listen along while your read 🙂
I danced Zumba today. I was filled with energy and excitement for life that has not been with me for weeks. It lifted my low spirits. Today I paid attention to Rita, a regular in the class. Rita stands out in her dancing. She is smiling. She breathes life into all the moves. She makes them her own. She is not painfully watching the teacher to make sure she is doing it right. She is doing it. She is shaking it. She did not come to class to learn, she came to dance.
I decided to do the same.
I get into the learning that I lose the goal of learning. Am I dancing to learn to dance or am I dancing to dance. Am I writing to learn to write or am I writing to write. Most new things I pick up, I feel that I have to learn and get better and better. When I do not feel that I am getting better, I get discouraged. I am waiting for that moment that I become “good.” After being told that I am good, I start to wonder if I am “good enough.” (Thank you Christine, for tying it all together for me, I had a feeling our conversation would make it in today.)
My sister (whose Birthday is today!) sent me the article recently about the Tiger Mom. In the article, she talks about discipline for Chinese children. She talks about them practicing piano or violin for three hours a day. The theory is that you cannot enjoy something unless you are good. It made sense but I could not stop thinking about it. Usually when I cannot stop thinking about something, it is a sign that there is something that I still have to figure out.
What is good? Is good playing a tune in C with both hands coordinated or is it playing Rachmaninov? In my jewelry terms, is good having creative designs or is it setting diamonds in a complex setting? Is it making a living or is it making millions?
The idea of getting good is complicated. I understand what the tiger mom means. You have to practice to become good at anything but do you have to do it with your blood and your tears? Is that the only way to get “good.”
I do not need to become a good dancer, getting my body to move like my teachers. I can have fun shaking my body until I sweat. If I had fun, it was good. The idea of first being good and then having fun, just does not sit right with me. Am I good writer? I do not know. I know that I am having fun writing. Does that mean I am good? You see, it can be a loop.
I read a book on parenting, Nurture Shock. It talked about complimenting your children on the effort they are putting forth instead of saying they are good or bad. Saying they are good at something can be paralyzing. Children become addicted to that. They do not want to take new risks because of the fear of not being good. They would rather just do that thing that gets them the “good.”
That is what I feel. I have become specialized or good at one or two things. New things are scary because there is a learning curve and fear that on the other side of the curve, I will not be good, just mediocre. I see how the Tiger mom makes her children break through that new and bad barrier by making them put time until they are confident in it. I think the word good should be replaced with confident.
I am just writing this because I do not think I am a good dancer and I do not think I am a good writer. I am happy that I am putting in effort. I do feel more confident the more I dance and write.