It’s after 2am Thursday morning, I just got up to go to the bathroom. As I was heading back to bed, Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Learn’ pops into my head. I’m jolted awake and suddenly felt the need to write. Maybe it was because I hugged a lot of people last night - some people I’ve known for years, some just a few weeks. You usually only get to hug that many people on big occasions - like weddings, funerals or family reunions. I know because I’ve been to many of at two of those three.
Last night was our last show as a dance studio - and everything hereafter will just feel like a formality. The part of me who lived so much of my life as the teacher, mentor, friend, counsellor to those kids will begin to shift that energy into the next chapter of my life. Today it finally felt real, and the chain reaction of my decision to seek that energy is something that makes me both apprehensive and excited all in the same breathe.
Even though that decision was mine alone, each hug I gave and received, each photo I posed for made it quite evident that it will have obvious ripple effects. Some of those I probably won’t realise for some time yet. Standing on the stage, in the green room, in their hugs - I didn’t just dream that I was really doing this. Yet instead of tears and panic to hold onto that moment, all I felt was peace.
Letting go creates space to breathe, to grow, we all know that logically, but somehow the process before you truly understand it isn’t always so straightforward. At least it wasn’t for me. I’m just glad I got there before it really messed with my head. There was so much chaos I held onto subconsciously that it took me the long way around, but hey, we’re here now and for that I’m grateful.
I will no longer feel regret for the decisions of the person I wasn’t, but now that I know, there’s no going back. Those words rolled around in my head because I’ve talked to the kids about this many times, especially those that I saw were standing at the edge of making that switch. That moment you begin to bridge the gap - where the grind motivates instead of feeling like a chore or where belief and being becomes a familiar face, but that face is now bit older, wiser and more resilient.
One of my dancers told me he felt that he danced better at last year’s show. I asked him to consider that maybe it felt like that because along the way he had gained and made use of that knowledge, to raise the bar of his own expectations.
I’ve met a lot of kids (and taught a few adults too) in my role as a dance teacher over the years. Not having kids of my own, I would ‘borrow’ these kids every week, share and learn a bit about their lives, and then ‘give them back’ after each class. For me at least, it’s working with the crews that really affects and shapes you as a person. The longer I taught dancers, I would watch them grow up in the blink of an eye, and to a certain level understood the desire of their parents to hold on to those precious years.
You will give a piece of your soul, maybe more.
For now at least, this chapter of my life is drawing to a close. They say energy is never created or lost - it simply changes form. We have the ability to shift that energy and shape it to make us into better people - not because we are lacking, but the mold that first created us is now a size too small to let us grow. Growing pains, I just have to ride it out.
I plan to use my summer break to recharge, empty out my storage unit and clean the studio. My dog will see a whole lot of me too. Maybe catch up with friends, and start to make it to those dinner invites I always seemed to miss because of my crazy schedule. Take more walks in the bush, watch more sunsets. You know, start to do all those things I said I would if I had time.
You live, you learn. You love, you learn. Yes Alanis, it’s so true. Wise words girlfriend. I know, because I’ve been there and you have too. I’m learning to love myself more, and that takes time. Well...luckily for me, I have more of that up my sleeve now.