Things I Tell Myself

How to begin this post?  I suppose I’ll be direct and to the point.

I’m going to dance at the Galaxy Dance Festival here in Phoenix in about a month.

(For those of you who haven’t liked my Facebook Page you could have known this days ago as I posted it there first.  I’ve decided I’m going to continue to put “bonus” material on there and my goal is to get to 100 likes.  I’m only 5 away!  So if you know anyone who might be interested in the blog, please share it.)

If you’ve been following the blog, well, then, you’ve probably gathered that this is kind of a big deal, personally, for me.  It’s one of those “get back in the saddle” deals – I’ve got to get back up and just do it.  No, I’m not at my ideal body weight after just a month, but there has been progress.  More important than that, though, is the different head-space I find myself in.  Additionally, and equally important, Ivan is coming from a different perspective as well.

Honestly, there is just so much to write about now that I’ve finally made the time and space to do it.  But I guess it boils down to a few main things:

1) When it comes to dancing, ballroom dancing specifically for me, it’s who I am and who I want to become.  Period.  Regardless of how others perceive me or judge me or place me against other dancers on the dance floor, this is my undeniable truth, and it’s none of my business what other people think of me anyways, unless they choose to tell me.  To cower in shame about my body and refuse to dance does no good – indeed, the opposite is true.  To refuse to dance for this reason is to give away my power to others and their perceptions of me.  Better to get out there and let my spirit shine through my current, latest, greatest, version of myself.  This is to stand in my personal power.  And, as I am constantly evolving, growing, and changing, as well as changing the composition of my body these days, tomorrow I will be a different version.

2) It’s all about connection.  I feel like a broken record here, folks.  No matter how many times on a lesson, or in life, I get a reminder of this, I still (frustratingly) blank out, withdraw, fail to be present.  I still struggle with looking directly at myself in the mirror (connecting with myself), directly at Ivan, directly at anyone who happens to be watching.  Two things have been happening on lessons which demonstrate my lack of connecting.  First, especially through my shoulders, I am weak.  My core is not connected with my arms and this causes me to misread leads, be off-balance, and generally foul up.  Second, since I’m not looking directly at anything when I dance, my dancing is unfocused.  Ironically this point was emphasized in Inna’s class this past week as we did Paso Doble.  She danced the same steps mechanically the same for us, the only variable nuance being her direct focus, and it made all the difference.  It was like two different dancers.

3) I’ve got to surrender my white flag.  (Like the double entendre here?)  What I mean by this is that there is a part of me that gives up on a regular basis.  Sometimes before even trying.  Like my psyche finds it easier to say I can’t do something so that when I fail at it its okay because I wasn’t trying my very best, right?  Like if I already know I’m a failure it won’t hurt as much when that turns out to be true.  Whether in the context of dieting or learning a new dance step, it’s a deeply ingrained habit, and one I’ve got to replace.

Ivan, being the intuitive being that he is, has called me on this, and honestly he’s looking for me to fight for it.  To fight for my improved physique.  To fight to finish a 3 minute dance.  To fight to own the potential inside and manifest it into real life.  He has told me on multiple occasions to stop “how do you say?  Do you understand?  The white flag?  Waving the white flag.”

It’s kind of difficult to realize what a coward you are.  To realize that you give up so easily at the slightest suggestion of difficulty.  But actually, from that recognition comes choice.  And I guess I’m choosing to not give up after all.  I’m choosing not to settle.  The trick is catching myself each time I backside, or give up (which happens fairly unconsciously sometimes), and course-correct.

You know, the funny thing is, that I tell myself some of these things before a dance lesson.  I vow to myself that I will be connected, every moment.  I promise myself that I will be sure to focus on my shoulders so that my body and my arms are connected and that I will be able to follow as an active partner.  I tell myself I will dance with strength and energy every second of the lesson.  And then I am upset and frustrated with myself when I fail at these endeavors, which inevitably happens, even if just for a moment.

But still I dance.  And still, I want to work at it.  I mean, on some level, it’s fun because of the challenge.  If it was easy, I wouldn’t value the journey like I do when I have to work for every ounce of improvement.

And doing the Galaxy competition is part of that.  It’s me refusing to wave the white flag.  It’s me risking putting myself “out there” once again, because, well, I’m a masochist.  Just kidding.  I’m doing it because there is growth to be had from taking this challenge on and because I love dancing.

So, this time around, things will be different.  Ivan and I have had conversations about our aim dancing together at this particular competition, and how we will both work at communicating differently during the event.  First off, I’m only going to do single dances.  No scholarship rounds, at least for now.  Ivan’s so awesome, though, that this could be a possibility on the day of the event depending on how he and I are feeling.  If we are really feeling strong and good, we can always add it in.  But for now, it’s less pressure, and I can just go and not take everything so seriously.

Also, we are focusing on the performance aspect this go-around.  We are going to pay attention to how the dancing feels – and our goal is to have it feel strong, powerful, beautiful, in unison.  If we achieve that, that will be a big win.  We are going to focus on the dancing rather than the outcome.  It is a much healthier stance to take, I think, and this time I am deliberately choosing it.  I think at Desert Classic I still had some expectations in the back of my mind that I’d do well.  By doing poorly in terms of placements, I am now able to let go of this, come from the space that I will probably place poorly, and this becomes so very freeing.  I’ve released the deep desire to be liked and approved of, because there is a very good chance I won’t be, and in that recognition, I can really go out there and be myself 100% in a carefree manner.  I am grateful for the gift.

So that’s the deal, folks.  I’m in.

And one final note…off topic, but in recognition of a fellow blogger who kindly likes and comments on my posts occasionally, caityrosey, this one’s for you.  Check out her blog All She Wants To Do Is Knit here.

Bet you didn’t know I was a knitter, too!  This is my latest project.  Fingerless gloves.  My hands are perpetually freezing at work so I thought I’d make myself a pair.  I’m using a merino, cashmere, possum blend I picked up in New Zealand when we visited there in November.   I thought I’d splurge and use a nice yarn since I will be using these suckers daily.  And, it’s my first project doing a cable knit.  So, there you go.  Ballroom dancer and knitter extrordinare!  My next ambitious project will be to make a shrug to cover my arms for dancing.  I’ve never made anything that has had to actually fit so far – just pillows, and hats, and purses, and toys – you know, projects where you don’t actually have to find your gague.  Well, anyways, I’ll let you know how it goes.


2 thoughts on “Things I Tell Myself

  1. Yay you for going! I’ll be sending good thoughts and positive energy.
    Just a thought – it might be hard to find connection to someone else (externally) before you fully connect with yourself (internally). Then again – what the bleep do I know about connection? The only things I can successfully connect with are two golden retrievers – they don’t pay much attention to my words, just my body language and my energy. With people – I just seem to screw it up – even when I am trying to help.

  2. […] will give up the white flag and fight to be the best I can […]

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