Dance Anxiety No 2: The Time I Fled a Workshop in Tears

The dance franchise I use conduct a number of workshops to improve your game throughout the year.  When I started dancing again I thought I’d do a couple with the hope they’d give me a boost back up to the level I left at. Or better!

My first was really enjoyable. The second, very “meh”. But the third time I did a workshop was a complete disaster. All of my insecurities bellowed at me at once. You’re fat, you’re frumpy, youre ugly, you’re useless, you’re awkward, you’re stupid, you can’t dance for shit. I wince when I think about it.

I recall now, I was already feeling quite vulnerable when I got there. There’d been an exchange of words in the morning before I’d left. I can’t remember exactly what but I remember the impact it had on me and I how I felt afterwards.

Bad. Really really bad. Self loathing slithered out of its hidey-hole to taunt me and whisper in my ear. I nearly didn’t go at all, such was the temptation to curl up and hide.

When I got there from the outset I wasn’t myself. I knew this but nobody else could possibly. So when I squeezed out an awakward, barely audible introduction that was met with a faintly confused glance I blushed and felt embarrassed. Frustrated with myself. Great first impression!

Upon entering the room I was immediately confronted with a floor to ceiling, wall to wall mirror. Of course. It’s a dance studio. I knew it would be there. But it had never affected me quite so bad as this before.

POW!!! Look!! Look at how fat you are!!! Look at you, you’re the fattest person here!!!! 

That was a new and unpleasant feeling. I hadn’t been the largest person in the room before. Or rather, if I had, I had never been aware of it. To be honest I generally dont think in those terms.i don’t sit in a room and rank people in order of girth! But there was something about this day. I kept compulsively glancing at my reflection, half hoping to see it change. Needless to say it didn’t

My mind began to spiral downwards. Unstoppable. I felt hyper aware of myself and my body and it’s size. It was a drops and dips workshop; when someone tried to do them with me I felt like a total dead weight. The more self conscious I felt the more, I couldn’t concentrate. The more I squeaked rather than spoke. The more I messed up a move. And the more I squeaked and made mistakes the more my mind spiralled out of control. My head felt fuzzy. Hot. I could hardly move.  I felt increasingly embarrassed and frustrated and utterly furious with myself.

Who IS this person?!?!?!? This isn’t me!!!! And now everyone here will think it is!!! What’s WRONG with me?!?!?!?

About halfway through the four hour workshop I went to fetch water. And I realised then that it was futile. I could force myself to see this through to the end but Id only be making myself suffer. What was the point in that? Why torture myself for a further two hours? Yes, I’d feel embarrassed to leave early. But better to recognise when I need to stop and call it quits rather than causing myself further damage

I returned to the class and changed my shoes. The teacher looked at me

Are you leaving us sweetie?” 

They think I’m weird…

I opened my mouth to explain myself, I felt I owed it to her, but I was so filled with emotion at that point I could barely speak. I shut my mouth. Opened it again. Mumbled

I really need to leave. I’m sorry”

Oh ok. You sure?”

Blushing now, shamefaced, I could only manage a nod.

I grabbed my things and darted out the door, down the stairs….

I held it together until the corner of the street before exploding into a fit of tears. Raging and humiliated, I sobbed out my fury into my hands against a wall in the middle of Mayfair.

I raged at myself for failing. For losing it. I used to be able to do double, triple spins and then fall into a drop without hesitation. Now I couldn’t even do a basic drop. Slowly. With a lot of encouragement. With a teacher. Fuck!! It used to be second nature. And now look! I felt humiliated beyond anything. And why was I so fucking fat still?!?!? I didn’t eat badly. Was eating the healthiest I had ever in my life in fact. And I spent my days walking and walking and walking until it drove me crazy. I wasn’t sedentary. It wasn’t fair! I hated myself.  I can’t recall another time when I ever felt such intense anger at myself.

This happened last spring. I thought that I wouldn’t ever show my face at a workshop again after that (I was a bit fed up with the hit and miss nature of them anyway). But then one came around focusing on a particular area I really wanted to improve. I booked myself in. And I enjoyed it. No tears that time. And It gave me some closure. I’m glad I went back there again, to show myself hat I could. That there wasn’t anything to be afraid of. It was a just a bad day that could be writtain off and moved on from

Having said that,  although I returned to do another workshop and banished some demons, I don’t think I could face another dips and drops themed class. I am still very nervy and self conscious of dips and drops. If I work on them at all. I’ll seek out ways to work on them in an environment in which I feel secure and comfortable

I’m shaking like a leaf now, racked with chills despite the heating being cranked up, the jumper I’m wearing and the blanket I’m under. Chills and shivers tend to happen when I’m depleted mentally or physically. Exhaustion. Or an upsetting event. Or a trigger or distressing memory. I don’t know the science as to why it just happens. Can only assume it’s in reposnse to the writing of this post and the level of emotion involved. Apparently, I’m not as over it as I thought!

Much Love