parasitegirl: (bellyhand)
[personal profile] parasitegirl
Behind the cut is an obligatory (but nice) little shot of me performing last night...and the story of what preceded and followed it. It might not be a long tale, but it was long in the making and, frankly, foreshadowed with giant blinky signs.

Here is the picture, Wataguy is pretty happy with his improvement in performance related photos in the last year. Thank you Wataguy. No thank you's to the frown queen on the left, but you can't win them all. I wasn't really in a win them all mood so it is no skin off my Fine American Ass.

So, what happened shortly after?


I was diplomatic as I could humanly be, but firm. I q-u-i-t.

Okay, that's the real big news, so if you're one of those people who reads the end of books because you just want to know what happens and don't really care about the artistry of the unfolding how and why, you can end here...

As you well know, I have had a rough year with my dance teacher of two years (an early dramatic low point  two-part entry can be found here  and here ) but much of this was balanced by the fact that she was giving me many incredible dance opportunities, including filling in for her for a month at the restaurant she dances in so I band-aided the class problems by taking extra classes with other teachers on the sly and beefing up my instructional DVD collection. Some thyings smoothed out after time, she became less zealous about spritual awakening, but somethings remained rather crippled. I tried to communicate with my teacher, and helped other students do the same, I kept wanting it to work.

A few months ago she asked me to take over organizing/coordinating the monthly dance events. She asked me because of my so-called organizational skills. I accepted because I thought that the events could be run with far less stress for everyone involved if I did it. I'm not a terribly organized person, but I can become organized if I know it will result in other people not being dicked around by shoddy structure or handling.

She asked me what I wanted in return and I told her the same thing I have been expressing for a while: more individual feedback, guidance, and challenge from her as a teacher...I settled for free classes.

Last month was the first event of my organizational rein. She wasn't actually at the event and it went very smoothly. So smooth that sometimes the bar owner and I would recline on the sofa and just sigh and proclaim how relaxed things were.

Last night was the first event with her in involved. Within 15 minutes she was getting stressed out because I was doing some things in a different manner than she had previously done and she was snapping at the cafe/bar owner and the waitress I love. And I though, hmmm...I might just quit tonight!

I'm not a high-stress  person. True, some of my drive comes from internal stress and challenge, but I am usually efficient when organizing things and know when and where to vent. But, my god, she just sets me on end.

Through out the night I made a point to sit with each of the dancers. I knew each was nervous for a variety of reasons and tried to help them relax and focus. I made sure to give them possitive  but specific feedback after they performed. I know I helped. I am always good with the Dj, he had his hug and notes and schedule (and thanks from the dancers) so we were cool. I made sure the door keeper who came despite a cold knew how thankful I was and I bade her to take care of her health the following day. I do these little things because they are kind and they help everyone feel better about the events and their own roles within them. But I also know that these are the details that my organizing things should have freed up my teacher to tend to.

There was another glitch at one point, and it's not worth getting into, but involved another stress and snap point in my teacher...and not just with me and not just in private. I also got one of my teacher's infamous weird complements that come-off as digs (I'm so glad you put the traditional bellydance song first, so that people know that you CAN dance bellydance*)...but these things don't surprise or hurt me anymore, they only make me sad.

And, again, I thought; That might just have been the last drop in the fuck-it bucket.

And it was. After everything was finished, and she  had apologized to someone she needed to make amends with after her snap we sat down. We both agreed that the girls did well and I told her how lucky she was to get some many girls without bad politic attitudes. And then I started to talk to her.

I took a deep breath and told her that she gets very sharp with her words as soon as she feels the least bit of stress and that I didn't know how to diffuse that to get her to a point where I could work with her instead of reacting to her. I explained that my  stress problem is not with organizing, but is with her stress levels and how she talks to people...this lead to a long discussion on everything including class dynamics.

She thinks sometimes I bring negative energy in the class, and I do have low points. I tried to gently explain what I feel is not there for me in classes: technical challenges, one-on-one feedback, and guidance in general. She thinks my expectations for her as a teacher are too high and that those expectations give me "negative energy in her class." She kept saying "Well, I'm not that kind of teacher. I can't do that." And when I asked for advice on what we should do she just kept saying "I can't say anything, it needs to be your choice." And I just kept replying, "I'm not asking you to tell me what do. I'm looking for options, suggestions, guidance...."

But I just got "I'm not that kind of teacher."

And I did want to snap, because a teacher unwilling to give options, adapt, guide, suggest, is not a teacher in my opinion...but I knew I just couldn't make her understand any part of how I feel about this and how it isn't just me but all the students and connections she has lost and will continue to lose...

I tried. I really did. And, hell, did she hammer away at the idea that I have this horrible negative energy because expect too much from people. I even had to stop her at times and say, "Yes, you've made your point and I am sorry for how my negative energy makes you feel...but if you keep hammering on this point I'm going to get defensive and say things that will hurt you. " and that sort of clear speaking takes a lot out of you.

So. I quit. I will finish organizing for the next event (because I am half-way through it already) and not be at the event.  I will not be replaced, because she has expressed the feeling that no one else could do what I have done, so it will just go back to being her job.

I will perform less often, but this doesn't mean I won't just won't be through her. I will take more classes with other teachers. I am free.

She feels good about how things went. She feels we are both being true to ourselves. But I also know she thinks this is all about me, and sees no pattern between her actions and behavior and those who have been trickling or running away for a while now. I am sad for her, but I am free.

The hardest part now is telling the DJ, the bar keeper, and my few remaining classmates.

Wataguy can attest to the fact that this whole night exhausted me to the point that I was vulnerable and weak...but that's not unlike me. I tend to martial my forces to reach a goal and spend all my energy if I know I will be able to curl up and collapse afterwards without any more tasks or responsibilities until I am strong again. And, as this is the start of Season Affective Disorder time for me, my mind and my chemicals overwhelmed me last night. Wataguy held me and gave me space and comfort to be a temporary mess.

*For purists who worry what sort of terrible non-bellydance song I may have put second it was Rachid Taha's Tekitoi...not hugely out of whack



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