Transparency Time

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's been a long time since my last post. Not because I've been busy (although I have!), but because I've been hiding out.

You see, I'm injured.


For the fourth time in three years.

It's not the injury that I'm hiding

Injuries happen to everybody, especially those of us who are active.

(As one of my mentors would say "it's transparency time.")

I've been hiding out because not being able to dance makes me feel like a fraud.

In the fall of 2008, I was just coming into my own:

  • I was performing a lot, and starting to get higher-profile gigs

  • My first crop of students were starting to blossom into advanced beginners, and having a great time

  • I was filming my first DVD

  • I was working with a business coach, and getting serious about my marketing

I was really proud of where I was, and excited about how much more I had to learn.

But the injuries stopped me in my tracks

Each year has been another cycle of healing, physical therapy, and getting back into training, only to get in a couple of performances before starting over again.

Now that's not all I've done. In the same time, I've:

  • taught over 100 students

  • released two instructional videos

  • designed an improvisation mentoring curriculum

  • studied article writing, web design, and copywriting

  • refined my understanding of performance and musicality through lots of watching and listening

  • run a profitable business every single year, despite my limitations

  • tripled the size of my mailing list (that's all you lovely people)

Now, I think that's pretty damn impressive.

But the problem is not what I think. It's what I believe.

When I feel broken, I don't believe that any of that matters, or that it wasn't just dumb luck.

Being injured undermines my faith in myself

It's hard to consider yourself a dancer when you can't dance. It's even harder to continue to put yourself out there as an expert when your body is broken, and won't let you follow your own advice.

We live in a culture that believes "those that can do, those that can't teach". And when a big part of your identity is being a dancer, when you "can't", it's devastating.

So Why Am I Telling You This?

For one thing, hiding out makes it worse. Nothing makes you feel like a fraud as much as pretending that everything is okay.

But more importantly, a very wise lady told me that sometimes your biggest hurt is your gift to the world. I didn't get what she meant until last week, when a dancer I admire shared her own "broken" story on a private forum. It was such a relief to not feel alone.

So Don't Be Alone

If you'd like to share, tell us your own story:

  • Do you feel "broken", whether physically or in some other way?

  • What undermines your faith in yourself?

  • And what do you do about it?

You're very welcome to post anonymously if that would be more comfortable.


Alison said...

Thanks for this post! Im feeling just as you describe. Health issues have given me a huge knock, as well as flagging student numbers and a fading well of inspiration.

As to what to do about it... Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Something has to change but at the moment I have no idea what.

Nadira said...

Thanks, Allison!

One thing that's been helping me was doing a session with a life coach. (A belly dancer, in fact.) She gave me some tools for identifying which of those beliefs are really what I believe vs. which are my inner critic, and for getting off the "hamster wheel" when I am entertaining them. It has been really helpful.

As for fading inspiration, Zahra Zuhair gave some great advice in her pre-conference interview at:

(I forget where in the program she said that, but the whole thing is worth listening to. I wanted to just give her a big hug by the end.)

Anonymous said...

Nadira, we live in a society that unjustly devalues teachers. Finland has got it right - there, teaching is the most highly esteemed profession. And you offer something that most teachers don't - you teach improvisation not just routines. Improvisation is the soul of bellydance. You are no fraud: if anything, you are truer than most.

As for me, I began learning bellydance at age 40 to help rehabilitate some severe childbirth injuries. I have other injuries too, and an inflammatory condition affecting my muscles and joints. More recently, I was afflicted with Guillain-Barré syndrome which left me profoundly weak for years. I got up again! Bellydance is good, as I can keep both feet on the ground if I need to and still dance. I have never been a performer or a teacher. The things that keep me going are love of bellydance, and knowing that it is helping my body to be flexible and strong, into my later years.

Design by: Searchopedia convertido para o Blogger por TNB