the gift of time
And a voice from down at the bottom of my soul
Came up to the top of my head.
And the voice from down at the bottom of my soul,
Here is what it said:
“This man is nothing!
This course is nothing!
If you want something,
Go find another class.
“Nothing”– from A Chorus Line
I’ve written before on here about a faddish partner dancing scene I was involved in during my early thirties. I loved it, but over time the social dynamics changed and it became too cliquish and competitive and I began to feel insecure and rejected in regard to my dancing skills. I do recall a skilled ballroom teacher once telling me that many of the people involved really didn’t know what they were doing in terms of teaching the dance.
I started taking ballet around that time in order to improve my general dance skills. As the politics of the partner dancing world began to wear away at me, I kept up the ballet classes, and I’ve now put in more than a decade of tendues and plies. I like the continuing challenge of ballet, whereas I wasn’t growing in the social dance scene due to the hierarchies involved.
Because of an injury, I’ve taken some extremely beginner ballet classes here, and one of the young women in the class is a teacher in the partner dance scene I abandoned long ago. And you know what? She is truly struggling in this class, a class which is a cakewalk for me. My perspective on those former years has now shifted. Perhaps I was better than I thought or at least had more potential than I was allowed to express.
It’s also possible that the rejection I felt had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that the stars of the scene got younger and younger as the older people left to get married, and I just didn’t fit anymore. In a lot of ways, I think there was a similar social dynamic in L.A. It wasn’t “them” or “me,” there was just no place for me to fit.
Similar to my dance experience, in the late nineties I tried to transition into the dot com world, and despite years of experience in another field, had to start over at the bottom, answering phones. This was at the apex of the boom, and the employees above me thought they were hot shit. I returned to my original career before it all tumbled off the cliff, and, not due to any real desire on my part but more to time and circumstance, I worked my way into some prime positions. Many of my former coworkers, on the other hand, had to start over in other careers, and some of them are in middling jobs now.
I do feel a bit like the tortoise!