Forum: Arts / Diaries

Living the Dream
By OMGjaimyemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Apr 30, 2010 01:50 PM

I've always loved journaling. My love for writing and putting my thoughts on paper (or the interwebzz) is probably only second to my love for dance - specifically, Irish dance, around which this journal will center.

Perhaps I should start with a bit of background. As a child, I did almost every activity under the sun. Started in baby ballet/tap classes, to baton twirling, to basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and softball, to all-around gymnastics, high-level trampoline/tumble, moderately advanced figure skating, back to ballet at an intermediate/advanced level, to cheerleading in school and on various all-star teams, dance/drill senior year of high school, and finally equestrian polo and three-tier eventing. Some say that this makes me extraordinarily well-rounded but I have different opinions on the subject. My mom was great about letting me do WHATEVER activity I wanted. She didn't believe in making me stick to one thing, and I wish now that she HAD. Instead of having the chance to be great at ONE thing, I was mediocre at best in about 20 things and even though I know that my mom was just trying to keep me happy, I resent the chaos of my childhood hobbies just a little bit.

When I was 11 years old and throughly absorbed in the cut-throat world of competitive figure skating, I had the great fortune of stumbling across a program on TV that pretty much changed my life, no exaggeration. It was over St. Patrick's day weekend and they had music shows, parades, Irish language instruction, and best of all - Irish dancing displays, including Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. It is hard for me to explain exactly what happened within me when I saw this incredible form of dance, but I think it's safe to say that at that very moment, I KNEW that I was born to do Irish step dancing. Corny as it sounds, I still believe this.

I'm quite positive that, had I been presented with the opportunity to Irish dance as a younger child, it would have been the ONE thing that I would have stuck with through-and-through beyond a shadow of a doubt. There is just something about it - the music, the rhythm, the culture behind it, SOMETHING - that ignites a passion within me that says "I LOVE THIS and I MUST DO THIS!" So I'm sure you can imagine my disappointment (actually, devastation) to find out that there were NO schools for Irish dance within a 300 mile radius of me. I was horribly upset by this, but I didn't even think about giving the dream up. Instead, I spent all my time on the computer looking things up, researching, learning - until I had everything about steps, competition, dresses, wigs, EVERYTHING committed to memory. I watched videos, looked at pictures, read voy boards, knew of every site about dance and then some, bought all the vhs tapes/dvds that I could find of shows and movies with Irish dance ... I'm sure you can see where this is all going! Cue - OBSESSION!

To cut through a lot of crazy obsession, stalker-ish behavior that spanned a few years, let me start at the time when I DID find a school in my town, finally! I was extremely excited, completely beyond words, to finally, after years, be able to dance. I get there on that first day, and while this class was better than nothing, it was more than a little disappointing. From all the research I did, I knew right away that this wasn't a certified school, the teacher had no formal training, was not a TCRG, and that I would never be able to compete. We performed a little bit, every now and then, and I LIVED for being on stage, doing these dances in front of an audience. It just solidified the fact that this was just absolutely ME. Fast-forward a year again, and the school broke up, the teacher stopped teaching, and we stopped performing. Cue devastation again. But alas, I didn't give up the dream! NEVER! I hit the interwebz again, doing research for schools ANYWHERE near me and found one in an urban area about a six hour drive away. Yes, six hours and I DID actually think that this was reasonable. This was a certified school and the teacher was a TCRG, her students competed, did WELL at competitions, and I decided that I would work my butt off to save money to go to her classes once a month on the weekends, so that I at least would have SOMETHING. Well, that worked all of about 3 times before it was painfully obvious that my 16 year old budget couldn't handle that sort of financial commitment, unfortunately.

At that point, I was pretty discouraged, as you can probably imagine. I knew that unless I moved somewhere where there was a school, that dancing at any sort of competitive level was not a reality for me. I was forced to give up the idea of dancing at all, at least for the time being. It got easier as time passed, but I still thought about it ALL the time :(

Fast forward again, this time to the PRESENT. I moved, finally, away from my little hometown to a place where there is not one, but TWO certified dance schools within an hours drive! Cue GIDDY happiness. So it's finally happening, after all these years of waiting, after all this time spent researching and reading (because I could do nothing else) and all this time WANTING - I have finally been given the opportunity to dance and I could not be happier. I've gotten plugged into a good school with an AMAZING teacher who sees my potential and works me hard. Who wants to start me competing in Prizewinner and who wants me to go to the Oireachtas THIS year. Who, at 21 years of age, is giving me a chance to do what I love more than anything in the world. To see just how far I can make it in this crazy world of competitive Irish dance, and kind of against the grain too.

