Some facts about me: (1) I grew up as a competitive Irish Step Dancer; (2) My favorite number is eight; (3) Today is 12/12/12. These things don't seem all that related, but hang tight my little velveteens, I'll get to the point (I'm on a deadline!).
FACTOID 1: Competitive Irish Dance
If you have no frame of refrence about Irish Dancing (i.e. you're thinking to yourself) let me reccomend watching the documentary feature-legnth film JIG. Skip the 1994 Eurovision Competition debut of Riverdance unless you want to see some killer hair, because that is so far from the truth. This series on Europe's TG4 (Gaelic with English subtitles) gives the most complete historical account of Irish Dance Competition to date and is worth a look. But if all else fails to gain your attention, may I suggest searching the phrase "Parade of Champions" on youtube.
FACTOID 2: Number 8 is Great!
Thanksgiving 1998. I am in eighth grade. I've been practicing Irish Dance for about an hour every morning before school outside on my parents deck, probably waking up the whole block with the noise. After school, my father drives me to my two(+) hour long practices. School seems like a break from dance. My journals detail how much I ate, how hard I practiced and how little I slept. In hindsight, I was deep in a love affair with anxiety. My parents had splurged and bought me a new dress. I was convinced it would arrive (all the way from Ireland) and not fit over my chest (oh yes, I woke up one morning with a C-cup). I operated with one "truth" constantly in my head "I am a horrible dancer". I pinned my self worth a trophy. Now, you all have seen the video tapes of this competition, would you recommend a pre-teen define themselves as "good" or "enough" using this model?
Back to Thanksgiving. It's competition weekend and I'm a ball full of nerves. My mother is picking at my hair (no wigs yet) and my sister goes to get her and my competitor numbers. It's all very American Idol-esque. My competitor number is chosen at random to ensure the judges' impartiality . On this day, my competitor number is 88. The rest of the day is a blur. I know I got on stage for three rounds. I know my feet did what I asked them to, but I have zero memory of actually dancing. The break down I had outside the ballroom is still pretty vivid. I sobbed on my mother, sister & dancing teacher's shoulders. Utterly convinced that my best wasn't good enough, that I was in fact my worst fear : a terrible dancer. When I was called back for results later that night, I shit you not, I placed 8th in my competition of about 300.
FACTOID 3: 12/12/12
If you have checked twitter recently there are about a 46 billion people tweeting about 12/12/12. Some tweets reference the Mayan calendar in very problematic tones (ya know 'cause colonization and imperialism and all that). Others detail how sad it is to see the last repetitive date in our lifetime come and go. My favorites include the happy folks who seem to find this day endlessly lucky! I relate to these myriad of tweets because that's how I've felt about my dancing "career" (if you can call it that). There was always this impending doomsday quality to competitions. My Future very much felt like it could be erased if someone deemed me a terrible dancer. On the actual day of any competition I was as frenzied as this twitter feed. One moment riding high on anxiety waves; remembering nothing and the next moment wallowing and sobbing about how crappy I danced. Eventually, after the awards ceremony I packed up my gear, headed home, and started the next day practicing for another competition. I was in the eighth grade, had competitor number 88 and placed 8th in my region. Boiled down, I danced, freaked out then kept on dancing.
Today may be a remarkable day in terms of numbers and repetition, but really, boiled down 12/12/12 is just another day. So let's keep on dancing!!