There are many things that can frustrate us.
Frustration can manifest if you move too fast. You want everything done yesterday–having made arbitrary timelines for life goals and they are not being met. (House, marriage, and kids in 3 years anyone? Or how about I expected my business to take off and make me a millionaire like yesterday-wink wink)
Or frustration can manifest if you move too slow. When you look around you see others doing what you know you should have stepped out on faith to do, you are angry (really that’s just frustration).
And I’d say both of those types of frustration are good only to let you know that you are moving too fast or too slow. So once you identify the source of your frustration you can adjust.
But there is another type of frustration that I have recently encountered that I think will forever change my life for the better…
and it’s the frustration that inevitably comes along with learning new things.
I now realize that as adults we may be more easily frustrated than when we were toddlers. (and if you’ve raised a toddler that may be hard to believe, but follow me for a few moments…)
As adults, we’ve become proficient at many things. We’ve mastered walking, talking, writing, cooking (some of us anyways…), so when we start to do something that we are unfamiliar with, most of us freak out. As a 30-something, why should I go back to feeling like a toddler trying to walk? I already know how to walk!!! So rather than feel silly or clueless, as we age we tend to do only what we know, like, and what we are good at (see a problem here?).
Although I wrote about stepping outside of my comfort zone a while back, I really experienced it this past week.
With dance, my training and comfort zone is in ballet, lyrical, and classical jazz. They come relatively easy. I stopped dancing regularly when hip-hop became mainstream so I never learned it. Any time I’d try to learn hip hop on my own I’d become super frustrated and stop. (Dancers have this joke about watching ballerinas trying to do hip hop it’s always funny and you can always tell they are “ballerinas”. I felt like I started to look like that).
A while back I discovered a down to earth yet amazing choreographer named Candace Brown on You Tube. She is ridiculous. She moves like silk and I am in awe of her talent.
So in this case, I saw this choreography to a song by one of my favorite artists Dwele called Two2Tango. It’s ridiculous. I watched it into the wee hours of the morning totally mesmerized.
So the next morning I decided to learn the dance. I had to tell myself I’d try to learn an 8 count per day because it’s a hard dance to learn on your own, in real time, and looking at their reflection in the mirror. (for someone out of the dance loop, this dance is darn near impossible!)
Well I couldn’t get the first 4 counts…4 COUNTS!! I was more than frustrated. As soon as I thought I got it, I realized I was doing it wrong. (thanks to the mirror)
I walked away for a bit, came back and still wasn’t getting it. We ran errands later that day and every few steps (in BJ’s) I was practicing, still with no luck. Talk about frustrated!!!! I am a dancer and I needed two days to get the first 8 count! Although I heard all the voices saying how I was a has been because I was struggling so hard to get the first 8 count, I didn’t quit. I hated how I felt, but I wouldn’t stop trying. (oh and on day two I was so sore it was hard to take deep breaths!)
But at the end of day two, I started to get it! And that felt good! But how often do we quit because we are “embarrassed” thinking we should be learning it quicker or be more proficient by some arbitrary date. Just keep going!
So I will be learning this new dance. Although I am totally scared, my plan is to post the video once I learn it all.
Another thing I’ve learned is that letting a talent die is one of the worst things you can do. Maya Angelou said is best when she said: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Although I left dance, she hadn’t left me. And although I turned my back on her, she’s willing to take me back. Now our becoming re-acquainted is no walk in the park. It’s not like picking up where you left off with an old friend. Dance is a high maintenance friend that demands daily interaction, so me getting to know her again is not always going to be fun, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So for the bigger lesson is don’t let adulthood and the proficiencies you’ve acquired thus far push you to only pursue what you are great at. Sometime you should feel frustrated like a toddler learning to walk. It’s painful, perhaps embarrassing, but totally necessary to move to the next level.
I am now begging my hubby to put in full length mirrors in our basement for my studio. I cannot wait! Hopefully in no time, I’ll be dancing and teaching others.
Until next time,