01 July 2009


(This post reads like a cluttered mess because that's what my mind is at the moment)

Last night I had one of my rare emo moments.

I was practicing BodyJam in front of the mirror and as usual I video-ed myself. My thoughts during the session:
  • Why can't I feel the bounce in my feet?
  • Dammit, where's the twist in the body?
  • Argh, I keep forgetting to lock my arms!
  • Where are the hips? Twist it, twist it, twist it! Bigger! More hips!
  • Remember to walk on your toes in Latin!
  • I'm starting to cue like a droning robot again
  • Oh, I will cringe when I see these armlines in the video later
  • Point your toes dammit! Point them!
  • I need to drop down lower, bend my knees more, get my butt close to the floor...
  • Sigh... my weak center of gravity is killing my turns
  • Ah... I'm already panting so much when I'm only halfway through!
  • I'm supposed to jump - why do I feel I'm just hopping?
After my session ended, a wave of disappointment washed over. Was that all I could do? After more than 1 year of BodyJam, and 1 year before that of general aerobics, I'm left wanting more. I don't expect perfection, but everytime I review myself I'm so upset. And the feedback I get reflects that.

I usually get two types of feedback. Members of my class usually praise me. They'll say I'm good, I move well, etc. One even proclaimed loyalty, saying she'll never miss my class no matter what. They're good to hear, and I appreciate them, but they're just members, y'know?

On the other hand, I have rarely received true compliments from colleagues or other instructors. We have higher expectations of each other, and we can spot many more things than ordinary members can. And so, I know, whether they say it out loud or keep it in their hearts, I know their opinion of me is, "Meh... he's just ok nia."

At the heart of the matter is the issue of instructor clearance. In certain health clubs, every new instructor has to be mentored by a head teacher, who will 'clear' that trainee instructor upon satisfying certain criteria.

And 1 year on, I still haven't been cleared. Is that a failure on my part or my mentor's? No joke, I'm tempted to blame my mentor for holding out the clearance, but I know in my heart that it's mostly my own failings. Looking at my own video, I feel such a discontentment that it borders on disgust. No wonder I can't get cleared - even such a simple acknowledgement by peers is out of my grasp.

And I'm tired. I'm really, really exhausted. I've been travelling so far on an empty tank I'm amazed at my own perseverance sometimes. Or is it actually foolishness?

I want to be great. I want to be a good role model for *other* instructors, not just to the members. But I'm thinking maybe I'll never be good enough. I only started enjoying dance less than 3 years ago, and I have no basic dance training to fuel my technique. So I feel like I'm a paralympic runner sometimes. No one expects a paralympic runner to outrun an Olympic runner. Maybe I shouldn't expect a weak instructor like myself to outdo my peers?

Adding to my current frustrations, I had hoped that coming to Beijing will give me much needed time to improve my dancing. This is my opportunity to come here and then go back as a better instructor. But from last night, it's clear I haven't moved an inch from my spot.

I'm sick. And I'm tired.

There's a difference between being too hard on myself, and just being frank. I'm not going to delude myself into thinking I'm already good enough. And 'good' will be far too much of a compliment to give!

So, after all this ranting, now what? Now I keep going on. Am I giving up? No. Am I dispirited? Yes. But I know, though I'm moving at a snail's pace, I will get there. I must! This is my passion. Though it may not manifest on stage, and others can't see it, I know the flame is in my heart, and it burns brighter everytime someone tries to throw water on it.

My theme song for the moment is Hairspray's "Come So Far (Got So Far To Go)":

Come So Far (Got So Far To Go) - Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron And Elijah Kelly

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