Well, There’s a plus….

For the past few weeks I’ve have been focusing on some of the struggles I’ve had to overcome. I’ve talked about learning about  sacrifices I’m going to have to make and some of the negative feelings this journey is bringing up. This blog will discuss a lot of the challenges I am facing, however, I also want to use this blog as a way to celebrate my wins and highlight the challenges I HAVE overcome.

You-are-what-you-think

I am not trying to come across as bragging; however, one of the things I’ve been really trying to take a hold of is that “You are what you think you are.”  I do admit that I focus on the negative way too much. A wise friend of mine once told me that the only reason why I wouldn’t achieve my dream of dancing professionally is because I am my own worst enemy and my disbelief in myself will stop me from getting there. He’s right…

I know that I have a lot of work ahead to fix my technique, improve my flexibility, and gain strength. But the biggest thing I need to work on is fixing my thoughts, changing my attitude and belief towards myself, and stop doubting and having poor self-esteem when it comes to my dance ability.  I’ve been watching SYTYCD thinking “I know that with practice I can dance like those dancers. I know that I am nowhere near my potential and there is so much more I can do and learn.” But right away the negative thoughts creep in, “Who are you kidding? You’re never going to be that good. You’re wishfully thinking. YOU’RE TOO OLD!”

I’ve decided that the NUMBER ONE thing I need to improve is having a belief in myself regardless of who doesn’t believe in me. The ability to see my worth is the first thing I need to learn and then, and only then, will I reach my fullest potential.

So for this week I decided to look back and reflect on some of the positives of my journey thus far in list format:

1) I haven’t had so much determination and focus to reach a goal as I do for this one. It’s an amazing feeling to set a goal and actually put the steps in place to pursue it. For once I am 100% sure that I am in my zone doing what I am meant to be doing.

2) My flexibility has increased dramatically. I would say that I’m at a similar place to where I was when I was competing gymnastics. Actually, I’m more flexible now in some areas, such as my left leg active and passive flex and my hip flexors. I’ve been working really hard to improve my flexibility because I know that it’s one of my weaker areas. It’s nice to finally see all the stretching is paying off!

3) I’ve trimmed down since starting this journey! Since doing so I’ve seen a difference not only in my dancing, but in my overall positive attitude towards myself. Plus I fit into my new favorite pair of jeans now and that’s just awesome!

4) My dance technique has improved more dramatically over the past two months than it has in the past year. I attest this to focusing more on ballet, taking more difficult dance classes, increasing my strength and flexibility and my overal shear determination now that I have put a big goal in place. One of my goals last year was to be able to do a triple pirouette on my good side. Now I can do them on both 🙂

5) I have found amazing support in my friends. There are a few people who see the passion and potential in me and they push me to keep going when I feel down or discouraged. It’s comforting knowing that I have people backing me up and having that support makes a huge difference.

6) I got my first dance audition over and done with. It was kinda scary, not going to lie. But my best friend pushed me to go and I am really glad I did. The audition taught me a lot about what to expect, what I need to work on, and it was actually kind of fun!

A picture of from my first dance audition and my first experience putting on fake lashes! Which sucked!

First dance audition!

 

7) I’ve started networking with some people that I’m hoping will help me reach my dreams! Though I haven’t been able to dance my full time dance schedule yet because I do not have a car to get to all of my dance classes, it’s good to know that some things are coming together 🙂 Yay for business cards!

8) The reason I get discouraged so much is because I am a perfectionist and I want to get things right the first time, but no matter how discouraged I get I am finding that my love for dance is increasing everyday. It’s fueling the fire to keep going and I know that I am doing the right thing but going for it!

9) I am learning so much about myself outside of the context of dance! Some of these things include how to see myself in a positive light, understanding who I am as a person, and realizing what I am capable of.

10) I’m learning to be OK with not being perfect. As I mentioned earlier, I am a perfectionist and if I did poorly in a class I would walk out and start doubting. I have to keep reminding myself that It’s only February and I just started seriously training dance 1.5 months ago. I haven’t even been able to dance my full time schedule yet! This helps me be OK with the fact that I didn’t do as greatly as I would have liked in a class.

Well, thank you for taking the time to read some of the positive points in my journey. Until next week…

I’m in a relationship. His name is Dance.

