Why I do this to myself I seriously don’t understand.
Boy did I get myself into a tizzy today. So the deal is that I’ve signed up to do the Galaxy competition here in Phoenix and it is in about a week and a half. I’m going to dance Rhythm with Ivan and Latin with Kristijan.
Do I feel ready? Not at all. My body and endurance is not where I want it to be. My new shoes got here today so I’m breaking them in and they hurt. I do not feel practiced in either set of my routines – we are still working out details in Rhythm open choreo (closed is just lead and follow but there is still technique to remember and execute with excellence), and I don’t know that we’ve run the routines completely start to finish, certainly not full-out with all tricks. Oh, and also for sure we’ve not done any complete rounds. In Latin, I learned both Paso Doble and Jive just last week. Needless to say I don’t feel entirely comfortable with everything. (Or ANYTHING!!! Gah!)
Not to mention that this is my first competition back in a year or longer.
Until today, I’ve been cool with it all. I’ve been in a space that I am dancing for me, I love to do it, I need to get back into it at some point so why wait, we never really feel ready, and I’d thought I’d come to peace with how I am dancing and how my body looks. I was really calm about everything just trusting that I don’t have to be perfect, but to get where I ultimately want to be, I need to get back in the game. I was choosing to not take things so seriously because of everything that is going on, and really people don’t care that much anyways! I’ve been watching a lot of reality shows lately like Project Runway and RuPaul’s Drag Race and all the judging that happens comes down to opinions. I’ve been working on making my own opinion of myself more important than those of others around me. This isn’t to say I’m not open to feedback or coaching, but rather that such feedback doesn’t shake me to the core like it used to, that I can decide what works for me and leave what doesn’t, that I don’t just accept it as fact, and that at the end of the day it is about loving myself and being okay with being me.
I’ve been telling myself that this year was indeed about transformation. I’ve made a lot of changes, although they may be invisible, but they have culminated in me changing the name of this blog, creating a situation where I can pursue dancing with two amazing instructors, and feeling ready to step back on to the competitive scene knowing that I am not as polished as might be expected. I was (or at least I thought I was) strong and centered – determined to play my own game at the competition – one in which winning meant no nerves, enjoying myself, sharing myself, and really feeling the dancing (not just going through the motions or doing the steps per rote). Not to mention it is a privilege and a blessing to get to pursue dancing. First world problems, all of this! I’m generally grateful about it!
Speaking about grateful – here is a pic of the new dress. Animal print, red and black…RAWR!
Well, today, all of that went right out the window. About half-way through my lesson with Kristijan, as we were running through rounds, it hit me, like out of nowhere. Suddenly a cacophony erupted screaming mercilessly all my fears and insecurities, self-judgements, harshest self-criticisms, doom, gloom, and crappy self-talk. I have not been triggered that intensely in a very long time.
“What will people think?” they said. “You look exactly the same, you fatso! You took a year off! What the hell have you been doing? Does your dancing even look different at all? No! You know there will be expectations and what do you have to show for it?” They continued, “And what about dancing with two different instructors? People are going to comment on it. You are going to be judged. They will be judged.” (Cue dramatic, horrifying music…dum dum daaaammmmm!)
And then probably my most familiar demon spake, “You stink! Your dancing is so bad, so gross. How messy your feet are! There is no upper body movement. You are moving your hips wrong. Seriously everything you are doing is horrible. You really need to let go of the idea that you are or could be a good or excellent dancer. You are just never going to look like that! Stop trying to be something you are not. You will NEVER be enough.”
I got so fixated on looking good, or, not looking bad, that all the joy was sucked out of my being. I was so caught up in all that was so completely, obviously WRONG with me, and how I am still not able to fix it, even after living 37 years on this Earth… “If only I could fix it. Then I would be okay, then I would be acceptable. Then it would be okay for me to dance…..”
I know it’s all bullshit but it feels so very real. It’s so depressing. The black hole of egocenteredness….
I’ve really been working on letting go of trying to feel “special” or “better than/worse than” others. This is just an ego-trip/ego-trick. The ego is concerned with such things. (side note, ego is not bad…it’s just getting in my way in this particular issue. We, as humans, must have some sort of ego persona to function properly…I guess I’m referring to an overblown ego, a needy ego, one that is not balanced or neutral in nature…) I’ve been practicing my mantra of this is it, and this is perfect. I am enough just as I am. My body is exactly how it is and exactly how it isn’t. It is changing every day based on how I take care of it. I am so blessed to have such an amazing body that moves so beautifully and to be in such good health. I’ve been practicing freeing myself from self-judgement and criticism so that I feel safe enough to just express myself freely.
And then today, oh man! It sucked me right in! Right back down to the deep black pits of despair. Honestly, I’m still upset about it – that’s why I’m writing about it. I want to get it all out and get the freak-out processed and gone so that I can show up how I want to show up at the competition, with a big, joyful smile on my face, nonplussed by how anyone reacts to me, really focused on enjoying the magnificent experience – to enjoy it for every penny I’ve spent on it (Am I right? Ballroom is stupid expensive $$$$$), all the time I’ve put in to get ready for it, and all the energy I’ve put toward it.
(And shout out to Girl With The Tree Tattoo – how upset and disappointed I would be if I couldn’t even do it!!!! Humans, including me, are INSANE!!! I am lucky to get to do it…)
Although it was apparent I was emotional during my lesson, I pretty much held it together until I made it into my car. Once I reached my vehicle and closed the door, I collapsed crying and coughing. I even began retching a little bit (luckily I had tissues in my car) and my throat spasmed tight just like it did when I was a little girl trying to hold my emotions inside. I felt like I was being choked from within the internal tissues of my esophagus. Maybe you don’t believe in chakras or anything but it so happens that the throat chakra is related to self-expression, which makes total sense in my mind as to what’s going on inside my system. It’s an old pattern of the feeling of being judged and needing to be other than I am which steals my joy and tightens me up to hold in the emotions. Unfortunately it also squelches free self-expression, and I do not feel safe to be myself with abandon, without filtering. Oh my! Time to let that one go, don’t you think?
The hilarious part is that I’m the one judging myself. I do recall as a little girl wishing that I could just be accepted for who and how I was. I did not feel that it was okay to be me. I suppose every child experiences some flavor of that while growing up and being socialized so that we can actually fit into society and all. So it’s probably just a normal part of development. However I really seemed to have internalized the voice of self-judgement and it is rearing its ugly head right now. There is no problem with it existing, it’s just that I am buying into what it says, and what it says is vicious. This doesn’t serve me at all – it steals my joy, makes me sad and depressed, and just generally sucks! Why am I believing what it says, anyways!? If someone said these things to me out loud I’d tell them to go fuck themselves! I’d walk away and know that they were full of crap projecting on me and that it was not the truth. OMG. So the fact that I was so very taken in by fear today was a real eye-opener.
Okay, so yeah. Cue the freak-out. That’s the space I am experiencing today.
I’m determined to feel the feelings. I am grateful this happened today and not the day of the comp! (Yay? lol) Only when such vulnerablities that we want to hide in the shadows are exposed can we address them and heal them.
Moving forward: I, Stefanie, am committed to intentionally create for myself the experience I’ve described about how I want to show up at the competition. I do declare that I will be joyful, calm yet excited, open, grateful, ready for fun and magic, limber, relaxed, connected, sensitive, centered, strong and powerful! I will move people. And, I choose to love and approve of myself exactly as I am.
That being said, I would still really appreciate encouragement and reminders of how awesome I am 🙂 It would help me shift out of this dark space quicker.