i’ve been thinking lots recently about success, and about success within this funny old world of blogging. since i began writing cider with rosie two and a half months ago, i’ve felt more fulfilled and successful than i ever have before. ever since i was tiny i’ve always compared myself to my peers and based my feelings of successfulness upon how i matched up to others. i thought that this would be my biggest flaw as a blogger, that i would become discouraged by seeing the countless other blogs with greater followings, sleeker designs, more beautiful photos or more eloquent writing than mine. but i’ve surprised myself, and continue to surprise myself each day with how content i feel with my blog, how much each new follower, and every single pageview it receives feels like a wonderful little success.
i can’t tell you how incredible this feeling is, after having spent ten years working so hard to succeed within the dance world where success is so intangible and difficult to come by. unlike other sports where athletes can compete for specific goals like medals, personal bests, world records and for a place in the world rankings, a dancer is constantly made aware that their absolute best is only half what another can do. there are no specific markers for a dancer to achieve, and so all we can do is to judge our success by comparing ourselves and our dancing to others. as a dancer i couldn’t ever shake feelings of total inadequacy- i felt too slow, too heavy, too weak, too fat. spending hours each day wearing skin tight clothing staring into a mirror and attempting to achieve physical ‘perfection’ was, for me, soul destroying.
when i gained a place at one of the top professional dance schools in the country at 18, it was without a doubt the most elated i’ve ever felt. i finally felt like i’d achieved what i’d been working for so many years for, and actually had a marker that i was ‘good enough’- a ‘good dancer’. but when i began to train at the school i was overwhelmed by the feeling that i was beginning again at the bottom of the pile, that after so many years of training to reach that level i then had to start all over again. it was exhausting and confusing and the most difficult decision i’ve ever made, but i decided to leave the school after my first term of training.
jason and i had got together only a couple of weeks before i moved to london to start professional dance, and for a couple of years after i left the school i felt worried that perhaps the real reason i’d given up dancing was because i’d sold out- moved back home to where my boyfriend was because it was easier and happier. i knew there was a link in my mind between jason and giving up dancing, but it’s only in the past couple of months that i’ve realised what that link was. jason made me feel totally and utterly loved and content, and his love wasn’t about how many pirouettes i could do, how high my leg extended in an arabesque, or whether i got the solo spot in company dance numbers. he loved, and still loves me in a way that allowed me to stop fighting so hard to feel adequate and to stop trying to prove my worth through dance. and i won’t ever be able to thank him enough for that.
i’ve only danced a couple of times since i stopped training full time, and each time those feelings of inadequacy came rushing back and it’s made me feel so justified in the decision i made. writing cider with rosie is just wonderful because it provides the scope for individuality that dancing (especially ballet) doesn’t allow for. i never expected, when i began reading blogs a couple of years ago, that writing my own one day that would give me this incredible feeling of contentment and fulfilment, but i’m just so, so happy it has ♥