When did you give up and other stories – dance

So I have a story to tell.

The story of today – sinking comfortably in anime-watching, despite any number of tasks – is not a real story.

The real story took place when I was about… fourteen? maybe fifteen.

I and my brother were attending ballroom dance classes. We both loved to dance (still do). He was doing better – not only he was more physically fit, but also he had a great partner (she turned out to be borderline abusive, but that’s another story and not mine to tell). My partner left me (girls were majority in class), and I would attend alone; my feminist temperament and awkward bearing didn’t make ballroom dancing an easy environment, but I still enjoyed it.

Here I should mention that as siblings, we had roles that we fulfilled in the household: I was the bookish one, he was the physical one. The roles hurt us both: it turned out that we both were interested in dancing and books. But at the time, we didn’t know that yet.

Summer came. My brother was offered an opportunity to do advanced classes – participate in tournaments. There was also a dance camp. As a family we weren’t well off, and I suggested to my mum that she send my brother alone.

At the time, it seemed to me like a logical, rational and adult decision. I knew we didn’t have a lot of money. My mum tended to have us both do the same things – curse of sibling jealousy/rivalry, plus both of us enjoying the same things. After some fast talking, she agreed.


The point of that story is that I had desperately wanted to attend the dance camp. I had wanted the 8 hour training sessions, special shoes, sweat and sore feet. I had wanted to belong in this colourful group of people who were serious about this, who were putting in the effort. I’d wanted to have a class longer than an hour, which never felt quite enough.

But I’d judged myself and found myself wanting. I’d felt I wasn’t good enough; fit enough; slim enough; I didn’t have a partner; it was ludicrous.

The only ludicrous thing was how seriously I treated that camp, and how harshly I put myself down.

I still remember that story. An epilogue – we went to visit my brother at the camp. My mum saw my pain and offered to sign me up there and then. And I felt – betrayed. At that point, I believed that we didn’t have enough money, so the money suddenly being found felt like I’d been cheated. I forgot – erased – my own role in orchestrating this course of events, my very successful pitch, bitter self-sacrifice.

As they say, if they hit you long enough, at some point you start hitting yourself.

So I still remember that story – the very first time I gave up on myself and decided I was Wrong, all over. And I’m writing it down, because I want to reverse it. Because now I know better. Because I missed that camp, but I don’t want to miss that life. Because at 28, I still want to dance, even if at 14-15 I didn’t get to.

I writing it down to tell you the same thing. It’s not to late. You can still go to a dance camp. You can still fly. You can still sing. You can still get up.

And I’ll keep writing it. Because it’s way easier to say it to others than to myself. My mentor is in his fifties. I look at him and think: awesome. I’m 28, and somehow it’s too late. Can we say #cognitivedissonance?

On certain topics – we all have it. So let’s look at our thoughts. That’s where the change begins.

Sending love to you all.


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