As you know, this past Friday was Valentine’s Day and in due diligence of this holiday my Facebook page threw up notifications of recent engagements and new relationship statuses. All around me I saw people buying flowers for their loved ones or receiving gifts from anonymous lovers. On Saturday I went to a Valentine’s Day party, and with my single status and all, of course I wanted some cute guy to walk up to me and ask me to dance (how “high school” of me!). But instead I stood there in the corner, alone, looking around at everyone mingling with each other, except me.  I started feeling rather pathetic being that loser girl just staring at everyone hoping someone (guy) would talk to me.  It made me realize how lonely I felt, not only during the party, but on this journey of pursuing my dream of dancing professionally. As my thoughts starting evolving I kept thinking about how there is no way I could ever fit a relationship into my busy schedule.

Actually, I’m already in a relationship. His name is Dance. 

This is not the first time I’ve had a feeling of loneliness.  I often feel it to and from my dance classes in the city. Sometimes I will commute to the city, take my dance class, and commute all the way back home without speaking to anyone. As I sit on the bus by myself I look out the window and watch people driving in their cars. They’re all on their own journey, wherever they’re going, but they’re not on MY journey.

I’ve heard it said before by elite athletes and people in the entertainment industry. The journey to the top is a lonely one. There’s always something to do, or somewhere to be. You have to stay focused and on track, and many times you’re in it alone making sacrifices along the way.

Now, I know I’m not literally alone. I make sure I have time for church and friends and I still try to socialize as my schedule permits. I suppose it’s hard to explain how one can still feel lonely when they have support all around them. But regardless of the support, this journey is hard and I’m doing it alone. The hard work is all on me. The busy schedule, long days, injuries, pushing through even when you don’t want to, doing what you have to do even when you don’t want to… it’s all on me and it’s a very lonely thing.

When I’m on the bus looking out the window, in the back of the dance studio after a long day at work, or looking at Facebook relationship updates, I think to myself “Is it all worth it?”. Even though loneliness is one of the hardest parts of pursuing my dream of dancing professionally, I believe it is. I know that if I were to settle down and get married right now I wouldn’t be happy. I know for me this opportunity I have outweighs the feeling of loneliness. It also helps to know that other people have been through what I’m going through now with all of the hard work and sacrifice. The Olympics are on TV now and I know for a fact that every single Olympian has struggled with the the feeling of loneliness, but they’ve push through it so I can too.

I don’t have a happy, fluffy ending to this blog. It’s a matter of fact, choosing a life like this is a lonely path to take. But I have the decision to either wallow in my loneliness or realize that I am not choosing to pursue my dream for my own selfish desire. Yes, dance is something that is very personal to me, but through my personal experiences  I am able to outpour everything for the greater good of others in the world, whether it’s simply sharing an art or whether I am connecting with someone emotionally.   I am partaking in something that is bigger than myself. In an earlier blog I wrote that Dance is a calling and if I didn’t have that belief then this whole thing would fold. But I have something to give the world and as long as I keep my perspective off of myself, and on the bigger picture of why I decided to pursue this in the first place, all of the sacrifices and struggles I go through make it all worth it.

 

Sacrifice = Dance > Beach

I found the math equation that is going to describe my entire year on this journey to becoming a professional dancer:

Sacrifice = Dance > Beach

This week was a tough one for me as I’m still a little homesick and I have a lot of adjustments happening to my schedule since starting my new role at my job. I have also been quite overwhelmed trying to figure out how my work schedule and my dance schedule are going to fit together.  Eventually, once the adjustment period ends, I know the two will come together. But for now I am freaking out just a tad because I like schedules and organizing my life. Until then I am still in training and the show must go on!

I’ve started taking some dance classes as my current schedule, and of course finances, permit. My original strategy for the year was to start taking classes at the beginner level because these classes were safe. They advertise for dancers with little or no experience, so I knew for a fact that I wouldn’t look like a fool and that I wouldn’t be the worst one in the class. Last week I started with Beginner Ballet, Beginner Lyrical, and Beginner/Elem Contemporary.

I thought that I would stay in the beginner classes for a few months and then as the year went on I would move my way up. Well, my time in the beginner classes didn’t last months; they didn’t even last one week . As I sought out advice on building a “full time” dance schedule I was told to take more advanced classes.  I knew I could probably take the more advanced classes, but they were really intimidating because they were filled with dancers who had real experience… dancers who have been dancing their whole life. Not people like me.

