Looking honestly at myself is more difficult work. Yesterday, we went to the dance floor. At first, it’s playful, trying out the new steps I’m learning from my classes, making mistakes, laughing it off. Later, I see that my partner is doing better than me, she’s picking up the routines that other dancers are doing more quickly, and I can’t keep up with the improvisation. Then she’s confident, offering to dance with others, and getting offers to dance herself. Slowly I notice my confidence waning.
One behavior I notice is that I begin to dole out compliments to everyone. I love to watch how the other dancers and my partner move. It’s so creative, so graceful, and so skillful. I take out my phone and capture some videos to share with my partner her experiences. However, the shadow side of this is I’m focusing on the other people, not on myself, not on what I’m learning or need to learn, or even on my deep feelings within.
The next behavior is I start to get distracted. I start getting turned on by all the people I’m attracted to, this tall guy, this Asian guy, this Latino guy, this buff guy, this well-dressed guy, this great dancer. I realize that was my happy place, my go-to place, when I felt awkward in public spaces throughout my life, at restaurants, at dances. Though I could not vocally describe my attractions–I’d be even more ashamed and embarrassed with that!–I secretly felt good, because I liked the endorphin rush of imagination, fantasy, feeling like I was being positive, supporting their happiness quietly, and not sharing my sadness within.
By the end of the evening, though, I was getting dizzy, unable to keep up with the dancing and turns, and the loud music wasn’t resonating with me any more. We did a few last tunes, and I was just moving to the beat, couldn’t lead effectively, and though keeping a happy front, feeling the disappointment inside. Along with other doubts, like would I be a better follow or lead, do I need to stylize my dance if I’m going to be a follow, am I not looking my best, am I a better videographer and writer rather than a dancer, am I in love with the goal but not the work, how much longer do I need to study and practice?
These are the rough moments I need to look at sometimes, and then continue on. More practice this week.
“When admiring other people’s gardens, don’t forget to tend to your own flowers.” –Sanober Khan
To help keep me going, I’m thinking about this TED talk that moved me to tears at the point where the storyteller finds her groove. “Fake it till you become it.” I think there’s some element of confidence necessary to just go out there, dance and fumble more, get the experiences, the 10,000 hours, ride the learning journey, and find my own groove and style.