Morning! How are we? Good I hope. I need to start with a bit of a disclaimer…I appreciate that today’s quote isn’t strictly motivational (unless you are female and small, which I guess might apply to some of you!). However, I’ve learned a few things this weekend, about myself and about my daughter, and I felt I didn’t want to let it pass by without documenting it. This is going to be longer than my normal post so grab a cuppa and settle in! Phoebe asked me at dinner on Friday evening…”what does fierce mean Mummy”. I didn’t give her the traditional definition of ‘scary’ or ‘angry’ but I told her it describes someone that is a force to be reckoned with. Someone that is strong and determined. Little did I know that 24 hours later she would be showing me how incredibly fierce she was.
You may remember that back in November Phoebe was due to take part in her first dance festival but our plans were scuppered when she got chicken pox the night before the festival. She feigned disappointment but I knew, deep down, she was pretty relieved she didn’t have to do it! She didn’t feel quite ready and I thought it probably wasn’t the end of the world that she got a few extra months to practice. Phoebe had decided she wanted to start doing dance festivals, like some of her dancer friends, back in June last year. It was all her decision and I was happy enough to go along with it. I’m not sure I was quite aware how much work I was going to have to put into this new venture but I am now officially a ‘Dance Mum’ and with that goes ferrying her to classes, festivals and shows, being a chaperone backstage and sourcing or making costumes.
Festivals are like mini competitions but really they are a chance for children to learn a dance and then get the opportunity to perform it in front of a small audience and get some feedback. It’s great for their confidence and for their development both as a dancer and as an individual. Phoebe needed a Hawaiian themed costume for her dance and despite spending hours searching the web I just couldn’t find anything that was suitable. If you google ‘Hawaiian costume’ you just get hundreds of fancy dress costumes and these just don’t cut it in the world of dance! Just when I was about to give up hope Dance Gear came to my rescue! They offered me a costume from their website for Phoebe and they have a huge variety of dancewear that is made to order. Whilst they didn’t have a costume entirely suitable for a Hawaiian theme they did have a dress I thought I could customise. I sent Dance Gear Phoebe’s exact sizes and when the dress arrived it fitted absolutely perfectly! I quickly got to work adapting it to make her look the part.
I was so chuffed with the end result and was so excited for her to perform in it!
So back to this weekend. Saturday was festival day and Phoebe woke up pretty anxious. She started suggesting that she was nervous, which I reassured her was completely normal. The festival was at 3.30 so she went to her normal dance classes in the morning. When I picked her up she seemed fine, but by the time we got home she had got herself in an absolute state. She couldn’t eat and was sobbing. So, as a parent, what do you do in this situation? Do you tell them “don’t worry – it’s fine, if you’re too scared we wont go” or do you reassure them, try to calm them down and plough on? I went for the latter. I just hoped that if I could get her there then she would feel better. We dried her tears and I did my very best to be happy upbeat ‘sing-song’ Mum! I did her hair and makeup and we jumped in the car and off we went.
When we arrived I have never known Phoebe so quiet. She barely spoke. We were there nice and early so had a chance to go in to see the stage and to watch some of the other dancers. She sat motionless, wide eyed and quiet. I really wasn’t sure that I was going to get her onto the stage. When it was time to go and get her costume on ready for her session she was still whimpering, saying she had butterflies and didn’t think she could do it. However, once her costume was on she transformed into this fierce little dancer telling me she was going to go out there and get a medal! The change was incredible! I left her at the side of the stage with the rest of the dancers and went and took my seat, at this point I was clearly more nervous than she was. She was the second to perform and she ran out and took her position like a true pro. She remembered the whole thing, made no mistakes and even remembered her bow at the end. I could tell she was nervous, she forgot to smile through a lot of it but she did an amazing job! She didn’t win a medal and I wondered if that might cause a problem, even though we had discussed that this wasn’t the reason we were there.
When I went back stage to see her she was absolutely beaming from ear to ear. “I want to do it again Mummy!” “Can I come back and do it again tomorrow?”. It was music to my ears! I knew that if she just got onto the stage she would love it and she really did! I was so incredibly impressed with how she dealt with her fears. It would have been so easy for her to refuse – there were others that did. It would have been so easy for me to tell her we wouldn’t go. But she was so fierce in all those ways I described. She was a force to be reckoned with, strong and determined. As soon as that costume was on she decided there was no turning back and went out there and did the best she could. I am in no doubt that next time there will be no nerves…she will just go out there and strut her stuff and I am so excited to see what she can achieve.
I’ve written a lot about overcoming your fears and I never thought I would have to coach my 7 year old to help her overcome hers. The whole process was such an important lesson for both of us and I feel that if she can overcome those crippling nerves then there is nothing that she can’t do. She will be forever fierce and I am sure will eventually come home with her much coveted medal. So as far as motivation goes, I guess we can learn a lot from children and how they deal with life. Don’t let fear stop you from doing something you want to do. Take risks, try everything once and above all….BE FIERCE!