I have had somewhat of a revelation.
I have been reflecting on the past academic year, and thinking about my plans and goals for the academic year just starting. This year didn’t go to plan for me. I spent the first two-thirds of the year working really hard towards the goal of getting on to a ballet course where I could participate fully as a student, work towards a qualification and get a student loan so I wouldn’t have to work (none of these things I am able to do at my current school, as great as it is). I didn’t get to where I would have ideally liked to be for audition season, but I discovered a new-found clarity of vision and focus, working hard and making more progress than I’ve ever made. I invested a lot of time and energy in auditions, which were mixed in success, but the results weren’t mixed: “no” across the board, asides from my two insurance choices which were universities. This was even harder to deal with because it coincided exactly with losing our flat. The landlady sold and we had to move out on short notice. I loved that flat and I had envisioned it being our home for the foreseeable future. Suddenly the future I saw for myself had fallen away.
It wasn’t the end of the world. No one was dying. We didn’t lose our livelihood. We were surrounded by supportive friends and family, so we didn’t end up on the street. I still had the classes I’m going to now at the school I’m at, and I also now had the option of going to university. We were also able to move into a cheaper home so that I could give up my day job and focus on dance, which is something I’ve been needing to do since day one but wasn’t able to before.
However despite the fact it really wasn’t that bad, these two things happening together proved really hard to bounce back from. I’m normally resilient in the face of rejection. I don’t usually have a Plan B- I go all in for what I truly want. I don’t settle. 9 times out of 10- well maybe 8 times out of 10- the commitment pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s crushing because I’ve really invested in it, but I usually mope and cry for a day, maybe two, then bounce right back and start setting new goals. For some reason, I just felt really low and couldn’t snap out of it.
In recent months I’ve been slowly coming back from it. I gave myself permission to take it easy, rather than keep trying to force myself to train, and that helped, because I realised I actually wanted to dance and to move and be pro-active. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been focusing on getting re-inspired, which seemed like the missing piece in the puzzle to get my motivation back. However I’ve had a truly bad week this week.
My wonderful other half, on whom I depend far too much, went away on tour. Things started off very well, but then I caught myself dwelling on the news Monday afternoon. The standoff between the USA and North Korea awoke within me some kind of massive panic about the impending doom of the planet and I spent the entire night obsessively panicking. I didn’t sleep. I went to bed after 5am, when the sun was coming up, and slept all morning, missing class. Obviously I felt awful the next day. I managed to do that for the last three days in a row. I’ve also been thinking about my dreams and goals and wondering if I’m going about it the right way, stressing that I don’t look balletic enough and about my technique not being a high enough standard yet, feeling lazy for all of the time I’m wasting and have been wasting. I got myself stressed out and worked up and I’ve been staying awake all night, sleeping all morning and waking up feeling awful.
Today I decided to de-stress a bit so I spent most of the day on some relaxing activities, and then I decided to pull myself together and do something productive, hence the goal-setting. As I was reflecting, and thinking about what I really want, in light of everything I’ve been worrying about and stressing out about, I’ve come to the following realisation.
I AM SO DONE with feeling this way!
I am DONE with reading the news. It is just a source of constant negativity. Some people feel like they need to know what’s going on in the world, but I honestly find I don’t, and I’m much happier when I’m not taking in all of that negative information. I can’t do anything about what’s happening right now, so why make myself sick with worry about it?
Yesterday the bus I used to get to and from work every single day crashed into a shop when the driver blacked out. People were injured and had to be cut from the wreckage. I realised- what if I died in a freak accident like that, and I had spent my last days worrying myself sick about the news instead of living life? So- done with the news. I never want another staying-up-until-5am-contemplating-nuclear-holocaust episode ever again.
Furthermore. I am DONE with feeling lazy, and I am DONE with being lazy! It’s a vicious cycle- I never feel like I am doing enough to be progressing in my training, and then I make myself feel so low that I genuinely don’t do anything. I don’t cross-train, I don’t go to class. I am DONE with that! It’s time for me to stop stalling and start taking action towards my goals, actually doing things every day, not thinking about how I should be doing them. I am also DONE with beating myself up when things don’t go to plan!
Each week, I spend the weekend making a meal plan for the week and getting the food shopping for it. I plan out what I’m doing that week, the classes I’ll go to, and I start off full of good intentions. Every single week. I envision some sort of perfect version of myself who is always organised, always has energy and never gets distracted. In reality I am highly distractible, often tired, very reluctant to cook and have very bad timekeeping skills so I never get anything done on time. So two or three days into the week, I’ve started swapping around the meal plan because I don’t want to do too much cooking, then I forget to make lunch, I’m late to class so I don’t get my conditioning done, I keep getting distracted all afternoon so I end up getting to past midnight when I wanted to be in bed at ten, and choosing between getting 6 hours of sleep or only getting 5 and doing my bedtime stretches because I skipped them yesterday and the day before. I get frustrated with myself, and the next day I’m so tired because I haven’t slept enough since the weekend that I miss class. Then I feel so bad about missing class that I write off the entire week and resolve to start afresh on Monday.
I do this every damn week. I can’t seem to stop myself. I’m meant to do a pointe class on a Friday night. I have done about two classes in the last several months, because by Friday I have always given up. I go in to help on the reception, and I say I’m not doing class because I have been out of classes for a few days, or I’m just feeling too down and drained, but next week I’ll join in. And of course, next week I never do. I AM DONE with doing this to myself! No more!
You know what else? I am DONE with feeling inadequate because of my size. I am considerably bigger than your average ballet dancer, yes, but I use that as an excuse. I focus on my weight and the way I look, instead of focusing on my technique. I beat myself up for wasting chances in dance but failing to lose the weight requested of me. But the truth is, if I didn’t even bother trying to lose weight but focused all my intention on improving, I’d be a much better dancer. Instead, I’m the same size as I was AND I’ve barely progressed. I am DONE with the idea that I need to lose weight to become a better dancer! I would like to transform my body, yes. I want a lean, strong, flexible physique that’s in line with my goals. But I don’t NEED to lose weight. I can become a much better dancer by giving up feeling like crap because of how I look and focusing on training and technique, than I ever could by just losing weight. So far I’ve done neither, so it’s time to focus on what’s important. I’ll work on my physique, but it comes second, and I’m DONE apologising for my size.
I am just really, really, really done. I’ve spent years working towards something only to hold myself back. I think about what I should be doing, what I should have done in the past, what people say to me, what my teachers say, the way people look at me when I tell them I’m a dancer, all the things that are wrong with me, even the state of the planet! But I don’t really DO anything. I lay down all the plans, I even start down the path, but I don’t keep taking action. I stall and I stop. I’m D O N E with that. It’s time to think less and do more! It is time to worry less about what other people say and think about me and about what I’m doing. I don’t care! I have used up all of my caring! It’s time for me to care about myself and do what I need to do. I am giving up all of my excuses, all of my reservations and any fucks I ever gave about what anyone else thinks about my choices.
This has been a massively self-indulgent post but I felt the need to shout this particular thing to the world. Back to regular programming tomorrow!