Monday, January 27, 2014

Elastic Waistbands May Not Be Our Friends After All

Surprise, surprise, your pants don't fit!  Don't you hate that?  It's one thing to kind of know that your eating habits have strayed a bit off course of late; it's a whole other experience when your clothing proves it to you (thank you very much, unforgiving waistbands).

I know, I know - I exercise all the time and can probably eat anything I want, right?  Not so much!  Finding that balance between activity level and nutrition has been a beautiful thing, but, man, change one or the other too far or for too long, and you will know it.  Well, eventually you will.  I haven't worn these particular pants in a few weeks, so it has taken a little longer for me to get wise to the change.

See, that's where elastic waistbands, while comfortable, act like double-agents:  you think they're on your side (health and well-being), but they actually seduce you over to the dark side (yes, you can eat red meat and banana pudding practically every day).

So let's all take a moment to stop and appreciate all the clothes in our closets that give us direct feedback about our near past choices, and stand as beacons of hope, encouraging us to do the things we used to do that allowed us to wear the things we, until recently, wore.  She said as she munched her spring mix with tomato, yellow pepper, and avocado...

The uncooperative waistband.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Better Dancing Through Narcissism

When I was so new in the ballroom business that I wasn't yet really in the business, I worked in a studio with a young woman who spent most of her free time dancing with herself in the mirror.  She had a regular dance partner, but anytime I saw her alone, she was in front of the mirror, dancing with and gazing intently at...herself.  She looked completely isolated from the rest of the room and the people in it.  I didn't have the understanding that would have come from a lifelong dance background, and I jumped to the conclusion that she was excessively vain and thoroughly unapproachable, and I felt a little put off by her.

I couldn't have been more wrong, and boy, am I glad to have the excuse of youth to pin it on!  Over time, circumstances threw us together, and as I got to know her and her husband, I came to realize that they were the warmest, least vain people you could know - in day-to-day life.  On the dance floor was another matter. 

They had come from a background of dance training that made it unadvisable for you to be the weak link in your partnership of two - no pressure, right?  As a result, any time you had available outside of rehearsing with your partner was spent rehearsing and improving yourself.  In their world, ten minutes between appointments was not to be wasted on a break, but was better spent improving your line in a crossover break, finding the best hand position, and repeating it over and over until it was ingrained.  Hence the mirror - how else are you supposed to check on your line when you're the only one watching?

What I misinterpreted as unapproachableness was, in the studio, a laser-beam-like focus.  On the competitive dance floor, it was the confidence to win, which might have smacked of arrogance if they hadn't been genuine and well-mannered both on the floor and off.  She always tried to help me find and display that level of confidence for myself, regardless of my level of dance proficiency, but it never worked.  Maybe the ripe old age of 21 was too late - they had been developing it since they were in the single digits.

Although I wasn't ever going to possess the dance floor in the way that they did, I still applied a lot of their lessons.  I certainly learned to appreciate the mirror as a tool to improve my dance performance.  I also think I became a better human just by knowing them.  At the very least, I learned to use more discernment before making judgments.