Now, I'm not an idiot by any means. I know that the amount of work I have ahead of me to progress to the level I need to be in time for the O is massive. I'm prepared though, as always, to do everything I need to do to make myself ready. I am prepared to put my blood, sweat, and tears into making this happen for myself. Into making my ultimate dream come true. It doesn't matter to me if I don't place, or even recall. It doesn't matter to me if I come dead last. Simply being on stage at the Oireachtas is already such an honor that many dancers will never experience.

I know that heart, dedication, and willingness to work is only part of it. I know that natural ability can only take me so far. But I am a firm believer in choosing your fate. I know that I can make it, I just KNOW it, simply because I've decided that I will. Crazy? I'm sure a lot of people will think so. But I don't think I'm crazy, I just think I'm finally fulfilling a CRAZY DREAM that I've had for more than 10 years!!!! And I couldn't be more thrilled :)

-J

12 Replies to Living the Dream

re: Living the Dream
By OMGjaimyemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Apr 30, 2010 04:54 PM
So my teacher wanted me to compete at Peach State (which would have been my first feis like ... ever!) but a few weeks ago I started to have some pain in my ankles that was pretty awful. Like on a scale of 1-10, at it's worst, it was about an 8. I thought I might have mildly sprained both of them, but after some strong Naproxen, hours of ice, and taking a break from dance class for a few days, they seem to be just fine now. I think I must have just strained them a bit from doing too much too soon.

I've only been dancing now for about 3 weeks, and in 3 weeks I've learned two steps of the prelim/open champ Reel and 1 step of the novice/prizewinner Hornpipe. The soft shoe is coming pretty easily and quick to me compared to the hardshoe. It must be from all the ballet I've done that makes it easier for me to pick up. Last night was good, I was able to dance pretty much full-out on my ankles so that was a relief. I was pretty upset to find myself semi-injured right off the bat when I'm finally able to dance! :/ But like I said, last night was good, I didn't had little to no pain.

I got new hardshoes last night too! Not looking forward to breaking them in, but I REALLY needed them apparently. I was wearing a 6.5 Fays gray sole and now I'm in a 5 Hallmore black sole. It's crazy how I went down a whole size and a half, but interesting I guess. I never could feel that my Fay's were too big, but compared to how the Hallmore's feel, I can definitely tell the difference. And I think I like them alright, they're pretty comfortable so far. The tips/heels are VERY loud, even through the duct tape. I'm pleased with them, and VERY pleased at how my steps improved with just that little change in size.

I was still having trouble with the timing in my Reel last night. :( I think I must definitely be a Slip Jig dancer, and not a Reel dancer. Because of all the ballet I've had, it's really hard for me to be so powerful and "flicky" with every step. The Slip Jig (what little I've learned of it so far) is coming much more natural to me than the Reel timing. Oh well, just gotta work harder to get it right. And I WILL get it right!! I've heard that O's dances will be Slip Jig/Treble Jig for Senior ladies, but nobody knows for sure yet I don't think. If they are, I might be able to breathe a little easier knowing that I am probably stronger with the Slip Jig.

I've got class in the morning, so I'm determined to get these two steps RIGHT, on time, and with lots of power. And also, to be able to go all the way through both sides on my hornpipe step, TO MUSIC, on time, with no stopping, and hitting every single click on my way! Here's to hoping!

-J
re: Living the Dream
By OMGjaimyemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat May 01, 2010 04:42 PM
Well, today is not my day.

For the first time in class today, I felt really discouraged and frustrated. I'm trying really hard not to let it get to me too much, but I'm just kinda down right now. The pain in my ankles is finally gone, but somehow between thursday night (which was great, for the most part) and this morning, I've got the most horribly painful shin splints. Like, BAD. I've never had shin splints this painful before. We were doing Reel step about and I got through my first step okay, but during and after the second step, I could hardly stand up, it hurt so bad. So I had to take a break and I just rested until we changed shoes. Trying to do my hornpipe was horrible as well, my shins were just KILLING me. So overall, a very bad class because of very un-welcome pain :(

In life, I'm pretty stressed out too. All the oil spill stuff is starting to worry me a little bit. I live on the Gulf, and the spill is supposed to get to our beach by sunday night/early monday. Who knows WHAT this means for our economy and my job. I work at a restaurant on the beach and they are already talking about making cuts if business slows down anymore. It's already slow because summer hasn't quite hit yet, and if there is oil in the water soon - well, people aren't going to want to come here, least of all tourists. Not just because the water will be gross, but because of the smell. Not good for business at all, and since I was the last server hired on ... I'll be the first to go. I got sent home early today because it was slow :(

So yeah, bad day dance wise and work wise. I hope I can get a good nights sleep tonight, and have a good couple of days. I don't have class again until tuesday night, so I'm just going to rest and PRAY that this pain leaves me alone.
re: Living the Dream
By OMGjaimyemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun May 02, 2010 06:47 PM
My shins and ankles seem to be okay today, although I haven't done much except lay around all day. Hopefully the rest over the next few days will be good for me. I hope work is good tomorrow, I hope I can make some money. I need gas, and I need to pay my dance tuition which is .. already late because I'm BROKE :(

This entry isn't going to be very dance-related today, but I just feel like writing and getting some things out. And part of what I say MIGHT be triggering to you if you have/had eating disorder and/or food/weight issues so be aware ...

