This post was inspired by a conversation I had with one of my dancers this afternoon. I listened to their concerns about dance, experiences so far, and obvious frustrations. This isn't about throwing shade, far from it. By listening to this concerned and thoughtful teenager I realised there was an even bigger conversation I wanted to have with her. Here goes...
Dear Awesome Person,
Firstly, thank you for talking to me today. Listening to you made me both sad and hopeful. Sad because I could hear the frustration in your voice. You're at an age where you're looking for your place in the world and don't want to miss out on anything.
Why hopeful? Hopeful because you're at a stage in life where you're learning about true friendships, and making good decisions on those. Sometimes you feel like a circle trying to fit into a square. You my dear, are born to shine, don't let others make you doubt that.
It was interesting when you told me what some people in the community thought of me. If you had told the person I was back in 2012, I'm sure I would have reacted differently. As I listened to you, it made me think of this quote.
The truth is, yes, criticism hurts, at any age. But what I have learned is that my journey is my own, and constantly comparing myself to other people is tiresome. I will never win. By focusing my energy on learning, improving and growing, each step takes me closer to achieving my goals. Then I can set more.
Oh one last thing, surround yourself with people that are heading towards similar goals that you are. They don't have to think exactly like you, or always agree with your methods, but as long as you encourage and support each other, those are the kind of people that will build you up. True friends and mentors will challenge you, motivate you, and best of all, be there to see you through the doubt.
Much love and hugs