I thought I knew everything there was to know about winning.
As a child I was always the “achiever”, winning art competitions, succeeding in all areas I applied my little self to and bringing home school reports that resembled Alcoholics Anonymous flyers….yes I was your typical “straight A” overachiever.
I started ballroom dancing when I was 11 and from the moment my feet hit that sprung floor and I buckled my first (very own!) pair of silver t-bar heels onto pudgy feet I just knew this would be my passion!
Each and every dance style moved me in a way I couldn’t describe…the old time music felt so familiar, and made me feel like I was a silver screen starlet who’d found herself somehow thrust 40 years into the future.
With Australian and English blood running under my pasty white skin, I shouldn’t have felt so connected to the Cuban beats my dance teacher blasted each time a Cha Cha or Rumba needed to be practiced but to me it felt like home.
I desperately wanted to be out on the floor, competing in the amateur division!
Sequins and feathers
Glitter and makeup
Heels and fake tan
I tried so many times but for some reason I couldn’t stick at it long enough to make it work.
I so wanted to win but I hated to lose even more.
So instead of dancing
Instead of losing
Instead of winning…
Ran from the anxiety, ran from the fear. Ran from the chance of failure and the possibility of feeling inadequate
The overwhelming panic of being judged and ridiculed.
Of not being perfect
Of not getting it right
Of not doing better than the others (that couldn’t possibly be allowed to happen!)
Of not being good enough
Fast forward 30 years….
I am sitting here with makeup and tan on, dresses packed and heels at the ready.
It’s been 5 years since I took up competitive dancing again at the sensible, reckless and determined age of 35.
5 years since I made the commitment to my dance partner that we’d be a team and ride the wave together.
5 years of sometimes losing
5 years of sometimes winning
5 years of choosing not to run each and every time the fear, anxiety and self doubt arose.
I have learnt to enjoy coming last
It means I have more work to do and something more to achieve.
It does not mean I’ve failed
I stopped losing and started winning the moment I decided to stop running
So today I will just do my best. I hope to do well and it would be lovely if I win…
But if not?
That’s okay too because I’ve truly already won