a topic of occasional thought for me these days, deep in the night and early mornings when I'm typing away by myself and have space to think. The unexpected waves of feelings of insecurity and inadequacy about starting a business remind me of earlier times; of being a lifeguard, of learning to play for ballet and of being a brand new mom. The great thing is, we are ever growing, changing and learning!
Even after all the training to become a lifeguard, including years of swimming lessons and life saving skills, there is nothing that can prepare you for the stark reality that if someone is swimming and has a heart attack or a stroke, you have to know what to do, and actually do it, right. It is really intimidating! I remember feeling so much pressure, and fear, that I would ‘drop the ball’ in the face of an emergency. That was first experience of feeling insecure in my work environment, though definitely not my last!
My time in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, holds a very special place in my heart; it is where I learned to play for ballet, it is where I really began my independent discovery of who I am apart from my family, where I made the bad, the good and the crazy decisions. That city has a special place in my heart. I owned a scooter and zipped around on it, did a LOT of latin dancing and slept a little. This is also the city where I began to play for ballet, talk about a learning curve.
Right after getting my BFA, I began to play in the professional division. They switched me back and forth between two teachers, 2 weeks with one teacher, and then 2 weeks with the other. I cannot tell you how many buckets of tears I cried there. Teachers pressing the class hard to accomplish things, a perfectionist pianist looking for ‘the perfect’ music with little time given, and everyone is perfect looking (as far as I was concerned, everyone was slim with great hair and pretty make up; I was overweight and had never been a make up or a hair girl). All I felt were a rising tide of negative emotions: INADEQUATE..INANE...LACK of CONFIDENCE...FAT... UGLY...STUPID...DUMB..It was horrible, the pressure in the studio didn’t help.
It was there that I decided I had to change my mindset. It was either change my mindset about myself or become super depressed. So, I made a choice to start by loving one part about myself. Just one part.. my calves.. they were, and still are, awesome. Lol. Then, my eyes joined the list.. then my hyper-extension with great feet.. over time, many parts of me joined the ‘List of Awesome’. During those days, I grew so much. I developed the deep understanding that you will never believe the positive things that others think and say to you, if you don’t already believe it could be possible about yourself. I had beaten myself down with the help of others for so many years (my childhood in public school was no picnic), and truly had no sense of self-worth, or very little. I knew I had a good brain, but that was it. Winnipeg truly was a very special time in my life.
I’ll save the mom journey for another day, but, suffice it to say, it was hard! I had a baby who was super colicky and didn’t sleep well in the beginning, plus a c-section, plus no maternity leave. It was pretty ‘magical’. I really had to dig down into the lessons I learned in Winnipeg to draw confidence from things I knew I could do to help me push through the thing I didn’t know.. being a mom. Again, tons of tears, but this time I had one important tool, I understood the greater truth,
my feelings do NOT define who and what I am.
So, I leave you here for today.. are there any areas in your life that you are allowing your feelings to determine your identity? Instead of making a mental, purposeful decision to focus on something awesome, maybe it’s your button nose, your ears, your hands, I don’t know, but when those feelings arise as you walk into a studio of students you don’t know, or a social occasion with unfamiliar faces, make a choice to grab onto your ‘List of Awesome’ and hang on tight! You are amazing! You are beautiful! You are strong! I’m excited for you and your incredible future ahead!
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