Coping with the 'New Normal' (Miss Ava's personal experiences)
As we start to creap out of our houses, returning to schools, work and activities we need to remember to be extra kind to everyone we meet. Things are different, people are different our world is different and we need time to adjust to our 'New Norm' This is my ramblings of how the last few months have passed.
The studio re-opening on Monday the 1st of September was such a monumental thing but so much has happended in the nearly six months leading up to it. The day we emotionally closed our doors due to lockdown I was teaching our fun, lively street dancers, our world came crashing down as Boris annouced we would no longer be able to operate ... so we stopped classes immediately. No idea of whether this would be a two week early Easter break or if we would see our beautiful dancers again. It seems overly dramatic to type this but it is exactly how it was.
It's not the physical side effects to dancers of all ages losing their classes that has the most
impact. Our bodies will retrain. It's the psychological impact of losing our community and purpose that affects us most.
Most people I guess would discribe me as the slightly goofy scatty one, up for a chat, big ideas, always working. I try to at least put that out there. They know me as a dance teacher or a business owner, some as a mum. Those close to me know I suffer imposter syndrome, low self-esteem, panic everyday facing our custom
ers, loathe any written or logical tasks and battle
daily issues with body dismorphia. I have physical and mental injuries that some days seem too much for me to want to face the world but I have a great support team in my family and friends. However, it has taken me many years to come to terms with losing my identity as a dancer, in March 2020 if felt like I lost myself all over again.
At the beginning there was lots to do, planning for home schooling, planning for the studio, great weather it all seemed suereal but manageable. But as the weeks went by, being the only grown up in the house (Mr Anthony left everyday for work) began to suck ... I am sure there are many parents out there that will see part of their lockdown reflected in this. All staff were furloughed so I felt we were at least keeping something safe for them however, that left little me with all those hideous admin jobs I struggle with as well as trying to find ways to keep our dance community together with online learning and content. Torn even more than usual with the feelings of working mummy guilt as I either screamed at my kids as I needed time to work or left them to their own devices (Literally electronic devices...our super guilty survival tool) It was quite easy to slip into a blur of binge watching Tv, poor food choices and far too much alcohol.
As the end of May rolled around and we realised this was going to continue much longer than anticipated. I had to make the choice to clean up how I was behaving. My kids all had birthdays which became lack lustre events, no parties, presents postponed. Holidays were cancelled and there was no date on the horizon to re-open the studio. Money had run out and we realised there was no finacial help for Limited company directors. Then the house got broken into. 2020 really was throwing all the punches.
It is easier to let life knock you down than deal with it, believe me there were many nights of crying where I wanted to throw it all in and even to this day I fight the urge daily to just run far, far away from it all. But when there is no where to go, the only thing you can do is change your way of seeing things. So I set my self the challenge to quit alchool & caffiene. I started exercising everyday again (not Joe Wicks...you need a medal if you kept up with that guy) and watcing what I ate. I made time to spend with the children actually going on adventures, baking and decorating. I sat down and attempted to understand some of the confusing legislations which were now coming through and started making plans on how to re-organise the business structure of DanSci and the contents of the building itself.
Having a clear head ment I could remember the good times and try to build a new path through the chaos. Lockdown turned out to be not all bad. I had chance to reflect on what was important and step out of the
business for a while to pick apart the systems which didn't work. I have taken extra courses, learnt new things and spend every evening meal with my children. We are luckier than many in our industry as this year has taken a massive toll on the arts and self employed. Today I am grateful we are here at all and that we can use our time now to break down mental health taboos, get people back in their communties and get active together again.
Just please bare with me this week.... exhaustion has hit, I could barely keep my eyes open Saturday night! Almost 6 months of working every day and every evening, a lot of melt downs, children going feral, loads of support from you guys but sleepless nights, late finishes and still no blooming financial support from Rishi (get the violins out I know!) Just caught up with me all at once. I’ve had to make some horrendous decisions during that time and life/studio as we knew it, is all a bit different. But different is good. It’s safe and covid-secure, there's life again, music & dance and it’s working!! It’s all such a huge relief... hence the exhaustion crash! I know I am not the only one who must be feeling this way so please just be that little bit kinder and smile a little extra harder from under those masks and we will all get through it together.
Let's celebrate the little wins at the moment Thanks to all our dancers and supporters, its great to get our little dance community back together again, see you in class.
This post came about after one of our adult dancers contacted me concerned at how stressed I looked during the week. Today I finished my Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity which has spurred me on to disclose some of this informatin. It is personal and by no means a fishing expedition. I just want our dancers to know that DanSci is always a safe place to express yourself and we are all here for each other.