Monday, May 27, 2013

Adventures in being my own Feis Mom, Part 2

Day 2

Because of the super long nap I took after the feis on Saturday, I couldn't sleep so I was up til about 2, and had to be up for 6:30. 6:30 ended up being 6:50, but because all my stuff was still packed from the day before, I was able to get out the door, and to the venue for 7:30. What can I say, there was no traffic on route 90. I got to the venue, parked, grabbed my stuff and went to find the Reg table. I guess I must have looked exhausted, cause the lady at the table checking me in, asked if I had been out late the night before. I just explained I was still beat from the feis the day before, and she nodded - I am still not sure if she thought I was picking up the card for my kid or myself, but I guess she figured it out, cause then she asked if I danced in the Adults catagory. Nope, &Overs, I say. I won't say her face got sour, but it certainly looked the smallest bit taken aback. I have to keep up with the kids, I am one of the brave ones, haha. She doesn't look convinced, so I take my dancer's card and walk away. Which brings me to "Being your own Feis Mom tip 4";  Don't assume everyone is being critical of you, but don't be surprised that it happens.

Dancing in the Adult category, you are just kind of viewed as a pet anomaly by large parts of the ID society. Like, 'aww, you want to take up dancing so you can hang out with your kid.' No one expects much, and because it is it's own under-represented category, most just tend to ignore them. But an adult dancing with the kids always shakes people up. A lot won't like it. I've yet to face head on hostility about it, but I know the day will come. Until then, I am just going to smile and nod when the check in lady is at a loss for words that I would dare to compete with the 13 year olds.

Any rate, I find a seat - which wasn't hard at all as there was stadium seating - and once again, I go about setting up my lonely camp spot. I will admit, it's tough not having ANYONE to hang out with at a feis. No parents or friends to help you get ready, or take your mind of nerves. I mean, I see all the kids from my class running around, all excited cause this is their first or second feis and their parents are trying to wrangle them where they need to go. But my wig makes me look really different, so most of the little ones looked right at me and never realized that I go to class with them. Besides, they've got parents, siblings and grandparents to keep them company - they don't want to hang out with the creepy grown up that is in their class. But I am digressing.

I wig up and slather on some makeup whilst the are having Mass. It's been years since I've been to a Catholic mass, so I have to admit, I was curious. I just sat quietly in my seat while the rest of the freaking arena participated, and once again I felt very much like the odd man out - a would-be Russian Orthodox convert sitting in a crowd of Catholics, a 26 year old woman dancing with 13 year olds. Just can't catch a break for fitting in, but then, trying to fit in would mean compromising what I WANT to be, and that shit's only for self-conscious teenagers.

Anyhoo, get wig on, realize I have little time till dancing starts, and I am up right away, and I also realize that I am STARVING. Run to the concession stand, buy a hot dog, get hit on by the guys working the concession stand, scarf down the hot dog, and then run to my stage and wait for the dancing to start. While finishing getting my shoes on and what not, I hear a mother bollicking her child for forgetting bobby pins - actually, that makes it sound too tough. I hear a mother telling her child that "No, WE didn't forget bobby pins, YOU forgot bobby pins. You have to learn to take consequences when you forget your responsibilities." Had to make me laugh a bit. Teenagers. I offer them my tray of bobby pins, but the mother kindly refuses. She said that no, her daughters will have to find some/borrow some from their friends - they have to learn to deal with problems without some one always taking care of stuff for them. I was amused. Good parenting in action, and also, a brief light into the fact that not all Feis Mom's act as a pack-mule Jeeves to their dancing Woosters and will take care of everything for their teenaged dancers.

This feis, very unkindly in my opinion, decided to smash all my dances right in a row, back to back of each other. The good side is that you get done quickly. The down side is that you have no time to change gears and maybe go over the step once in you head before you go up. But, like I said in the last post, either you know it or you don't. Dances went Reel, Light Jig, Slip and treble Jig (which I sat out again) and then hornpipe. I don't know why, but I never pay much attention to how I do my reel, so I can't say if I was pleased with how I danced or not, but I did the step, no mistakes, so I have that. Light jig, I was trying harder, had big plans, but then the girl that I was sharing the stage with would not GET OUT OF MY WAY. I couldn't go behind her because when I tried shifting behind her on my side-step, she would drift backwards. When I tried going in front of her, she drifted forward. I don't think she was doing it deliberately, but damn! I am not unaccustomed to having to dance around other people, I do have small children that often times get in my way in class, but this girl was like a boulder that I couldn't get around.

