Commentary

Why not me?

11:41:00 AM

'Tis the season for auditions!

Auditions are wonderful experiences. They are great opportunities to practice performing at your best in high-pressure environments, and acceptance can mean a huge opportunities.

Unfortunately, while we all desperately wish to be accepted into everything we audition for, turndowns are inevitable. Ballet is an art (yes, ballet is extremely athletic, but an art nonetheless) and art speaks to people in different ways; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, rejection or acceptance is never a solid definition of anyone as a dancer; rather, it is a dancer’s resilience that will build he/she into a stronger dancer and person.

With that said, here are the lessons I've learned from first-hand experience regarding rejections:

RISING FROM MISERY: ACCEPTING WHO YOU ARE

You’ll most likely feel like absolute crap after being rejected. Keep in mind that being upset is completely normal; it’s perfectly okay to not be okay sometimes. Everyone, no matter how emotionally tough, needs some time to let out their negative emotions in a healthy way.

The catch with melting down is that at first, crying is a healthy release of emotions, but after a while, you sink into self-pity. That becomes dangerous; you cry for the sake of crying and want to stay crying, denying that you will either have to eventually go back to ballet or give up entirely.
And I say: if you truly love ballet…
GET UP.

I remember the extreme difficulty I had dealing with my first rejection to a program that meant quite a bit to me a couple years ago. Rejection tricked me into thinking that I was worthless--it raised these endless questions and doubts on my own value, which I now consider ridiculous. I kept thinking, "If I can't get into this program, how am I going to get into anything else?" 
"If I thought I could get into the program and someone else didn't, is there something seriously wrong with me that everyone sees and I don't?" That was a scary thought, one that prompted another honest assessment of myself as a dancer--something that I was afraid to make. So afraid, that I cried at the thought of going to ballet. 😂

Fortunately, I was forced to go to ballet. I managed to pull myself together before class and surprisingly, after a few quiet sniffles, I was fine.

While I was not content with what I saw in the mirror (and I will never be content), I wasn’t as bad as the horrendous image I had imagined myself to be. I realized that I had many imperfections, more than I previously thought I had, but they didn’t make me worthless. Just because I was rejected didn't mean that my good attributes didn't count for anything. What I saw in the mirror was not a reality to be ashamed of, but a work in progress. The rejection was no longer a reason to doubt my own worth, but a reason to work twice as hard and come back even stronger.

Accepting yourself is the key to resiliency. You are you-—you are not perfect and NO ONE else is either, but if you changed just one tiny attribute about yourself, you would not be you. So don’t wish to be another person or pray for a different reality because that’s not going to happen. You are the only person that you are guaranteed to be with for the rest of your life; so why not enjoy being with yourself-—being you?

Accepting yourself may be quite difficult, but the reward is amazing. You don’t have to be so upset when you don’t execute every movement perfectly; that would be expecting an unattainable perfection for anyone. 
When your expectations don’t coordinate with reality, you remain unhappy forever. 
Simply look at yourself, recognize that what you see may not be perfect, and know that that is okay.


REMEMBERING YOUR ROOTS

There’s a reason you dance. Remember: you fell in love with dancing itself, not anything else—
not even the happiness it gives you when someone approves of you as a dancer. While someone else’s approval may be pleasing, it should not be the reason you dance. You dance because YOU enjoy it. You’re dancing for yourself, not any director, company, school, or whatever. You put yourself out there for others to judge not so that you can be happy when they accept you, but so that you can be happy because them accepting you allows you to continue your passion and grow with it.

Someone else’s opinion of you may be a good gauge of where you are as a dancer, but really, that’s all it is. Not a definition of who you are, but a temporary opinion—because I promise, if you work hard and smart, everything can change for the better.

NEGATIVE EMOTIONS AND POSITIVE THINKING



Jealousy and bitterness are quite natural, especially if you dwell on who did(n’t) deserve their acceptance/rejection. You may work harder, smarter, whatever-—the circumstances may not be fair, but that’s the reality and you have to accept that eventually. So why not accept it with an open mind and heart rather than wasting time being caught up on the “unfairness” of it all?

I’ve found that being sincerely happy for others (whether they “deserve” their blessings or not) uplifts my own spirit and self-esteem. Don’t pretend to be happy for them, really be happy for them. Afterwards, you’ll be proud of yourself for being able to put aside your jealousy.


(caption says rest of romans 12:9)

As for positive thinking...

I didn’t believe in “everything happens for a reason” until I looked back one day and saw why everything played out the way it did. That rejection gave me more time to build myself as a ballerina. After working harder and smarter for a year, I auditioned again for the same program, and I was accepted.

If you ask me now, I am actually grateful for the rejection; the year in between was much needed, and attending the program a year later worked out perfectly, allowing me to maximize the program with the technique and mentality that I had gained during the gap year.

While in the present, the timing of events may seem like everything is spiraling out of control, everything works out in perfect timing as long as you accept the reality and make the best out of it. As a Christian, I personally believe that God’s timing is always perfect; so when life doesn’t go as planned, remember that God is the one in charge of your life and He’s got a more than perfect plan.

It’s certainly emotionally and mentally tolling if you’re not happy with where you are, but
the best part about ballet is the journey. Because what happens, in your pursuit of happiness, if you do reach that "happiness" and it's not what it seemed to be? Ballet is an endless road of exploring the beautiful art form, even when you’re a professional. If you enjoy the journey, even if you don’t make it to your ideal destination, you’ll be happy nonetheless, having enjoyed every step of the way. Be content with discontent.

So hang on, my beautiful ballerinas, and you’ll get there :)

2 comments

  1. aaa this is great, thanks so much for writing this!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it!

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