Today I got a dejected text from Ballet Boy.
He was burnout. This due to the fact that he’d been dancing three times longer than his roommate who danced three times better than him.
I didn’t immediately point out that he wasn’t experiencing burnout, he was experiencing competition for the first time ever. I thought this might be an issue when I dropped him off, so I warned him to focus on his own goals and where he wanted to go and NOT on the others around him.
But he has experienced what most boys in ballet have; he’s been the ONLY boy for a long time that was at his level in a small town and a small program. He’s been thrown in with older kids and felt challenged, but pretty good at where he was. Last year he was the ONLY boy under 17 at the dance intensive. At 12 he was the youngest.
He is still young. He’s a year younger than his roommate, who is athletic and been doing national competitions in spite of only starting ballet two years ago.
I want to tell him when I talk to him, “Hold onto your dreams. They are yours. Don’t give up yet. You will all be in the same boat in a few years when you’re taking major company auditions. He’s going the fast track and has been pushed hard. He is the one who may burn out down the road. Work your bottom off and you will be rewarded. You will find your special ‘thing’ that makes you stick out, be it your musicality or your flair or your incredible sense of humor that lets you be Beyonce one day, the Black Swan the next and a macho Spanish man right afterwards.”
But sadly I know where he’s coming from. I went to music camps being the “best” in my city. It’s like going to Harvard and all of a sudden realizing, “Hey, there are a lot of smart beans just like me out there!” Some people can’t handle that. I have a friend who dropped out of Yale and started a comic book store for a few years.
But my kid has it. The love, the dedication. He’ll find it, and thank goodness he is figuring out how to handle competition (please realize he likes and respects his roommate; every time I call they are spazzing out like two normal 13 yr-olds, tearing around the 2nd floor of their dorm.)
I had a revelation huffing and puffing up the last .5 of a 5k I was running with my running buddy, who I will officially call Candy Ass as she kicks my ass. I was in some pain, probably due to not taking a day off. I’d stupidly set a pacer option that I had noticed on Runkeeper. I set it at a pace that was not really reasonable; faster than the last race I’d done. Every 5 minutes the Runkeeper gal kept telling me that I was farther and farther from my pace goal. Hmmm….great!
I need to distance myself from my gadgets a little and just listen to and accept where my body is. I wasn’t being competitive with Candy Ass and she was being greatly supportive. I’m competitive with where I was before my ankle just quit on me. I’m beyond trying to feel patient, so I need to work on some positive imagery.
Runkeeper isn’t going to help that. I need to keep using to track my workouts, but I don’t need have the voice on. It’s kind of similar to why I only weigh in once a week; I don’t need to feel every obstacle on this journey. I just need to applaud myself for getting out there. This is between me and my body, now, here in the moment. I will keep dreaming about where I want to be, and keep rejoicing that I’m out there running!
By the way, speaking of the joy of running, PLEASE check out these amazing guys with Miles 2 Give who are raising money for sarcoma research by running across America. They are almost done, but they may be coming near you! Go out and run with them. I donated $20 even though I have limited resources because that is what my took my dad’s life way too early, when he was 46. The other day they ran 100 miles in one day! Unbelievable. Please take time to read…