.
.
.
.
.

I feel like, since I moved here, I've gotten a little depressed and lonely, which wasn't supposed to happen. I was supposed to be having fun, meeting people, hanging out, dancing, loving life, etc etc etc. Well, dance is going well and I really love the school and teacher. That part is great. Work is ... good, but still kinda slow going and depressing. The weather hasn't been great yet, so people aren't coming onto the beach to spend money, and if people don't come, we don't make anything. That's not even to mention this looming oil disaster and what it will mean for our beach if it washes up to our shore. Good Lord, I hope that doesn't happen. So there is that stress.

The second thing that has been bothering me is the fact that I haven't found a church to get involved in yet. I REALLY need to do this soon, I think. I want to find some good people to get to know and hang out with and get plugged into a good small group and such. It's really hard because my aunt and uncle (who I live with) do not go to church whatsoever. My aunt is supposedly a "Christian" but I say that loosely because she does nothing to behave that way. My uncle is a straight up Atheist and CONSTANTLY makes jokes and snide remarks about Christians and "religious people" in general, and it greatly upsets me. I knew all this when I came to live with them, so I'm not surprised really. At first, I thought it would make me un-motivated to go to seek out a church and want to go because there was no pull of going "as a family." But I'm actually finding that with all the remarks and horrible things that my uncle says, I want to go MORE. I don't want to let his attitude get to me anymore, and the only way I can do that is to just get settled into a good church. So that's one short-term goal that I can challenge myself with.

Another thing that's been bothering me and creeping up on my mind these days is my body and weight. I've been "recovered" ( and I also use that term loosely ) for a while now, and this was another reason that this move was going to be so good for me - to remove all the stresses and triggers in my life that made me resort to coping in an unhealthy manner, ie. the ED. Lately, I find myself obsessing again. Wanting to lose a little bit of weight. Just a little bit. It couldn't hurt right? Wrong. I recognize all this, I've fallen back into the behaviors countless times. I don't WANT to fall back into anything dangerous, but I'm really VERY unhappy with my body right this second. I'm at, I think, the highest weight (while still in a healthy range of course) that I've ever been in my teenage/adult life. And I really don't like it. I don't want to let this thinking take advantage of me again, but .... I'm not too sure how to stop it either. But I know what the RIGHT thing to do is. I know that, in order to dance well, I have to keep myself in a state of recovery. I know this, so hopefully I can resist the temptation to fall back. I need to fight back before it takes hold and makes me too weak to fight it.

Ugh, I need to get it together.
re: Living the Dream
By OMGjaimyemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu May 06, 2010 10:18 PM
OKAY, thank God for an awesome week!!

Dance both tuesday night and tonight was great, it was like last Saturday never even happened. I've finally gotten my whole Reel learned and have been able to start drilling it and working on the technical stuff. It's actually starting to LOOK like a champion step, lol. So I'm very pleased with that! Have my whole hornpipe now too, and although it's only about a Prizewinner level step and a bit simpler, it kicks my butt. But tonight, I managed to do it all the way through with minimal mistakes and ON TIME. An excellent accomplishment, if I can say so myself :D

This is a short update, but I'm totally exhausted! Gooood night, DDN <333
re: Living the Dream
By djcharamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri May 07, 2010 06:11 AM
Hello :) I am going to be a diary stalker, so I thought I might as well introduce myself haha. I'm Ciara :)
That is amazing and so inspirational that you have finally been able to do what you want to do, and that you are already getting so good at it!
I am guessing from your SN and from the fact that you were talking about peach state feis that you are from US southern region? I am too, so maybe I will see you at a feis sometime. And at the O's as well :D
Best of luck with your dancing goals!!!
-Ciara :)
re: Living the Dream
By irishdancer19
On Sat May 08, 2010 08:52 PM
Hello :) I will also introduce myself... I'm Kathleen. I just read your diary posts and find them incredibly inspirational... glad to see that you are finally able to live out your dreams. I saw that you posted on my thread that you would be competing at Peach State next weekend... are you still going to be competing there? I will be competing in 15&over novice and wearing a black and turquoise solo dress with white and red knotwork... if you see me feel free to come and say hi :)
re: Living the Dream
By OMGjaimyemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun May 09, 2010 02:01 PM
^ ^ thanks to the both of you for introducing yourselves and for your kind words!! :D

Ciara - I AM in the SR and am planning on competing in as many SR feisanna as possible over the summer and in the fall. We will have to collaborate a meet up sometime!

