“Riding the Struggle Bus”

Dance and movement is what I know. I get it. It’s my language. Your language might be fishing. Or rock climbing. Or baseball. Or painting. You are well-versed in what you know.

What happens when the language you know trips over a rock and you can’t figure out whether you’re drowning in a depth where you can’t touch the floor or you’re flailing around in the kiddie pool?

My week got a bit shook up, and I don’t mean the Elvis kind of “all shook up”.  The language that I knew became a struggle to use.

The antagonist in this play is named: Enseh Kuhretea. You can get her name better when you say it out loud slowly.

She’s foreign.

But trying desperately to become a permanent citizen! (But nobody really likes her. But she’s a persuasive itch.)

(oops, forgot the b.)

Anyway, little Enseh stopped by this week and she made me feel lost. She confused me, I didn’t understand new tango things that I was trying to learn, and she was damn distracting!

After her super brief visit (she has commitment issues, not to mention she thinks the whole world revolves around her schedule), I found myself attending tango events but not dancing at them. I deliberately chatted someone up, made excuses for turning down dances, and generally made myself a bit unapproachable. I felt like I was a crappy dancer, therefore I didn’t want to dance and feel like that some more. I tried dancing with one person and kept thinking about how I was stepping all wrong; I was collapsing into the embrace and into my own hips, I was walking on the outside of my feet, I was all over the place, my technique was inexistent, I couldn’t listen and I WAS A HOT MESS. I even thought, Somebody please escort me out of here and let’s pretend this night didn’t happen.

Oh, and I watched a video of myself dancing.

Uh-GUH. My partner? Did a great job. Really impressed me. But me? I expected way more of myself. I let myself down. I could even hear Enseh Kuhretea’s whispering voice knocking me down with every critique.

By now, you’ve picked up on the word play. If not, here’s the TLTR (too long to read) catch-up: Insecurity is a nasty, fun-sucking teacher. If I feed into my insecurities as a dance-speaking individual, I probably won’t continue dancing for much longer. I’ll find another language. Until the old, familiar insecurities take over….making whatever language I’ve chosen to learn impossible to become fluent in.

For me, Bridget, the key to silencing these insecurities rests in self-reflection. I once had an insightful counselor who always encouraged me to reflect on an experience….to imagine other perspectives, to seek solutions that may vary from my immediate go-to reactions, or to recognize that relationships are a dynamic of 3’s. How are my needs being met? How are their needs being met? How are the relationship’s needs being met?

First, insecurities aggressively take over what I think I am able to do. Then, they move into what I am able to offer, from my own treasure of gifts and skills, to those around me. They also lie to me about what gifts, skills, and help I can receive from those around me. Finally, if these insecurities have imbedded their roots so far, they will stuff my true potential into a bag and hide it in a deep cavern of my heart where I will cease searching for it. Because at this point, my insecurities have told me it is impossible to be; to actively exist as this person that is impactful, important, and in the midst of a transformative sense of wonder and discovery.

So DAMN IT. I’m going to work hard to round house boleo these lies in their face! I like this tango language. I like who I am and how I am learning new things when I accept and CONQUER new challenges. Working hard feels good and strong. Speaking with more and more knowledge of things that I’ve discovered feels radical, life-giving, and healthy.

Here’s to you, your encounters with our tramp of an acquaintence Enseh Kuhretea, and to finding a wiser voice to listen to that encourages us to be kick ass linguists in our own ways. 

“Now, maybe I live in a deluded island of self-belief here, but I own a mirror. I’ve seen this girl. I’ve met her. I know that I’m prettier, smarter, and certainly a better all-rounder than she is.”–From a book I read, the title was too scandalous to print, where the writer does not permit her made up story of the beauty of an ex’s new girlfriend to dictate her own worth.

“We say that our struggles have ennobled us, but we don’t know who we would have been without them. We might have been equally wonderful; our best qualities might be inherent rather than circumstantial. Nonetheless, most people look back even on unhappiness with nostalgia.”–Andrew Solomon

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