I've been really letting this blog slide and I don't know what else to say other than that I am sorry. It's been a combination of things; my non dancing life has been busy. My second book is so close to having a release date. I've been writing another when I can squeeze it in. I have a new job (It's December so I guess it's not so new anymore) that I enjoy and thank God for everyday but it's also very time consuming.
I think the more obvious (well to me, at least) reason for my lack of posting is that I hit a low point in my dancing. The most concise version of this story is as follows: I offered to teach a Saturday class to help my TC. My husband got upset that I would be doing something dance related 3 days a week. In an attempt to compromise, I dropped to only going to class once a week and met with my TC to run things when she could meet me. Well, I went from dancing 4-6 hours a week last year to getting 2-3 if I was lucky. The closer I got to the Oireachtas the worse it got. I was going to the hour and a half trad set class. My dancing was suffering. My mental game was non-existent. I went into my Oireachtas with low expectations, but I hoped to at least contend with how I did last year...
...I got last.
If you follow me on Tumblr you already know that I messed up. I know in the past I've compared dance to gymnastics, but now I know what an elite gymnast feels like when they are at the Olympics or Nationals or what have you and they fall off the beam or step out of bounds. I literally zoned out and missed one bang. The rest of it was strong. Everyone else was so good that despite having a hard set dance this year it wasn't enough. That was it for me, rock bottom. My mom actually asked me if I wanted to quit. She said she wouldn't blame me. "You work so hard and you're never rewarded. I would understand if you can't take it anymore." It hurt, and yes I was upset, but it was more that I was afraid to come home and tell everyone that I was empty handed, that I got last. Then I realized that I felt that way at every feis since I last wrote. That was a problem.
I love dancing. I love competing. Yet, at every feis I was angry at myself and my bad fortune. Not enough dancers. Got that Judge that hates my school AGAIN. I was so worked up and anxious and upset that I never danced as well as I did in class. Once again I had this epiphany that every feis or most competitions this was the case. I could make excuses about Jon or Nana or the girls I dance against but HOLY CRAP IT'S ME! I'm the one mucking thing ups!
I posted over the summer about my mental health and how it scares me. I said I was aware of it then. I'm doing something about it now. I've always been anxious about things, but if it's holding me back and not letting me live (and dance) to my full potential, forget that. I talked with my TC today and she believes that this is not the end. I'm not just a grades dancer. I'm with her. But for that to happen, things have to change.
1) No more negativity. In an earlier post I was wearing a bracelet and switching it from one wrist to the other when I'd have a bad thought. I'm going to wear it again. I had my best results at a feis when I did that. A girl from my sister school does this and she world qualified today. If she can overcome her anxiety, so can I.
2) Get back into a structured class schedule. My husband isn't going to like it, but I need to get back to class two days a week. We're going to have to talk about it, but I'm hoping I'll be able to figure it out. I also told my TC no Saturday class next year. If I could get rid of it now I would. I'll report back on that.
3) Fresh Start: You know how sometimes you associate something with how well you are doing or aren't doing? Well, my red and black dress has to go. It's beautiful, but I feel like I'm wearing someone else's skin. It feels cursed. Bye.
4) Solos or No Oireachtas. No more Trad set. 8 girls two years in a row. I am perfectly okay with coming in last or close to last in Senior ladies because DUH, there are girls that have been dancing all their life in there. Trad Set continues to give me false hope (and stress). No more Trad Set.
5) Get Help. This is the part that scares me the most because I'm afraid I'll be stigmatized or that they'll tell me I need to be locked up, but I made an appointment to see a therapist. I think if I can find ways to deal with my frustrations and anxieties it will help across the board. It's almost funny; career wise, I'm the happiest I've been since getting a full time teaching job, I'd like to feel that way about everything in my life.
6) Stop comparing yourself to others. This is so hard but I'm hoping with time and help I'll be able to overcome this.
I dance Sunday and I'm trying to go in as mellow as possible. I usually have a game plan for this, but I'm going to try not thinking and see how that goes for once.
I solemnly swear that I will post more.