Daily writing challenge from January 19: “Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.”
(I know, I know, this is from a while ago. Sorry!)
My last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to me…well, I think it was in dance (of course.) There have been a few things over the last year that have not come easily in dance. Welcome to being an advanced dancer, apparently.
But the one that is sticking out in my mind was actually the first time I ran into this in dance. I started as a newcomer (duh, because I was new) and then moved to Bronze I and then to Bronze II and then to Bronze III. It was about 15 months I think from newcomer to Bronze III? Fifteen or twenty months; I can’t remember. But I know it was fast. Super fast. When I got to Bronze III, I remember my teacher telling me that the days of easy fixes were over.
And he was right. We were working on a turn in my foxtrot routine (which is now my foxtrot open freestyle.) I think the turn is Bronze IV or Silver – I can’t remember – and it took almost the entire lesson before I could do it on my own correctly.
I remember wanting to cry on that lesson. I remember feeling so angry, especially at my teacher for pushing me and not giving up. I wanted to give up and work on it another time. He wouldn’t. I was so frustrated.
But that turn was the first time it took me SO LONG to get something right in my muscles. Dance until then had been very easy: one suggestion from my teacher, and I could fix what was wrong. Suddenly I was faced with something that I had to actually work on, and it didn’t come easily to me. I didn’t get it in five minutes or even fifteen. Oh that was hard. So frustrating.
He rarely pushes me that far anymore. But he knew, far better than I did, that I could do it and that giving in to giving up would set me back further, and it would allow me to walk away thinking I couldn’t do it. He was proving a point and giving me a lesson. A difficult lesson to learn, but a valuable one. (I just realized that sounds like he’s totally manipulative, and he’s not. Occasionally he won’t let me give up and move on, and this was one of those times.)
And I know that he would not choreograph a step without knowing I could do it someday. Maybe not right away, but someday soon. Same with technique. He would not give me things to work on in technique if he didn’t know I could do it someday. When I get frustrated, I remember that. Luckily the frustration has become more and more rare.
And in fact, with the way my lessons have been going, the frustration is pretty nonexistent. There are certainly things that don’t come right away to me, but I know if I keep plugging away at it, I’ll get it. And it will be super good when I do get it.