Friday, January 29, 2016

When a writer cannot ballet.



Don't laugh. But ballet scares me. True.

This Thursday night for the first time I took an adult ballet class at our local ballet school. And I discovered something. I cannot ballet. Nope. Not at all. My feet don't like first position much less third or, God help me, forth. I can't spin. Yes, I know there's a french name for spinning in ballet. No, I don't remember what. I was too busy falling down. And you know what, that wasn't okay with me.

I realised that I not only wanted to ballet, I wanted to ballet well, the FIRST TIME. I did not want to go through all the failing. And what happened in class is that I didn't try very well. I was too busy worrying that I was going to fail, instead of expecting I was going to fail and moving on.

But the real problem? It's not failing. It's what failing screams at me. It says, "You suck."
Failure becomes a global statement about me. Instead of failing being an event that I can actually move past and learn from, it becomes a label I can't stand to wear. Suddenly I'm not just failing at doing something but I AM a failure. No wonder I'm not free to try. No wonder I'm holding back and shrinking.

And worse, this thinking follows me from ballet, to my writing, to my mothering, to my... EVERYTHING.

Well, no more. I've redefined failure as being likely, necessary and apart of learning. I am not what I do. Or even what I fail to do. I am me. A beginning ballet dancer who is now going to have a marvellous time thumping around the room and falling on the floor. I'm going to enjoy the process of becoming.

What about you?




9 comments:

  1. For me it's art. In my first art lesson in high school I did a very average job of the task. I believed I was not creative and this lead me to believe I was a failure. This failure message has followed me for years. I am currently on a journey to redefine the word creative and the word failure. A difficult journey but I know it will be worth it. I look forward to hearing more about your journey of becoming. How exciting it will be. Jo xx

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  2. Thanks Jo. I am looking forward to the process of becoming too. All the very best with your journey. Isn't it amazing how one event can follow us through life and, in a way, define us. Sad but true. All the best to you.

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  3. Yes! I taught a class back when I worked with an entrepreneurial organization - I called it Fabulous Failures. The motto was "as long as you get up one more time than the number of times you fall down you is a winner!"

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  4. Yes! I taught a class back when I worked with an entrepreneurial organization - I called it Fabulous Failures. The motto was "as long as you get up one more time than the number of times you fall down you is a winner!"

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    1. I love the that of that class! I am thinking I'll name my life that! Then I won't be afraid to send my best stuff out there just cause I'm afraid it will fail.

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  5. I so relate to this, Tab. I expect myself to know how to do something instantly (like when I wanted to play guitar). I'm taking several dance classes now (tap and jazz) and am so frustrated when I can't do it right the first time. Thank goodness you discovered this attitude so early on in your ballet lessons. For me, learning something new isn't fun but I have to find the fun in the learning.

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    1. So true Karen. I think for me I realised how much this kind of thinking was holding me back in other areas of my life. How afraid I was to play around more with things and try different solutions etc because I didn't want to fail. I feel so much freer. Still learning though. Hugs to you friend.

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  6. I hear you! Why is it so easy for us go from "failing" at something to being "a failure," the label slapped on in no time flat? Sheesh! We need to cut ourselves some slack and enjoy ourselves more! :)

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