani.  She was say, ‘To think, I used to miss lessons, or skip them, and now he’s a champion!  I feel sick to my stomach about it.  Then he was $60.  Now he’s $190 and I can’t dance with him.'”

“Well, Ivan, when you do become champion, you should raise your prices….just not for your old students, like me!”

“Just think, Estefanie.  Maybe one day you dance with a champion!”

“I do every day already, Ivan.”

I really feel this way.  I see the champion in Ivan.  He was already a champion in Bulgaria so sometimes I think he thinks his career has already peaked.  But I disagree and believe in him and Marieta and think it is entirely possible that the best is yet to come.

In any case, this got us both to thinking….what if, just what if, Ivan ended up being one of pros on DWTS.  That would be HILARIOUS!  He is so freakin’ entertaining on all our lessons.  I’ll provide yet another example later in this blog post – but seriously, he would be fantastic.

The only thing would be that he’d have to be matched with someone he didn’t hate.  He recently fired a student because he felt about her what cats feel about being doused in a tub of water.  I could totally see him walking off the show if he ended up with some horrible human being.

But, as long as he was with a reasonable student, wow, America watch out.  It’d be a whole new level of entertainment.

So, I’d really better get as many lessons in right now as I can!  Ha ha!

After all the banter we finally settled into actually dancing.  We ran cha cha and bolero and rumba and samba.  Then we focused on the Latin Rumba because there is still a lot of work to do on dancing that well.  I realized that I was not settling on my standing leg with my hip and this is why I was always falling off balance.  My body’s still trying to dance like a ballerina even though my head is trying to get me to be a Latin dancer.

Next we worked on steps that set up the fan.  During the first part I’m supposed to be feminine, Ivan explained, then in the second part when I come toward him, I’m supposed to be more aggressive.

“Eat me,” he tells me.

Of course, I burst out laughing.  It’s a little lost in translation.  He doesn’t mean like eat me, he means like literally, “eat me like a tiger would eat a person using that aggressive, intense type of attacking energy.”  I may not speak Bulgarian, but I speak Ivan.  There is always a touch of translation that has to be done but usually the gaffes are adorable and always they are meant well.

He continues, “You gotta be hungry.”

Okay, I think.  I get the point.

We do the steps and I come at him like a tiger!  Rarrrrr!

“You not hungry.  You not hungry tiger.”


We try again and each time I raise my intensity.  Finally we hit one Ivan likes.  Then he tells me to do it one more time so he can look in the mirror and watch it.

“Wow.” He says, “I think it maybe look good, but it look really good.”

Yep, the sexiest day ever continues.

Ivan's New Business Card. C'mon now! If this man asked you to be a hungry tiger toward him, what would you do?

As I reflect upon the past few days, they were difficult for me.  But I realize that I handled it better than I ever did in the past.  And also, even with all the stress of this past week, I knew I had something to look forward to.  Dancing is a non-negotiable in my life right now, even if I have to stretch financially to make it happen.  I’ve given it up before and when I do that, I slowly die.  As I continue to dance, I continue to come more and more to life.  I think that is one of the things Ivan really embodies – being alive, like vibrantly alive.  His aliveness calls out to the small alive plant taking root in my soul and little by little I awaken from my numb slumber.

Oh, that brings up another point.  I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I’m down another 4.4 pounds from my last weigh in on February 10th.  So, I’m shedding the weight, coming more alive, feeling more emotions (the entire spectrum – including the not-so-fun ones), and I’m doing it by dancing.

I’ll admit, I was beginning to despair a little bit about my chances of transforming myself by July of this year.  But if I just keep doing what I’m doing, even with the detours and screw-ups, if I keep just logging my calories, dancing, and wearing my Fitbit, no matter what, I’ll be different in 5 months.  I may not be where I want to ultimately get to, but I do want to show up regardless.  I may even have friends who will come to see me dance at the Desert Classic.  I can’t let them down.  But more importantly, I can’t let me down.  I can’t let go of this dream of finally being happy with my body, and give up, even if my progress hasn’t been as swift as I’d like.

Part of me wanted to back out of this dance competition because I’m not near as far along as I wanted to be.  I’ve been treading water, I feel like, for months.  But how could I do that, really?  I’ve got to stay committed – in fact re-commit, and choose back in with all I’ve got.  Which makes me think it’s time to purchase the plane tickets for July for two reasons:  1) it will make it a reality that I’m going to this venue and 2) the tickets will be cheaper so far in advance.  I just have to remember to tell Ivan the next time I see him.  I’m serious about doing this, I just need to make sure I know it!

9 thoughts on “Eat Me

  1. ah, this discussion about lesson prices makes me think i’m overpaying….

    on a lighter note, please come to the desert classic! i would love to cheer you on in person. i’m planning to attend as a spectator since i have family that lives in the area and, if all goes right, i may do a little dancing myself.

    • loveablestef says:

      I will be there! I’d love to meet you in person too! How cool would that be? did you see that I shared your comment with Ivan and Marieta? They were thrilled and I posted Marieta’s response. Anyways, thanks for continuing to participate! I appreciate you! -Stef

      • That’s great! I’m sure there were many more in the audience thinking the same about their performance. Did you see that paradigmdvd has posted video of the rhythm final on youtube?

        Looking forward to meeting you in the desert this summer!!!

      • loveablestef says:

        I didn’t see they had posted the video so thanks for letting me know! I have a fan page for Ivan and Marieta so I will go post the link to it (and get to see how they danced) right now. I also look forward to meeting you this summer! Take care.

  2. Alaina says:

    I found it embarrassing to let the “sexy” out when I first started doing Latin dancing, especially the Rumba. It all hit home when I realized I had to simply act, which I love doing. That, and I imagine a bunch of guys wolf-whistling at me. Embrace the femininity, Stef!

    • loveablestef says:

      Thanks Alaina. It’s just not comfortable for me yet, but I’m getting there. It’s coming little by little. Every time Ivan is all, “touch me,” or “be hungry,” or is dancing with me fully, I’m like, in my head, “are you sure this is okay?” It’s like I am unconsciously still unsure if he’s given me permission to be that close, but clearly, yes, he has. So it’s my issue, for sure. Imagining men wolf-whistling at me makes me want to run and hide. I’d probably be really embarassed if that happened in real life, or think they were mocking me. See how messed up I am around this!? Ugh! But, it will come. I’m committed! I think as the weight comes off, too, it will be easier and easier for me. And If I can start practicing it now, when I am not in my ideal body, well, then when I am, it will be that much more confident!

      I’m glad you found how to let your “sexy” out! That is great! Maybe one day I’ll get to see it in person!

  3. cc says:

    Weigh to go! Cha cha cha! CC

  4. […] actually didn’t think about this one until I read Stef’s post about a similar subject.  Rumba has always been intriguing to me.  When I watched “Dancing […]

  5. […] in this post Ivan told me to come at him like a tiger.  But this was pretending to be an animal.  It was […]

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