Saturday, March 28, 2009

A tension, a tension.

My tension. Let me show you it.

The day between shows is the most useless day on the planet. I am completely and totally exhausted, but I am tied up tighter than Joan Rivers' face. I couldn't sleep last night, so I was up until about 12:15 (bad idea #1) and then this morning I woke up in a complete state of agony and tension, so I got up before 7:00 (bad idea #2). I need my rest. I have to be ready to go tonight. I have to make it through the last show. But I can't relax.

The problem isn't just normal show-related tension. I had a confrontation of sorts this week at school where I blew my top and sent off an angry email, and then yesterday in a state of complete frustration and disappointment, I yelled at someone else at the show. Anger feels dangerous to me--I'm not used to allowing myself the freedom to express my feelings when and if I feel wronged. I have to say, it feels good to speak up, and in both cases I believe I needed to do so. My problem is that I have guilt about it. I don't like confrontation. I don't like the thought that anyone might think less of me for showing my frustration or anger. By not expressing that, however, I am not doing myself any favors either. It's all about balance.

So much has changed for me in the last two or three years. Those changes are asserting themselves in my newfound hotheadedness. I think that learning to express my feelings in an appropriate manner is a skill for me to practice. I've been biting my tongue and avoiding confrontation for so long, I've become the local doormat. I need to keep asserting myself so that I can get more comfortable speaking my mind. The thing is, everybody else seems to be quite comfortable blowing their lids all the time. I need to jump in with both feet. As I've been saying, I feel myself changing. I think that being able to get angry at people (when warranted) is going to help with my anxiety. A lot. It's just kind of unfamiliar still. I have a hard time allowing myself permission to show imperfection.

The other thing weighing heavy on my mind today is that this is my last show. It's not weighing heavy for the reason you think. I am so glad. I am wanting to shout it from the rooftops. I am going to feel such a huge weight lifted. What's bothering me is that I am not emotional about it. I have avoided giving the girls (my dancers) a specific answer about whether this is my last year or not because I was avoiding the inevitable awkward conversation that would ensue. I have to tell them today. I know they want me to be sad that I'm not doing it anymore. They need me to be sad. But I have to say that the kids that really touched me have moved on. I like the kids I have now--I think I just see that my heart needs to be for my family right now, not them.

For seven years I've been coaching. As a first-year teacher, I coached Mock Trial. The year after that I took on Drill Team for three years. The third year of Drill Team, I took on the school dance company AND Drill. At the same time. (How is that even possible that I did that?) And in the years following that year that I do not remember, I have continued to direct the dance company. My life has been extra curricular activities. And what's happened in that time? My two kids were born, my husband graduated from college, my husband went to law school, I danced for another professional dance company, I started and subsequently dropped out of a Masters program, my husband and I separated--twice--and now we've come back together with a real desire to heal what's broken. It's not like I've been twiddling my thumbs.

I'm tired.

So today I'm afraid that when we circle up and I have the girls give each other validations, that they are going to look to me for some answer that I won't have. I'm afraid of the tears that won't come and the longing to continue leading them that I won't feel. They are great girls. It has been a privilege to teach them. But I also know I need to move on. My family needs me. And I need me.

Going to try to to unwind. Operative word: try.


  1. Heather, you're amazing! I cannot grasp what you have been through and the fact that you are expressing yourself emotionally through words is fantastic! I am proud of you and I just wish that I could give you a big hug! You're amazing, that's all I can say and I'm just so happy with what you're doing and how well everything is going! Don't worry about not feeling bad about not leading the dance company, you need to live your life the way that you want and deserve to live it!

    Love, Sarah R.

  2. Assertiveness- you are welcome to come over and run the horses any time. It is quite gratifying (not to mention actually kind of a handy training tool for yourself) to get a 1000 lb animal to do what YOU want with only a look and a word and a wave of your arm, because she respects what you've asked her to do! :-)