Kathleen - I'm still coming to Peach to hang out and support my school, but I won't be dancing, sadly :( I just didn't feel like I was going to be ready in time to be competitive, since I've basically only danced for 4 weeks LOL. But if I see you, I will definitely come and say hi. I'm going to try to watch all the older age groups to get a feel for how it all works, so I'm sure that I will get to see you dance!!


Alright, now for a little bit of an update -
I've FINALLY figured out my problems and the source of my pain in ankles and shins and I'm so glad! On tuesdays and thursdays, we dance in a studio that's only ours so the floors are really good for Irish dancers. On saturdays, we have class in a different location and we rent time from a studio that only does ballroom dancing. I realized yesterday at class that my shins and ankles ONLY feel like they're dying on THAT floor. This floor is HARD and has NO GIVE whatsoever. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have pretty awesome classes with no pain. On Saturdays, my pain is so bad that I'm distracted from my steps and I'm forgetful and off-time. So anyway, I've decided not to attend Saturday classes anymore and just pick up an extra class during the week at the Irish studio. I'm going to the champ class tuesday nights, and then both the novice/prizewinner class AND champ class thursday nights. Its a LOT of class in one day, but I get worked out hard and pushed with no pain - so it's OKAY by me!! I will probably eventually set up two private lessons a month with my teacher as well, so I honestly think that I will be having PLENTY of class without the saturday disasters.

Not sure why that floor doesn't effect anyone else as badly as it does me, but GOSH, I'm just DONE with Saturday classes from now on!! :P
re: Living the Dream
By irishdancer19
On Mon May 10, 2010 04:26 PM
sounds great! hope you have fun watching :)
I will be dancing in competitions 355, 356, 357, 359, & 360.
I understand completely about not feeling ready... I'm looking forward to my softshoe dances, but as for my hardshoe one's, I was hoping to have my slow treble jig and hornpipe ready, but they're just not quite ready yet.. so I will be dancing the good old fast ones.
re: Living the Dream
By OMGjaimyemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon May 10, 2010 05:09 PM
^ I'll definitely be on the look-out for your comps! And yeah, I feel like my Reel is ready NOW, but it definitely wasn't at the cut off date for registration. And my slow hornpipe is a different story, in a different galaxy, LOL. It looks good now, but it FOR SURE isn't competitive, at least I don't think so. So I'm waiting to compete for a few more months probably :)
re: Living the Dream
By irishdancer19
On Mon May 17, 2010 04:04 PM
Hope you had fun at Peach State! I did, but it was INCREDIBLY hot in the ballroom... o well, atleast the floors were nice to dance on...
re: Living the Dream
By OMGjaimyemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon May 17, 2010 09:55 PM
I did have fun! It was a really great feis!

I tried to make it into the grades ballroom to look out for you, but I honestly COULD NOT breathe in that room!! There were SO MANY PEOPLE and nowhere to sit, or hardly stand, lol. So I attempted it, but I missed you! :( Not to mention the fact that I tried on about 50 dresses and didn't find ONE that worked well for me! Well, there were a few that I liked that my TCs didn't, so that was a bummer. So pretty much my morning on saturday was spent not even watching the dancing, but bouncing to and from the dress rack/champ ballroom where my teachers were sitting to get to dresses approved or not! :/ It was a bummer!!

Hope to meet you at the next feis though! I'm going to Southern Classic, are you?
re: Living the Dream
By irishdancer19
On Tue May 18, 2010 11:45 AM
haha it's ok... it was absolutely STIFILING in that ballroom. I only stayed in there for the time I had to dance... then I ran for airconditioning...lol. It was pretty well run though considering how many people were there...
Saturday was the first time dancing in my dress... It's definately a relief to finally have it... Hope you have luck finding one!

I was hoping to make it to Southern Classic, but I'm not going to be able to... instead I have my class feis this Sunday, and then I will be at Feile Rince Charlotte on the 5th, dancing my reel, slip jig, light jig, treble jig, hornpipe, treble reel, st. patrick's day, and the 11&over novice trophy dance :)

ReplySendWatch

Powered by XP Experience Server.
Copyright ©1999-2020 XP.COM, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS