A-OK

 Beautiful illustration by http://www.gregorlouden.com/

Beautiful illustration by http://www.gregorlouden.com/

 

BEING OK WITH BEING OK

The person who first muttered the words "ballet is hard" really nailed it

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I decided I hadn't posted any ballet videos on IG for a long while, and since I have lots of fellow adult dancers following me, I decided I really needed to create some content that might be of interest to them, rather than my usual outfits or accessories. So I recorded me practicing bits of the William Forsythe piece we've been working on. I had been feeling fairly confident with it as I know the choreography well and can almost do it in time to the music now. It's fast, but I knew I was fairly close.

As it turns out I should not have recorded it. Watching myself 'dance' was soul crushing. It made me feel like the last 5 years have all been a huge waste of time because I haven't improved at all.

Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.
— Anne Wilson Schaef
 

This feeling of creative inadequacy is something I continually battle against. Like most creatives, I am a perfectionist. If I set about doing something creative or artistic I need it to be to a certain standard, which usually means one which is much too high to be realistic. When I can't achieve the level of perfection I demand of myself, I feel let down and unhappy. I never compare myself to anyone else - I don't need to, I am my own toughest competition and severest critic. 

As I watched that video and saw every horrible mistake, every flaw, I just felt like giving up. But the fact is I did that video about 6 times in a row. After I made a mistake I swore at myself and shouted "again!" to poor Prince B, who got the dubious honour of recording it for me. And I did it again. Then again. Then again. And again. I only stopped not because my feet were sore, I was getting 

tired or because I was getting further and further into a temper, but because normal class was about to start and other students would be coming in, otherwise I would have just kept doing it over and over.

I may never reach the levels of perfection I want, and I moan and get deflated, but I am not a quitter. I just wish I didn't place such absurd demands on myself. Ballet brings out the worst of those tendencies in me. 

I know I don't excel at anything - I am very good at lots of things, but I am not brilliant, or perfect, at anything at all - but continually striving to be better, or perfect, at x, y or z is just exhausting sometimes. 

I guess I need to learn to accept that sometimes just being OK...is OK.