After all, it made total sense for my kitten to be stored within a magical emerald gem we smuggled in, so as to allow her to attend the dance. (Our dog however was in the dream forced to stay at the hotel. In reality...be brought neither dog not cat though our hotel turns out to be pet-friendly so theoretically we could have. We just didn't.) And we were talking about that as casually in the dream as more real subjects, like a 6:00 breakfast deadline, packing food, and whatnot.
Anyway. My predictions for today? pretty much spot-on. Pain, soreness, the like, expectations not met, still having fun. Lots of stories to tell about stuff. For a start, my shoebag is a mess right now: turns out that those stress balls can wear out and when they do, puncture, revealing a sandy mess within which spreads. So there's a solid layer of white...stuff now covering my bag. The sad part is? Given my shoebag stores my fancy shoes, and said shoes are what I wore all day...and I wore them in the areas we dance...this grainy sand in my bag? Not really out of place.
I mean. The amount is off; there's way too much. But the color, texture, and probably even substance of this stuff is reasonably close to what would naturally be there anyway, so it's not too big of a deal; I'll remove the broken ball from my bag when I return home. (I'm a bit disappointed at losing the stress ball, but oh well. It happens. It was old, it was worn down.)
So today was full of the normal pleasantries involved in dancing. I use that word both in absolute sincerity and yet also in absolute sarcasm. You'd never know this, but. Square dance politics/drama is actually worse than real-life politics. Think like your typical internet forum: a toxic cesspool of hatred and bitterness, especially at how others have screwed you over, at least in your mind.
...Except. On the internet. This sort of thing? A couple of years or so. It can be more than that. But that's how long these sorts of fights would max out at. People's memories typically don't last that long on the internet, and whenever they do, it is cause for drama which is resurrected then promptly forgotten again.
...Thaaaaat...doesn't get a chance to happen in real-life. There are grudges which have lasted longer than most people dancing are even alive. There's lots of bad blood, self-destructive behavior which has torn apart the sport, which has divided us and helped diminish the festival to be a mere shadow of what it once was. Generation after generation, we still remember the wrongs.
...Then again. Square dancing also has the best of said internet communities in it just as much if not stronger. In spite of what I just said, most of the times, the kids don't bear grudges against other kids--maybe against parents, and parents certainly have some against other parents (oh GOD is there fighting among parents). Bad blood invoked from bitterness from fighting as teens may not go away...but it is not genetically inherited.
The kids are often kindred spirits. They are close to each other. Many clubs are friends--even close to having merges, or crossovers, or the like, where they blend together. For every evil involved in dancing, there is at least two (at absolute MINIMUM!) good things. The strong bond between people, the number of families involved, the intimacy of it (many square dancers met their significant other through dancing! Including my parents), the friendliness, the lightheartedness, the good-natured competition.
When competition is taken as a for-fun testament of skills, that is when we are at our best. Introduce "meh, no need to do anything" (no attempt to show skill), or more commonly, "serious business" into it? Well then. Then you've got problems. But short of that. It's just...fun. Fun, good, strong. Full of life, energy, compassion, and love.
I felt that our super-senior square did well to achieve this and honestly we performed better than I was anticipating. However, we still didn't place in spite of my parents insisting we should have. The timers don't lie though. Of five squares, we were either fourth or fifth. It was a bunch of fun and we weren't incompetent, so it's not bad, especially for a group who didn't have a chance compared to groups who are basically full-blown competitive dancers. (Our square is, mind you, made up of people who're primarily round dancers. And while the two overlap, they are NOT synonymous. Noooooot even close.)
Attendance keeps on getting lower each and every year, with fewer and fewer competitors. To some extent, this can be attributed to real-life: the people who were doing it age out. They have kids. Square dancing is expensive. It's hard to get people into it. Most square dancers either go in as kids because of family, or join with old fogies who move at a snail's pace, killing interest. The stereotypes of square dancing of it being a dumb hick thing certainly do us no favors, either.
It can also, however, largely be traced to the festival's commitment to enforcing a dieing system, in denial of how the world works. To put it simply: for something to survive, it either needs to adapt to its environment--evolve to match its surroundings--or go extinct. The people who are higher up in square dancing are largely traditionalists who would see the latter become reality simply because they refuse to believe that square dancing could ever be something different than what it was when they were raised 20-60 years ago.
That's about as much as I care to say on that subject (I could do more but I really don't feel like a negative rant; I want to keep this entry positive and no more words on the subject can be said while still being so). But I suppose I should mention, my sister (the younger one, who competed at 22 without an exception in spite of 21 being the last year under normal conditions, thanks to her birthday) had her square perform better than I was expecting.
They botched both their mysteries and a large amount of the displays. (Both of the side positions, and even their own center position was sloppily executed.) In spite of this, they got second place, beating out the club I thought had a very realistic chance of being first. (Of course, the first place club I did think would get first, but I was hoping they wouldn't in part thanks to my bitterness towards Canadian clubs given how thoroughly they screwed my club over on my last year. We had nine year olds who were forced to compete in Senior. As in. The category 21-year-olds compete in. Nine year old novices, who have never square danced before in their lives. Forced to compete. At the level people who have been dancing all their lives compete in which is the hardest available for teens. Because of the Canadians not allowing us any alternative. Oh and we were informed of this...after we had already been practicing with the square we wanted to have, for OVER half the time we have for practice. As in, we got to practice more with a square we never got to be than we did with the squares we ended up being. Because the Canadians screwed us over. And EVERYONE when they SAW the absurdity of this was more or less on our side, but their support of this ridiculousness was a consolation prize, because it was given after the fact. Suffice to say...I am not immune to having bad blood.)
Hmm...getting really really REALLY tired here. What else? I did a little experimenting with my hair, though I'm told the results were terrible. They were also temporary, and a pain to set up. When words stop failing me, maybe I can better explain what it was I tried, but for now, I'll move on. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the school had a unisex bathroom.Now, admittedly, it was marked as staff only--and I feared it being locked. But nope, it was open so I used it. I figured they could just be unhappy, if they even would have any way of knowing it had been used in the first place.
Both lunch and dinner were fairly scraped by, as we ate whatever we could. The after-party actually involved a much-larger meal, and while interesting stuff happened there, I'm literally falling asleep as I type this so I don't think I can coherently convey all the events there. It was at some restaurant. Was quite good, albeit very expensive.
I should also mention that I realized how scarily long I've danced. I mean. I know I've danced since 2000, 17 years. But. I mean round dance. My sister aged out 6 years ago. We competed together for two years. We've therefore been good dancers for 5 years. (Yes we became good round dancers literally one year too late: thanks to another stupid rule, my sister was forced to compete as advanced--the highest-level for round dancing for teens--and I was a complete novice. As in. I didn't know phase 2, and I was forced to compete at phase 4. So while we did get good, it took us three years to get good, and we only had two years' worth of competition we were eligible for to use.)
That's a scarily long time. I may have aged out only after two years ago, but...that was different. That was me. Not us. Us, together. Five years, as round dance partners. Longer as competent dancers than as incompetent dancers. How things have changed.
Anyway only other notable thing I can think of: I prepared for the day by packing art for the trip. This was a brilliant idea. It was wasted by me forgetting to bring it this afternoon, so I got to watch/directly participate more than I was anticipating/planning. Buuuut...one consequence of this?
Less nap time. More awake time. I've been up for basically 20 hours--and while I did take naps, they weren't as long/restful as hoped. So I'm tired and exhausted; time to post.