This is a difficult subject for me to discuss, but this blog is like my diary so I need to be honest. I recently took on the project of turning my dance recital DVDs into digital files so I could put all of my routines into one video. Doing so brought up a lot of good memories but also an equal amount of bad memories. I am my own worst critique. It is a rare occasion for me to watch myself dance and think that I did a good job. Watching old routines makes me realize how hard a time I had as a dancer. Was I a good dancer? Yes. Was I a great dancer? No. What made the difference? Fear. The biggest problem I see when I dance is my tentativeness. I was never able to to dance without flooding my mind with doubts and fears: “Do I look fat in this costume?” “No one will watch me if I look fat!” “Suck in your stomach!” “Do I remember all the steps?” “What if I forget the routine?” “I’m going to forget something!” “That was a terrible performance!” “I never want to dance again!” That’s the basic idea of my dancer’s brain. Never stopping, never quiet. Unfortunately, I fall into the category of dancers who’ve fallen prey to distorted body image and eating disorders. I went to extreme lengths to lose weight. I thought that if I looked more like a ballerina, I would improve at dancing. At the time I thought my body was an eyesore, but now I realize I was indeed skinny. I looked the part, but it wasn’t by healthy measures. I loved to dance, but I could never overcome the obstacle of fear. When I first watched “Riverdance” on VHS and saw Michael Flatley and Jean Butler dance, I had no reservations. I just wanted to dance! Somewhere along the way, I allowed fear to beat me down and destroy my passion.
“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” – Merce Cunningham
• On a happier note, I will forever be grateful for my dance mates. No one understands the bond between dancers until you have navigated the ups and downs of dance with the same group for years.
I want to encourage boys, girls, men & women dealing with these or similar struggles. Please don’t let fear run your life! Take one step at a time and give your all to whatever you are doing. Failure wont harm you so don’t be afraid to try. If it doesn’t work out, don’t blame yourself. When dance turned out to be a stepping stone in my life, I blamed myself for being fat and lacking talent. The truth is God had always intended for me to turn my attention to something else. Each and every one of us is dealing with obstacles. You are not alone!
• It is time to start dancing with abandon & have some fun! :D
• I leave you with wise words from a special group of vegetables. ;)
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– Lauren Michele <3
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