The Second Before The Big Finish

I've been taking bellydance classes with the same teacher for years now. In addition to having a terrific dance style and an enviable level of poise, she happens to be an all around cool person (and a fellow geek girl to boot!). When the chance came to take some extra sessions to go deeper with my dance skills and really dig down into what some of my biggest stumbling blocks as a dancer are, I jumped at the chance.

She asked us to do some mental work about what we thought was holding each one of us back. I suppose I could have answered "knees that have been getting more prone to going stiffer with age", or "a wildly variable schedule that makes me have to work to carve out time for extra drills". But the most honest answer, which I did give her, was that when I start to get a little good at something I also start to get exceedingly self-conscious. I start to realize "hey, I'm actually doing it" and then pull back in, afraid of going for it full throttle.

This isn't a problem I have just in dance. It's pretty much spread over everything I do. Dance, singing, writing...oh yeah, writing. In the millisecond it takes before I hit the perfect note, execute a powerful pose, I stop ever so short of the mark I wanted. 

It's fear really. I start to doubt that I can really pull it off, whatever it is I'm trying, so I stop. It doesn't matter if I've done something well plenty of times in practice, before I'm even aware I've begun to doubt, I pull back.

With writing, there is more of a thought process involved. With every new word I add to a story, especially if it is one I intend to launch for the whole world to see, I start to doubt that I can ever pull off something satisfying. I freeze. Instead I go and find spreadsheets to manage, windows to wash, sock drawers to organize - there's no shortage of things to be done around the house. My hubby, gods love him, isn't the tidiest person in the world, and the kids are only beginning to why keeping things in order is a good idea.

As far as dance goes, my teacher had me drill relaxing everything but the muscles actually in motion. It's actually helped a fair bit. I can regularly get some really nice shimmies and hold them for a decent amount of time now. Perhaps trying to keep my mind focused on relaxing while being in motion crowds out the part of my brain that would normally scream at me to hold back. I need to figure out what the trick for writing is though. It probably has something to do with going back to the time when I only told myself stories in my head, without even ever thinking about sharing it. I was just playing with ideas in my head, letting the ones that most amused me back in for further shaping as the mood hit (that often occurred in very dull classes).

When I figure it out, I'll let you all know.


  1. I think your writing "shimmies" nicely :)

  2. Knowing the issue is half the battle! May you go full-throttle at everything you do!

  3. Fear is our biggest enemy. Huzzah for meeting that sucker head on and running him over!!

  4. I think your answer to the writing question also answers everything else: when we do things for us, they always workout. Even if we tell ourselves, "Hm, I could have done that better. But heck, I like it anyway."

    Letting go of a story (letting people see us dance) is very difficult. We always want to make it better. Just like we do with our children, we want to guide it all the end to the end... and that can't be. For they will never grow into what they are supposed to be, if we don't throw them out there.