In the bigger scheme of things, I was still terrible, but now I was hooked. I started a mission to become the best dancer in Eugene (other than the instructors of course).
Why did I have to be so extreme about it and become the BEST? It’s probably because growing up I received love and encouragement from my parents when I did things well, which of course I’m grateful for, so I got competitive and had to try to be the best at anything I did. To say the least, I was hard on myself. Messing things up on the dance floor did NOT feel good.
I used all of my city’s salsa resources, which was actually just two instructors and one performance team, which I promptly joined.
My dance partner even agreed to do a competition. There were people on all sides and the club was tiny. I FORGOT WHAT I WAS DOING three times. Fortunately the muscle memory from so much repetition kept me moving - even if it was ugly. Needless to say, we didn’t win.
I somehow even got a girlfriend outside of dance (which didn’t violate my silly rules). We fell deeply in love and clung to each for three years. This was convenient because I no longer had to get nervous about any dance with a stranger becoming too flirtatious!
I lived in Jerusalem for a year and found Cuban style salsa there (Casino Rueda) and took dance classes in Hebrew. After college I lived in Tokyo and trained with a performance team there and took dance classes in Japanese.