Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dance Class Update: In which the nine year old has finally made me cry. . .

How does one tell a parent that their child is a little shit-head?

How does one tell a parent that if said little shit-head is being this deliberatly snotty to you - an adult that she barely knows, chances are she is being as equally cruel to her peer-set?

At least, how do you express this without you traumatic experiences with bullying as a child turn you into a screaming neurotic mess?

I mean, I can see how this conversation goes;

me: so, you are nine-year-olds mom?
mom: *beams with pride at her baby* Yes, yes I am.
me: Oh, ok. Your kid is a shit-head.
mom: *gasps in shock* How dare you say that about my precious baby!
me: Well, she's been shitty to me for the past year and a half . . .
mom: she's NINE?!!? You're how old? Thirty? Get over it! She's just a kid . . .

So yeah - not really a conversation that I want to have.

In a futile effort to be fair to this kid, my confidence has already taken a beating from lots of other angles, so it's not like she had to be supremely shitty, to finally get me to crack.

I mean, I've been feeling in rough shape - at least when it comes to my confidence with dance - since my Feis at the beginning of February (that I still haven't blogged about, because my emotions about sway to violently still).  Long story short on the Feis front, it was hard. It was my first time dancing 3 of my dances in novice, and I felt thoroughly unprepaired in every aspect. I hadn't learned my novice steps yet, so I was still dancing my AB moves, wearing my Jumper-of-Frumper against a bunch of girls doing moves I last saw in a YouTube video of an OC Parade of Champions wearing $2000 dresses. I mean, whatever happened to not getting a solo dress until Prizewinner?

Anyway, I technically got three medals at that feis. I feel I can only be proud of one though. I actually got 4th out of 9 in my Novice Reel. That really shocked me. But the other one was a 3rd our of 3 on my Light Jig in Novice is really nothing to write home about, and the last one was a 3rd out of 4, on my AB Treble Jig. Again, don't get too excited. This isn't to sound intentionally cruel or critical of the other dancers, but beating one of them was not particularly hard to do. I could blame the  music - I had said I needed fast but they played slow - but really, I just didn't do well.

But what does this have to do with nine-year-old-shit-head? Well, other then the fact that she really managed to get under my skin at the feis too, and I spent the whole day in a funk after she talked to me ( Me: *sitting in my camp chair, in a corner, minding my own business, putting on my wig/make up  Shit-head: *walks past, sees me, double-takes, walks back, looks me over critcially* You're Meara, right?  Me: Yeah.  I guess the wig makes me look really different, huh?  Shit-head: Woah *sneer, walks away*)

So, lack-luster results, bitchy comments about how I look, another feis without a single soul talking to me (other then shit-head making fun of me), several missed dance classes, an extra five pounds I gained over the whole christmas/holidays/winter thing. . . and yeah, I will admit. I am kind of in a fragile state of mind.

But! I made it to class today. It's a struggle getting there alot of days. I work long weeks. It's a long, sometimes harrowing drive getting out there. I'd like to have some time occasionally just to sleep in and hang out with my fiance. But I went, and I was drilling, doing my steps, working hard. I rolled my left ankle pretty hard right at the begining of class -  second step of my hornpipe, I landed funny. But I was dancing through it. I was trying to baby it, but then incessant leap drills were getting the better of me, so I had to sit out a few bars.

Well, towards the middle-ish of class, TC sends one of the new-new little girls off with the class helper, making a teasing comment "So that way she can stop staring at me like 'I can't do that' every time I have them do the harder stuff." Then turning and smiling at me, she jokes "You know, like Meara does" I don't mind when my TC teases me. She knows I am working my butt off, knows what I can and can't do, etc. But, in the jovial spirit, I laugh, and feign offense. "That's not true!" I protest with much laughter.

But then this shitty little voice out of the back corner of the room, where she is showing off, rather then waiting her gaddam turn to dance says. "Oh, it's true. It's like, totally true. Meara can NEVER do the hard stuff." I turn and shoot her a dirty look, thinking maybe she will shut up, but she doesn't. She turns to one of her friends, and still lauging at my expense says "It's true, she really can't" And they giggle like it's the funniest thing in the world.

So there I stand, ankle still throbbing, exhausted, and giving my all . .. being laughed at.

I know what you are all going to say -God knows I heard it when I got home, still crying. "You are taking it too personally." "She's just a kid" "You are a grown woman with a job and car, who's getting married, you should be past crying when a kid is mean to you."

But here's the thing, hearing that malicious little laughter is like a proverbial Agent Orange flash back and suddenly I am nine years old again, being told I'm weird, being laughed at, being friendless and ignored. Yeah, I'm 27 years old now, but all that means is that my inner nine year old has had to put up with being picked on for 18 years.

I can try to talk myself up all I want. Use all the confidence boosting cliches. Remind myself that I am supposedly so above this. But in the end, it doesn't work. In the end, no matter how hard I work - and there are days where I literarlly feel like I am slowly killing myself doing this - but no matter how hard I work, there is still someone laughing at me.

That kind of thing sticks with you.

Then, to make matters worse, I was rushing out of class to my car, still favoring my left ankle, and I didn't see a pot-hole in the tarmac, stepped right in it, wrenched my right ankle and took a total prat fall in front of like five people.

This has just reaffirmed that I need to drop this class and start going to Monday nights. I don't think this kid goes to that class. I CAN'T keep dealing with her. Today, after leaving class, still crying, I was seriously considering quitting because of this kid. Now THAT would be stupid.

I think I am going to go buy a wedding veil now, to attempt to cheer myself up.

Goals for this week: Keep practicing Novice reel step that I started last class, get to Monday and Wednsday night classes, stop eating . . . 


  1. Dear Meara,

    I'm a teacher (school teacher) and an old school ID (read older than you...and yes I started at a very young age). You need to pull yourself up to your adult hight and pull a grown-up/teacher/parent voice on this little (you know what) and tell her very firmly that in no way can she talk to you like she has. Explain that while the dance teacher / a grown up can tease you does not make it appropriate for her to address you like that, no matter how talented she is as a dancer. If she keeps it up, ask her if she talks to her classroom teacher or principal or her parents like that. (assumming not). If for some inexplicable reason she says she does, tell her it's not okay with you. Explain if she has a problem with it or if it ever happens again, you will be having a word with her parents. Tell her parents that she has been extremely rude and disrespectful to you, that you have addressed it and that it continues. Don't elaborate - be straight forth and say it can't continue. Don't be apologetic.

    As for dancing don't let it put you off. I was studying for my TCRG at your age and gave it up because I thought I wasn't good enough...As for your ankle - you aren't 10/11 so take care with your joints, etc. Don't overdo it. (I did at your age and felt I had to quit) - Now I wish I hadn't but I can only do a very little bit. Good luck

  2. Thanks for the kind and encouraging words, Siobhan! After this class, I decided to give it one more week - just to make sure that I wasn't over-reacting, and that I was calm and collected. Since then, I haven't heard much from this kid - I think the problem is she is desperately seeking attention, and by NOT giving her attention when she says/does these things, she's figuring out (slowly) that she isn't going to get a rise out of me, and is backing off. Unless she does something so obviously rude and inappropriate again, I am not going to take any other action then continue to ignore her. Again, I am pretty positive that she is very much wanting to be the center of everyone's attention, and I have never paid her much mind, so this behavior started as a way to make me do so. I fear lecturing her or running to the TC with it, would only feed into it.

    I am in a much better place about it, personally, too. I have overcome so much already to keep dancing, I will be darned if I let a pint-sized brat with some sibiling issues be my breaking point.

    Thanks again!