Confidence by Trial & Error

We can all agree on at least one thing: Turning the hot water off while in the shower during the winter, so difficult. If you're anything like us, we sit there and stare at it knowing as soon as we turn this off the real world is going to hit us like an ice truck, then we're going to have to get out of the shower, grab the towel, and run - freezing - down the hall, where we will inevitably have to get ready for work and start what we're sure will be a very long day. (Deep breath). That entire process is started by having to admit: "You can't stay here in the warm, soothing water all day."

A lot of people don't do simply because they know the chain of events to follow may be downright uncomfortable. But sometimes, that's exactly what we need.

While we were never scared to dance in front of our fellow arts school classmates, singing was another thing all together. As students in the Musical Theater department, we were required to stand in front of peers, who we were also trying to develop friendships with, and sing. If we could tell you how many times this process felt like sandpaper on sunburn... and how many times we prayed we could unzip our skin and walk away, you would be reading this blog for far longer than you budgeted time for.

To even label it as "uncomfortable" seems a stretch, because we'd categorize it as "terrifying," "demoralizing" or "torture." But we would also classify it under: "Awakening," "Freeing" and "Rewarding." Even though 9 times out of 10, after our songs were completed and we swallowed all of the feedback from our teachers and peers, we'd rush back to our seat in the back row - still shaking - and feel two things: 1) Relief 2) Disbelief.

Did we really just do that?

Today, we watch as our students work very hard to achieve whatever task we have given: a single/double pirouette, a fouetté rond de jambe en tournant, a grand jeté or the splits. We see them fall, stumble and get disheartened. We see them walk to the back of the line and judge themselves. Why can she get it? Why can't I?

If there's anything we want to say to them, it is our checklist of bloopers:

We have fallen flat on our faces:check

We've cried/thrown-up/had a costume piece malfunction in public:check

We've forgotten a dance while on stage: check

We've forgotten the lines to a song/monologue: check

We've been yelled at/the reason for someone else feeling "let down:" check

We've felt like the smallest person in the entire world: check

But we still kept showing up. We still came to class, even if we were sick to our stomachs at the thought of facing a teacher or classmate. We still tried our best, even when we felt our worst. We still told ourselves, "You can do this" even when we weren't sure we believed that. We've made all the mistakes, we've lived through all the errors, we've been in the shoes our students who are now wobbling in trying to make fit.

We know they will arrive on their own time, to the tasks they've been given and soar beyond them. For now, all we can do is point out the flaws in their attempt, provide suggestions, and secretly share in their pain and frustration. We believe, even if they don't.

"Who You Are" by Jessi J

I stare at my reflection in the mirror
Why am I doing this to myself?
Losing my mind on a tiny error,
I nearly left the real me on the shelf

Don't lose who you are, in the blur of the stars
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It's okay not to be okay
Sometimes it's hard, to follow your heart
Tears don't mean you're losing, everybody's bruising,
Just be true to who you are

Brushing my hair, do I look perfect?
I forgot what to do to fit the mold
The more I try the less is working
'Cause everything inside me screams, "no, no, no, no..."

Don't lose who you are, in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,

It's okay not to be okay...
Sometimes it's hard, to follow your heart.
But tears don't mean you're losing, everybody's bruising,
There's nothing wrong with who you are

Yes, No’s, egos, fake shows
Like "whoa,” just go, and leave me alone!
Real talk, real life, good love, goodnight,
With a smile
That's my own

Don't lose who you are, in the blur of the stars
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It's okay not to be okay
Sometimes it's hard, to follow your heart
Tears don't mean you're losing, everybody's bruising,
Just be true to who you are

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