Sunday, June 16, 2013

When the going gets rough....

I've had two particularly difficult dance lessons lately. One I ran of air and the other I ran out of talent.
Both have caused me to indulge in narcissistic life review.

We, my handsome, private, Russian dance teacher and I, are working on a seemingly very simple step. Its basically moving to the right, left, forward and backward with a hip action...kind of a swivel.  This is the kind of step when you are drunk and with your girlfriends on an all girls weekend, you can pull off without thinking.  Because you're not thinking.

Unfortunately, I cannot be drunk at every lesson...though perhaps I should try that.  Anyway, this step is on the verge of defeating me.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but you try it!  In heels!  My dress shoes are little, black Me Too flats.  I don't wear heels.  Now I have to practice in pedal (pronounced peedal) tools of torture.

So a few weeks ago, we were working on this step.  I start at one end of the studio and do the step across the floor to the other end.  And its not just the hip action that is important.  You must also:  keep your shoulders down,  stand up straight with your gut held in, toes pointed, feet turned out, toe lead, one hip back and the other knee bent and lined up over your foot, your arms are up and held out in front of you with slightly bent elbows and then you take a step, on the inside of your foot and WITH ENERGY AND A SMILE, then switch hips with beauty and precision.  OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Towards the end of the lesson my energy was waning and the smile was long gone.  I made it 3/4s of the way  across the floor and could not take one step more.  I was out of breathe, my knees were killing me and I was exhausted.  So I stopped.  So I could breathe.  Big mistake.

"DO NOT EVER DIE ON THE DANCE FLOOR!!!" yelled Vlad.  "You make it off the floor, smiling, and then collapse".

"Jesus Vlad", I said while gasping for air, "I was practically there.  Just a few more steps".


"All right, all right.  Jesus.", I said as I dragged my fat ass back to the starting point.

And I did it all the way across.  And you know what?  NOT ONE SINGLE FUCKING ENDORPHIN!!

Yesterday we were still working on the same freakin step, but now going to the left.  I'm not going to say I mastered the step going to the right, but I was sort of getting it.  However, going to the left was virtually impossible.  I couldn't even start.  When I had to do it in reverse, every time I tried to take a step, it was like my mind stopped and my body ran into a brick wall.  I could not do it.  I was not feeling good about this at all.  Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were not succeeding, let alone miserably failing, and every single moment of insecurity comes rushing back to you?  Suddenly you remember every single time you were embarrassed.  Every time your confidence wavered.  Fucking up in math in first grade.  Being on the wrong foot in a recital in 5th grade.  Having to wear  bright yellow tights and a leotard during your high school senior dance program and looking like a giant Easter egg dancing across the stage.  Going to Wendy Ward's Charm School in 7th grade, before plus sizes were invented and during the final fashion show, having to model a rain slicker with hippopotamuses  all over it.  You heard me.

All these memories and feelings come flooding back, plus many, many more, washing over me like an emotional tsunami.  You are literally unable to remember one thing you have every done well.  Not to mention I felt at least 400 lbs.  Not an ounce less and possibly an ounce more.  I just finished reading an interesting book called Half Assed, about a woman who lost over 200 pounds.  As I was reading I felt compelled to eat.  Just reading about someone else's issues made me anxious enough to eat.  I put the book down.  Clearly I've got my own shit to deal with without eating on someone else's behalf.  jesus.

So I find myself ONCE AGAIN dealing with issues I have been dealing with as long as I can remember.  Being in the same position at 54 as I was at 12 begs 3 questions:

1.  Is this normal?  (lets not waste a lot of time on that one)
2.  Am I someone who never gives up and keeps persevering?
3.  Am I someone who always gives up before the last 3 feet and therefore never really succeeds?

Clearly, I would like the answer to be # 2.  I would love to be the persevering warrior who never gives up in the face of adversity and because life has so much adversity, she's still carrying on after all these years.  I'm not so sure.

I posed the question to Vlad, my dance teacher.  He did not even pretend to think about it.

"You're someone who gives up.  When it gets too hard you stop".  Soooo glad I included him in this poignant, personal discussion.

My best friend Maria, God bless her, said "You are strong and tenacious.  And you have a short attention span.  When something is time limited you work VERY hard, like the Triathlon.  But when its a change for the long haul, if it doesn't come easy, you get frustrated and discouraged and then look for something else to move on to".  Isn't she sweet?

So, clearly, the answer is #3.  I was watching the Blackhawks game with Patrick last night and asked him about giving up and getting discouraged.  Does he get discouraged?  Does he ever feel like giving up?

"Giving up has really never crossed my mind.  I feel discouraged but giving up is never an option."

There you have it.  I know there is very little benefit in comparing one person's challenges to another, but come on.  I think I can learn a little something from this kid.

So I am committing to all out.  Not stopping 3 feet short.  Finishing the whole bike ride, swim, walk when I'm training.  Not taking short cuts.  God, I LOVE short cuts!  I invent short cuts!  I live on short cuts.  The thing I worry about is I'm such a bitch when I stick to something and don't use food or short cuts.  SO crabby!!! So I'm giving fair warning to those around me.  I'm not even going to try and temper my temper.  Its just too much stress to work as hard as I can and be nice.  I'm just too much of a bitch.

I give anyone permission to remind me of this when I start to waiver.  Just do not expect a nice response.  Clearly, Vlad does not need permission.

Finally, I WANT A TEAM PATRICK!!!  Truly, who can claim they are not in shape when I AM DOING IT AND HAVE DONE IT!  Friends of Pat, get off your skinny, young asses and join me!  Think how young and vibrant you will look compared to me!

                                                     Me, Patrick and our friend Jeanne Jacobson
                                                     watching the game last night.  Jeanne and I
                                                     are in Patrick's bed.  I hope it doesn't have a
                                                     weight limit.

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