Anyway, un-checked in with the stage monitor, telling her I wasn't planning on dancing the next two. Ran up, took my time changing shoes, slugged back some water and went back to wait for hornpipe, while everyone else was finishing up the Treble Jig. I had a very nice feis volunteer tell me that if I wanted to, they would totally still let me go up for Treble Jig. That was mad nice of him, but I wanted to focus on what I knew, not stress myself about a step I only half have. So, we all line up for hornpipe, I am in the last set of 2 dancers and I am feeling MAD confident. I start on time, I start strong. My bangs are loud, I am in time to the music and I have the judge's attention (Incidentally, it was the same judge who placed my hornpipe second the day before) First step right foot - perfect. Left foot - loud and clear. Second step right foot, sounds great! Second step left foot . . . . wait . . . where did it go? No literally - I had it a second ago. Don't know why, don't know how, but suddenly I was doing part of my first step from my old school. A step I never fully got good at and that I haven't danced in almost 2 years now. Knowing that I had to get back into my step but not sure how exactly to transition, I almost stalled out. I was just running out of ideas when we hit the part of the music that I knew meant leap 2-3's in my actual step, so I finished the dance right. Not well, cause the entire time I was mentally freaking out and trying to remember if that WAS the right ending. But it ended I bowed and voila, dancing day 2 is done. Go back to my space, shimmy out of dress and back into warm-ups. Swing by results, nothing is up yet. Buy ANOTHER overpriced tee-shirt and spend a while looking at the jewelry. Back to the results board, which now has my dance's up.

Nothing on light jig or hornpipe - no surprises there. But another second for my Reel! Very pleased with that actually. If I am being honest with myself - I kind of phoned this feis in. I am still getting my feet wet again with this competition thing. Somedays I am great at my dances, other days, I forget them. I drill as much as I can over the week, but that often isn't much. The fact that I placed at all in any of my dances thrilled me. It means, I CAN hold my own against the kids. It encouraged me to put more energy and work into practicing - if I can get results with little effort, what results would I get if I tried harder. I could try and be dissappointed that I didn't get any firsts, or didn't place in all my dances. But that would be selfish and unrealistic of me. I still placed. It was still MY number written up on that board. It was still my old self beating out 7 other girls, all younger and more fit then me. In general - it has been the confidence boost I have been looking for.

It was also kind of sad that I had no one there with me to share the excitement. I don't mean to keep whinging on about it - but being alone at a feis sucks in alot of ways. But knowing that I had a boyfriend waiting at home who would be more then excited for my small victory, I decided to leave, even though the day had barely started. Because:

No kids or sibling to wait for. There are up sides to the lonely aspect of feising alone. I was home by 11am, out to lunch with friends by 1pm and home napping by 3, while the feis didn't even end until 5. And let me tell you I was never more happy to wash my hair. Because just remember, that after 2 feiseanna, this . . .

Is just a clever disguise for THIS . . ..

So that was my double header feis weekend of doom, in a very long, multi-post nutshell. Results were as follows:

Day one: 2nd in Reel and Hornpipe, 5th in Light Jig
Day two: 2nd in Reel

Judges comments from day one were all "heels in" and "on toes more", so y'know, stuff I already knew but never really work on. Must do better with that. My school is heading into summer break, so while I might not be able to practice my steps fully, I CAN and WILL work on my turn out and dancing on my toes.

Happy Memorial Day all, I am going to go finish recovering.


  1. Yay! Congrats on the great results! It does suck to be alone at a feis (although I do take a bit of satisfaction in being my own feis mom, entirely self-sufficient). My first few feises were very much like your stories here--nobody in my school knew who I was or that I even belonged with them, it seemed. But as I've competed more, both the kids and the parents have gotten used to me being there and are really supportive. Keep at it!

  2. I was searching around...I'm 30 and just now considering taking beginner classes. You're very inspiring; I don't know if I'll be any good, but want to learn and have fun doing it. Thanks for posting this, and giving people like me hope. :)