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Sunday 26 June 2016

Confidence Trick

I'm not shy. Nevertheless, throw me into a crowded room alone, or ask me to give a speech in front of a hundred people and, guaranteed, my cheeks will turn red quicker than you can ask 'what's wrong with your face?'

The same thing can happen at my Lindyhop classes once the taught class has finished and the floor is opened up to social dancing. Faced with the prospect of having to follow my leader instead of a routine, it's pot luck if I manage to relax enough to make that connection, to feel the subtle pressure from the leader that signals to a follower how to respond. 

I may not necessarily become tomato-cheeked, as my nervousness is more likely to manifest itself as a tangle of arms or an awkward twist of fingers (though hopefully not as an elbow to the face). And to be fair, that's not always to blame. Sometimes my frame needs work, the lead is too weak so the connection isn't there, or one or both of us are just so knackered we can hardly keep our feet moving to the rhythm.

But it does bother me. I want to be a good follower. I want to be a follower that leaders want to dance with. And to do that, I need to have confidence, I need to relax, and my dancing will be the better for it.

Unlike in the class earlier this week, where the combination of a poor previous nights sleep and lack of fitness due to a maternity-related years break from proper exercise, led to a serious disconnection of brain to feet. Such was the resulting whirlwind of anxiety that I managed to inhale a portion of my water and spit it out, rainstormesque, all over myself in front of my classmates. Smooooth.

As much as my 'condition' causes me embarrassment every now and then, I do consider how this might be affecting Little O, and how it might affect Baby R as he grows older. Little O isn't shy either but he can be cautious, which I know isn't necessarily a bad thing. He weighs up situations before jumping in and it takes him time to get used to new people. The right support will help him develop into a confident individual, neither too shy nor too arrogant. His current opener is 'hey, what you doin'?' which isn't a bad start so maybe I could learn a thing or two?

Confidence at a young age must be fostered, reinforced and encouraged. In fact - who am I kidding? Confidence at any age must be fostered, reinforced and encouraged. So, I guess that leaves only one thing for me to say.

Hey. What you doin'?

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