And that brings me to my math equation…

My first realization of this math equation was when I was invited to go to the beach with my friends. There was an intermediate lyrical class going on at the same time, but because I’ve only had two formal lyrical classes under my belt (from last week!) I was a little nervous to be taking one at the highest level offered by this particular dance school in Sydney. I was torn because I knew I should take the class, but I rather go to the beach and avoid it all together. My friend who invited me told me I should go to the class because I committed to this journey and taking this class was part of that (and that’s why it’s amazing to have friends that support you!) I knew she was right… Sacrifice = Dance > Beach 

As I reflected on making this one, small decision about picking dance over the beach I quickly understood that this math equation isn’t limited to just the beach. This journey is going to be full of sacrifices…giving up time with my friends because I have a dance class, or having to wake up early. I’m sacrificing my time at home in order to work so I can pay for my classes. There are going to be so many sacrifices I am going to be making this year.  But the biggest sacrifice by far will be sacrificing my comfort zone in order to make a change in myself. Taking this step to follow my dream is a huge leap out of my comfort zone. I’ve realized that I need to sacrifice my self- doubt and seeing myself as “not good enough”. I need to stop feeling intimidated by others, thinking that I don’t belong in these advance dance classes, or the dance industry, and feeling left out for no reason.  I need to sacrifice the thought of thinking that putting this much effort into training to become a professional dancer is stupid. I believe what I’ve realized in the past week is a really important step in this journey. The real equation isn’t Sacrifice = Dance > Beach. It actually is…

Sacrifice = Dream 

Don’t Give Up or Give In

I got to dance this week, something I haven’t had the chance to do in a couple of weeks being that I’ve moved back to the other side of the world. Though I live in NY, I am actually working in Sydney, something that makes training to be a professional dancer a little more difficult. My plan for this past week was to settle in and try to figure out a way to continue my dance training as I hadn’t exactly figure that out when I left. The original plan was to see if I could dance part time at a full time dance academy but being as:

  1. I’m poor 
  2. I don’t have a car 
  3. Ain’t nobody got time for that
  4. They didn’t exactly accept my plea for help
  5. I probably didn’t try as hard as I could have because I felt like it was pointless because actually I don’t think there’s a point because probably they wouldn’t even take me because they have better things than to worry about my problems and basically because probably they’ve gotten a plea for help like mine probably a million times and they hear it all the time and that’s probably why one of the schools didn’t even email me back, but whatever I don’t need them anyways. End Rant. 

So I needed to come up with a new strategy. As I stared at my computer screen searching endlessly for solutions I became discouraged. I went to bed that night doubting my decision to go through with this endeavor. The next morning I needed to regroup, grow up, and get over. 

This is where the turning point in my week happened. I went into work and got offered a full time position. Waaaaahhhtttt?!

Now, you may be thinking “Doesn’t this mean you’ll have less time to dance?” Well, if you refer back to my points it’s quite the opposite:

  1. I won’t be poor so I will actually be able to pay for my dance training, something that I hadn’t completely figured out before. 
  2. I will be able to afford a car pretty quickly that will allow me to go back and forth from work to dance (and to friends houses, and church, and the beach, and other fun places, like laser tag)
  3. I can find time because I GET TO CHOOSE MY OWN HOURS!… well, for the most part.)
  4. It allows me to create my own full-time dance schedule using my resources around me. So creative-brained me can come up with a creative-brained solution.
  5. Probably it’s better that I don’t dance with a full time dance academy basically as it allows me to be flexible and choose when I wanna dance, where I wanna dance, how I wanna dance. 

Once I got home I started searching online again and I came across some dance schools in the area that fit into my schedule. Before I knew it I had my eureka moment. I decided to comprise my own full time dance schedule that would resemble a full time dance academy’s schedule. I started thinking about all my resources and how I could used them to my advantage. Since I work in a fitness center I have access to Pilates and Yoga classes, plus I have access to the gymnastics facility. Using the schedules from the dance schools, plus my resources from my job I am in the process of putting together a schedule that will set me up for a win this year.

Sha-bang! 

As I was trying to figure out what to write about for this weeks blog I could have chosen to tell you about my dance classes and how they went (really well by the way!), or I could have written about how my first week back in Australia went and how I’m settling in (I really miss home!) Instead I want to tell you that in moments when you feel like things aren’t going to work out…

Don’t give up and give in to your emotions. When things didn’t fall into place right away I had a decision to give in to all my negative thoughts, but instead I tried to focus on what I knew to be true, which is that in this moment, right now, I am supposed to dance. And if that is truth then everything will fall into place. I had to put trust in what my heart was telling me. And I knew that once I went back to dance class it would confirm that my heart was telling me to go for it 100 million percent. So in the end this crazy, super-eventful, mega inspiring week turned out the be a great start this this journey.