Something like two years ago, God laid relationships on my heart, and showed me how important they are, both to Him and to us. During that time I formed the strong opinion that relationships are one of the most important and worthwhile pursuits that a person can have this side of heaven. Everyone needs someone. So be the someone that someone else needs.
Relationships have been a strong passion of mine since that time. They are often fraught with sadness, confusion, stress, and even anger sometimes, it’s true. Loving deeply opens the door to being deeply hurt, I’ve been there. But, I am a firm believer that loving is ALWAYS worth it in the end. However, love isn’t always hugs, kisses, and butterflies. Sometimes it’s saying no. Sometimes it’s saying hard things. Sometimes it’s walking away. But it is STILL worth it.
When I first started dancing it was just about the dance. Just about me. But as time went on it became a little more about the people I was meeting and forming friendships with. A little more time and it grew into a very close knit family who only see the best in each other and constantly push each other to be better versions of themselves.
My dance continued, and continues, to grow and expand and here, 3 years in, I’m a successful advanced competitor, in a power position. And I’m not saying that out of pride. It’s a fact I get reminded of sometimes, by both those who are watching and those I personally watch. People are watching. Looking up to me. Some may be waiting on me to come out as a teacher. I don’t know any of that for certain (other than being approached about teaching/lessons, and asked questions about my personal style, where I got it from/how I developed it), but I can remember back when I knew little in this dance, wanting to know how she could spin like that, or how to follow that fancy move he just led.
I have to admit, knowing those things, sometimes all I feel is pressure. I can’t do that! I’m not good enough. I don’t know enough. I don’t have any teaching experience. I’m not confident in my teaching ability or knowledge. I won’t be worth their money or their time, etc.
I am not enough.
But no amount of telling me “you’re the whole package” will make me believe otherwise about myself. That’s an issue that goes deeper than simply not believing what others say about me, and what they believe I can accomplish. It’s an issue that only I can address, between myself and my Heavenly Father.
But, a quick change in perspective turns my position into many beautiful opportunities for building relationships and speaking into people, rather than shoes that I feel inadequate to fill. Relationships are my thing. My niche. I adore them and the power they have. Am I always good at them? Of course not! I’m not very good at cheerleading. I’m much better at listening and offering my experiences and my heart as a way of showing someone that I understand what they’re going through, and that I will be there for them through it.
Yes, I realize this post is supposed to be about Swingapalooza. I’m getting there.
The reason I started off with relationships was because that’s what I walked away from this year’s Swinga with. Saying Swingapalooza 2017 was a roller coaster of emotion would be an understatement. I got a few good shocks, many good laughs, and a couple good cries. Friendships were deepened. Trust was built. It was precious time to me.
As for how Swinga went competition wise, it went great!!! Of course I won’t be able to remember all the NOLA/BR placements because, well.. you know. Everyone put their best on the floor, as they always do. Sometimes your best isn’t recognized, and thats sad, but its the name of the game. There were a couple of awards given that had me wondering “what on earth were you looking at?” but it’s cool. There’s always another competition weekend!
It was my besties first time out as an advanced follow and she landed 4th place! Also 3rd in Advanced strictly with Henry, one of our NOLA leads. I am super proud of her! I love that we get to dance in the same division again, but also sad because we don’t get to watch each other anymore, haha. I was right behind her in 5th place in jack and jills. We done good.
My teachers, Byron and Valerie, put their rising star routine on the floor competitively for the first time, and won 1st place. I know that felt sooo good. All the hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears rewarded. They were up against some really great stuff too. I was sooo happy for them, and proud to be their student! I love when people ask me, “hey, you’re one of Byron’s girls, right?”
Yes. Yes, I am.
Here’s a little blurb about last years Swinga:
Swingapalooza 2016 in the books. My 3rd year attending the event. Which means it’s a sort of 2 year danciversary. Which is really cool.
This whole post may sound a little monotone, as shown by the first 4 sentences, but I’m still a bit swungover, so just bear with me!
Overall, the event went really well. Like always, New Orleans brought their best. One of our novice follows won her way into intermediate division, and everyone is so excited for her! She’s worked so hard, and couldn’t wait to earn her way out. One of our intermediate follows walked away with many accomplishments. Only 12 years old and a total rockstar. An inspiration to everyone who meets her. A shining light that I hope never, ever dims.
Andy and I took 1st place in intermediate strictly. We were really happy about that. We accomplished what we set out to accomplish when we first stepped onto the floor as strictly partners. I couldn’t be more proud of us.