Triple Step

I am not a follower.

This is not a newsflash but for the purpose of context I feel it needs to be reiterated. If I’m in a situation without an appointed leader, I will naturally gravitate towards creating order out of chaos or bridging gaps in communication. If everyone is floundering, I will pop up with ideas to head us in a direction. If you need someone to quiet a room of hundreds and gather their attention, I’m your girl. In many, many instances this trait is welcomed and applauded. But not all.

When I’m on the dance floor? I need to follow.

This is extremely challenging for me given my proclivity for BEING IN CHARGE. Throughout class last night I was having an internal dialogue that went something like this: “Stop leading! Follow. Follow. Just move in place and let him lead. He’s NOT leading that’s why I am. You need to chill. Just follow. Follow.”

Sigh.

Despite my comfort zone being rocked, I did have fun. Between my internal struggle to relinquish control and the fact that we had to switch partners every few minutes (anxiety! negative thoughts about what they could be thinking about me! shhh!), I tried to just focus on the footwork and not give into my brain’s chatter.

Sometimes you just have to ACT a different way to trigger a different way of being inside.

Trying to be different is not an instantaneous fix though. It’s a process. It’s a journey. I know that these baby steps- like taking a dance class and being the follower- will eventually teach me to relax and not be so uptight about myself, not be so neurotic about assumed negative thoughts that others may or may not be having about me, not feel required to ensure everything is going smoothly. Figuring out when to be in charge and when to let someone else carry the burden- that’s the struggle for me. And the not feeling useful or worthwhile if I am not the leader. I am trying to teach myself that I have more than that to offer- the fixing and the leading and the rescuing.

“Even though I believe in living in the open, parts of me hide. I can’t help it. But what I can help is which parts of me- the open or the hidden- run my life. What I can rely on is this inexplicable knowing that when I am in the open, life nourishes even those parts so sorely hidden. . .We become so preoccupied with what we are not able to address, what we are not able to mend, what we are not able to leave behind, that we forget that whatever we are in the light of day is slowly, but surely, healing the rest of us.” -Mark Nepo

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22 thoughts on “Triple Step

  1. Think of the switching partners as a good thing. When I took a dance class in college, everybody else had signed up as couples.

    And following…it can be frustrating if your partner isn’t leading or willing to mix it up, but when someone does lead well, it can be pretty effin’ cool.

  2. Sounds like you had fun! This might be just the inspiration I need to go to those salsa lessons I’ve been thinking of for years!

  3. wow, you are getting a lot out of life right now! you are getting it out of dance lessons, and i’m sitting here listening to tapes on it! i’m listening to this book and it reminded me of a line that you said about acting a different way to trigger that inside you. that is completely what this book is all about. it puts you in “control” of your life without really being in control. my favorite quote so far is: “beliefs trump any DNA” you are awesome!

  4. That doesn’t sound so bad for the first class- I hope you set some time aside while you were there to have fun. You ARE pretty, you know- I don’t think there were such negative thoughts about you as you believe there were.

    Unless it was about the follower/following thing- you didn’t pick any of them up and swing them around yourself like you see in old happy days episodes or anything, did you?

  5. You are so right about acting differently over and over again before seeing the results. I am just NOW starting to reap some of the rewards of the changes I’ve been making and for some reason, I get surprised every time something positive surfaces.

    Also? I don’t think I could follow on the dance floor either. That would KILL me. πŸ™‚

  6. The first time I danced with someone who actually knew how to lead it was with my stepfather at my brother’s wedding. Holy shit can that man dance! You and I grew up in an era when no one taught boys how to properly lead a lady when dancing, so being the bossy, determined women we are we ended up taking the lead ourselves. Strangely, there’s something very liberating about dancing with someone who really knows how to lead and just letting them do it. Dancing with my stepfather was among the most memorable experiences of my life.

  7. I think it just requires one to relax and let some lead the dance.

    I usually dance to fast music and have very little practice with slow dances.

    Note to hubby: Take me dancing. dammit!

    right?

  8. I’ve been known to lead on the dancefloor, too. And at one point in my life a certain boyfriend got mad at me because I didn’t know how to follow. I usually have to have a lot of drink in my in order to follow. ha ha ha. Glad you’re learning to just let go. I should probably take your lead!

  9. This is such a good idea – dance class is like therapy! I’m a total control freak – I should go enroll in something. Glad you had fun and I’m sure the “follower” in you will reveal herself soon!

  10. Per usual, I am in awe of how self-aware you are. πŸ™‚ But self-aware in a good way…not in the paranoid, worried way. Tee hee.

  11. What a great post. I had such a hard time not leading in dance class, but… I got really good at it in the end! Slowly but surely… we can change! πŸ™‚

  12. So hard for me not to lead, to give that up to someone else. But like you said it’s a process and honestly, you are doing a fantastic job. πŸ™‚

  13. …my feet were sore until saturday! …so much fun πŸ™‚ …same bat time, same bat place this week …see you there!

  14. try thinking of it this way. you are the beautiful picture and he is your frame. he shows YOU off. you do all the spinning and fun stuff, he stands (keeping time of course!) and says the world, “look at her. she’s BEAUTIFUL!” plus, leading is HARD. you have to get your partner to maneuver around the floor, NOT run into people, and think of the next few patterns to do. [i know, i try it all the time.] you’ll do fine. just relax and have fun. πŸ˜€
    i’m SO excited to know you’re dancing too. *squee!*

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