Bad Moods

Bad moods happen. Feeling down, frustrated, limited, hopeless, happens. At least to me. It happened to me the day of my lesson with Adam, where I felt like I lacked connection with my dancing and also felt far away from where I want to be.

My partner and I practiced right after the lesson and I was in a major funk. I was upset at having been seen so well in the lesson, and having to realize that a superficial focus on technique isn't going to take my dancing where I want it to go. This is not to say I've never had connection to the dance or that I don't have it most nights, but something has gotten lost in my last year or so where I've been really trying to improve. I was also frustrated that 2 years and lots of concerted practice in I was being told that I still didn't have a down pulse in my dancing. Of course, nearly every lindy hop meme is about how every issue comes back to the basics and the better you get at dancing the more you realize it's always the basics that you need to work on. But I couldn't zoom out to remember this in the moment. I was just feeling shitty.

Beyond feeling frustrated though, I was feeling hopeless, which is a different and more concerning thing. For me, hopelessness comes from feeling like no matter how hard I work, how hard I try, something may not work out. That I've tried options A, B, C, gotten help from various people, and it's still not working out. I get to a place where I feel like no matter what I do, I will be stuck and never improve. It makes me want to give up.

Of course, this is a big pile of crap. Stuckness happens, plateus happen, but consistent application of effort and getting creative with approaches almost always (actually always?) moves one forward, whether or not we feel like we're moving forward at the time.

This is where something like faith and trust comes in. Believing that this feeling of hopelessness, of stuckness will pass. Believing that you'll figure out what you need to do to get where you need to go, even if it's not readily apparent. Believing that by showing up and being humble, the dance will reveal itself to you. Believing that with time and care all flowers will bloom.

After that shit day, I took a couple nights to reconnect with the music. I just danced around my apartment like a lunatic to full Count Basie albums. I wasn't trying to dance "right" but just grooving. I continued showing up for practice with my partner and working through the changes, trying to connect and not skimp on the hard stuff. And just a few days later, I'm already feeling better. But it's not always easy to pull myself out of these moments. I'm getting better at it, though. Having a partner who can encourage you when you're down is really helpful. And giving yourself the space and compassion to work through the tough feelings is helpful too.