Friday, November 18, 2011

What it is.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Ninety-five percent of it is in regards to this weird bruise I've had on my leg for the last month that won't stop hurting. That's unusual, right? Having the same bruise for a month? I don't even remember hitting myself or running into anything. Granted, I run into things all the time (dancers are clumsy), but I think I'd remember injuring myself to this extent. Wherefore art thou, bruise? A bruise by any other name would still smell as sweet... Ack. There goes my train of thought again.

Anyhoo, the other five percent of my brain that isn't currently obsessing over weird bruises is thinking about what it means to love something. I hear about people loving things a lot in my line of work. I can't tell you how many of my students have boldly and passionately declared their love of dance. They love it so much they can barely express it. They'll never love anything else as much. All they want to do, or think about doing, is dance.

The first time I heard the spiel, I got really excited. I expected great things from these students who so passionately expressed their love of dance. I expected them to have perfect attendance. I expected them to apply critiques and grow quickly. I expected them to stand first in line, to show up on time and to perform with emotion.

But, often I was disappointed. Not always, but a lot of the time. They were late to class, or didn't show up at all. They were more interested in gossip than learning new choreography. Sometimes they quit. And, I blamed myself. They loved dance so much, but I didn't make it exciting enough for them. I didn't encourage them, or give them enough attention or feedback. Clearly, it was my fault. I destroyed their love.

Except, there were other students. Students who showed up on time, who worked hard, who didn't quit, who were willing to try something over and over again until they got it right. They didn't talk a lot, but they paid close attention to everything I said. When the studios were empty, they snuck in and started practicing on their own. Year after year, they continued to show up, even when they had other, more exciting things they could have been doing.

And I realized. Love isn't words. Love isn't emotions, or passion, or excitement, or grand proclamation. Yes, sometimes it starts there, but in the end it is something much less romantic. Much less glamorous.

Love is work.

Love is showing up, even when it's hard. It's perseverance. It's working when you're exhausted and forcing yourself to give it just one more try. And one more try after that. It exists in the absence of glory, the absence of fireworks. The absence of praise. It's a series of actions, not an emotion. It's a choice.

You can be entranced by the idea of dance, but that isn't love. The idea of writing can capture your imagination, but that isn't love. Love is the toil and the grind. The steps that get us closer to our goal. It's sitting down in your chair and opening a word document. It's the most boring, common, beautiful, rare thing I've ever seen.

So, yeah. Sorry for the cheesiness, but it's what I needed to write today. Keep being awesome.


  1. Your post just took my breath away. Amazing.

  2. This is so true. Wonderful post.

  3. Excellent reminder, Sarah! I remember my daughters' voice lesson teacher making a similar point. You CAN go far with passion, hard work, and dedication. It's what makes the diff!

  4. Fantastic post, and you're absolutely right. It's very easy to love the idea of something, provided that you don't have to make the sacrifices.

  5. Sarah, this is fabulous. Love definitely is an action, less a description. If you really love something, it shows in everything you do. Saying it isn't enough. This wasn't cheesy at all! I'm so glad I read it :)

  6. There is a world of difference between being infatuated and truly in love. Those students who giggled and chatted and showed up late might have been infatuated with dance, but they weren't truly in love. Great post. And I would never have thought that dancers were clumsy. I always thought you were graceful and elegant, with poise and precision of movement. Given that I move with the grace and precision of an elephant on ice, perhaps this is just my perception? :)

  7. So very true and so well said. Fantastic post.

    I really hope you'll (1) keep sharing these dance-meets-writing insights (2) figure out your mystery bruise (3) accept the Liebster blog award from me here. :-D