I am struggling to enjoy dancing right now. In the last two weeks, I have actually avoided dancing, which I have absolutely never done before. In fact, dancing is usually what I turn to when I need to pick my spirits up – it has never dragged my spirits down before.
I understand that many dancers go through periods where dancing is significantly less enjoyable than it has been in the past. What is troublesome is how sudden the transition was. It’s not like I lost interest over the course of six months or a year. At ILHC in August, I was so excited and pumped about dancing that I could barely wait for the next thing; but by Jubilee Jazz Revival, approximately three weeks later, I was so depressed about dancing that I could barely convince myself to even attend the Sunday afternoon dance.
A few people have asked what’s wrong, but I have stoutly avoided addressing my sudden change of attitude. Part of this is that I vehemently want to avoid certain conversations with overly-enthused dancers who can’t see the other side (often beginners and intermediates):
- The Person who Associates Skill with Happiness: “But you’re so good! How could you not like it?” (Well, first off, I’m not that good; second off, my ability to swing out has little to do with my enjoyment of the action.)
- The Perky “I’ll Always Love Dancing” Dancer: “How could you not like dancing? It’s so fun and enjoyable and amazing! I will never stop liking dancing.” (Yeah, good luck with that. In fact, that was me about a month ago. What I’ve realized is that for some people, dance is not their thing; and while it is my thing as far as I can tell, that doesn’t mean I love it right now.)
- The Person Who Places Blame Elsewhere: “It’s probably just that you’re stressed with work / life / whatever. Just get out there and dance – you’ll feel so much better!” (Actually, this is relatively valid, with some recent non-dance-related events. Regardless, I think the issue is a bit more deeply rooted.)
And more importantly, I want to avoid telling all my friends and peers in the dance world, because I’m afraid they won’t understand. Or, they will understand, but they’ll write it off as a non-issue. Or even, I’m afraid of being judged – of being seen as unhappy with dancing for the wrong reasons, if that’s even possible.
I didn’t say my fears were logical – but logic does not change how I feel.
And if I’m honest to my fears, I also don’t want to talk about this because I don’t really understand where my change in attitude is coming from. Dancing has always cheered me up, even in the worst attitudes…so what do I do when dancing is what’s getting me down? The unsettling lack of understanding is causing even further distress, and thus I’ve avoided thinking about it as long as I could.
But I think this all needs to change. I need to analyze what about dancing is causing distress. I know that this depression will not end in me forgoing dancing – I love the community and the activity itself far too much. However, I want to know the source of my frustration so that I can properly nip it in the bud and enjoy swinging out again. Like, now – because honestly, it’s AVS, and there are too many awesome people here to not enjoy dancing.