As a toddler, my grandpa would take me into the city each St.Patrick’s Day to watch Irish dancers perform in the local festival. They would dance along to the fiddles and accordions, giant wigs bouncing about, and their dresses glinting in the blaring stage lights. I would stand and stare, affixed on every move. Ever since then, I was hooked. My grandpa would continue to take me to this festival every year, as well as finding any other performances throughout the year. This was my only dip into the world of Irish dancing, until November of 2006. I began my Irish dance lessons, only for the pure enjoyment and, quite frankly, obsession of a 7 year old. All I wanted was a sparkly dress and a flouncing wig. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
About a year after I began my lessons, I was ready for competition, in which I did exceptionally well for an 8 year old beginner. I began competing more, moving up in the levels. I found myself dancing more and more, even practicing my steps down the halls of school and empty grocery store aisles. But finally, I was nearing the completion of my toddler-dream, I wanted that bouncing wig and the stunning dress.
I worked hard, practicing between other activities such as school and church. I had to win each of my seven dances before I was able to get what I wanted. Competition after competition, everything but firsts. Seconds, fourths, thirds, even fifths, but no firsts. I began to slow down in my practicing, my self-esteem dropping and the sight of my dreams clouding over with doubt. My friends all got their dresses and wigs before I had, and I slowed even more, having nobody to support me in that level. Dance became a chore, I didn’t want to practice, and I would make up excuses so I didn’t have to attend classes. I did this for months, but one day, my dance teacher said something that changed my outlook.
These two simple words changed my take on my dancing about a year ago. I started practicing more and more again, the feeling of obsession and love for dance flooding back into my life. I wanted to go to dance again, and I was dancing around everywhere, like I had done when I was a young beginner dancer. My competitions improved tremendously, and I won all seven of these qualifying dances within a few months, all because of my new positive outlook.
Through this experience, I have learned the truth of having a positive outlook on life. I have applied this to everything I do; dance, school, emotions. I strive to keep this positive outlook, and I encourage others to do this along with me. As I near graduation, my dance career will come to a close, but this outlook should continue. I want to keep this lens as I go away to college and begin to study, so that, even through the tough times, I can keep my head up and be successful in everything I do.