OK, today’s buried issue: Badly bruised EGO ? A Really bad case of Stage 2? What???
Going back a couple weeks to The City’s Challenge. Almost done, just waiting for the Scholarship awards and passing the time chatting with an acquaintance who had come to spectate and cheer us on.
The conversation started with his remarking that he had no idea I danced rhythm, or, more specifically, that I danced Full Silver. That led us into the challenges of dancing the higher levels and then the question of “how did you come to be at this studio.”
As I’ve said, I usually keep my own counsel and run with my set piece of the basic truth: I wanted The Icon to coach me as I elevated my Smooth to Gold.
“You were dancing Gold? What happened?!”
And what I heard coming came out of my mouth was “I came back thinking I was getting Gold. What I got instead was The Icon promptly breaking me back to Bronze.”
“How did you feel about that?”
And there I stood, for all outward appearances, smiling and having a pleasant conversation. But on the inside? The dam burst and this roiling mass of What? Hurt? Embarrassment? Anger? Resentment? clawed its way up.
Wow. Didn’t I just recently go 10 rounds with this? And didn’t I think I had finally beaten it down? Hadn’t I finally worked my way through this and thought I had finally come to terms with it?
Why won’t this demon stay dead?
Before coming back to my current studio, I was preparing to compete in my first gold level event. Whenever Happy Feet and I would run our routines, other dancers would step back and watch. We were strong on the floor. We were good. We had it going on. We were stars. But I wanted … NEEDED … to be even better. I wanted to see just how far I could take it. And hence my decision to approach The Icon for coaching. If I wanted to be the very best, I’d need to work with one of the very best.
So here we are, 5 years plus later and I’m still not back to the level I came in on, the level I had worked so hard to attain.
I’ve been trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter. But it does matter. A great deal, apparently, based on the way this issue keeps resurrecting at the most inappropriate times.
This is a sore spot. A REALLY sore spot.
But can someone help me out here? Because I don’t understand why this is only manifesting around my SMOOTH dancing?? Is it an ego thing? I was someone special and now I’m not? Or am I angry because I’m questioning my judgment in thinking of myself as way better than I really am?
Yes, EGO plays a part, but there seems to be a healthy dose of seriously hurt feelings in the mix as well.
Most times I can keep a pretty tight grip on what I’m really feeling. Those are the times my RATIONAL mind is in the driver’s seat.
But then there are those times when I get to thinking back on being in the city, of all the hard work that had gone into building my routines, and my overall dancing in general.
Those times when the EMOTIONAL side of me puts pedal to the metal and really starts sticking it to me.
I’m confused, hurting, and so sensitive on this issue that I get all defensive and all it takes is the least little thing for my inner child to slip her leash and roll off on a major tantrum.
It was that way at the comp, it’s happened in general conversation at socials …. it’s also happened in the studio, in the form of a new student:
So and so has a New Student …. He(she)’s REALLY talented / practices on their own / Amazing dancer / If he(she) had any competition he(she) would’ve blown them off the floor …
I feel like the red-headed step-child — left out, heartsick, Diminished ? Inadequate? Embarrassed? I over-react, lose control of my mouth and blurt out something along the lines of:
“What about me? I’m chopped liver?”
And responding to my crazy woman attitude, The Icon comes back with:
“I saw you when you were dancing [with Happy Feet] and you weren’t all that great.”
“EXCUSE ME ?
“I HAD IT GOING ON. NYDF, TriState, Empire, Commonwealth, Constitution, NJ Open. Definitely not little 1-day backwater comps; and believe me, I wasn’t out there on the floor by dancing with myself. I had some serious competition.”
I try to remind myself that I’m NOT delusional, I’m NOT lying to myself about my potential and my ability to fulfill that potential, that I might actually be underestimating myself. I’ve had support and encouragement from the likes of Pierre Dulaine, and Meryem Pearson, The Icon, who have seen and confirmed my vision of what I’m capable of doing and becoming, and because of them and people like them I’ve stayed with it, through hell and high water, holding on with my last fingernail when others just said “to hell with this” and went on to other things.
So why do I keep reaching back into the days of “past glory” instead of glorying in the joys of what’s going on now? Today’s lesson, today’s coaching taking me beyond last week’s lesson, broadening my scope of understanding, introducing me to new ways of looking at things and making it all better than it’s ever been? Am I looking to soothe a hurt ego? Or am I suffering the pain that comes from stretching and growing and yes, even the fear that comes with leaving the old, familiar ways behind and moving into new and scary places?
Ahhh …. I think I’ve just answered my own question.
I’m behaving like a has-been, wallowing in what was, rather than celebrating what I’m accomplishing in the now. To paraphrase a poster I saw the other day, “When yesterday calls, let it go to voicemail. It has nothing new to tell you.”
Time to let go of what was. Sorry, Yesterday, it’s hard to move on, but I promise to think of you fondly every so often. NOW is knocking at the door, and I think I’ll go answer ….