May 10, 2017
Failure. Goddamnit Fucking Failure. It sucks. It really really sucks. I have experienced this sensation since I arrived in Colorado. All I want to do it succeed, which I know I will. I will succeed. I will thrive so hard. But currently, I am on the battlegrounds. I am fighting myself here.
Through a daily yoga practice, gym visit, meditation, healthy eating, friends, alone time, and rest I am finding balance. I am finding a grounded process in which I am unshakable. I feel my emotions. I process my emotions, and I move on to being in and finding the present moment. This is also an on-going process of course. Every podcast, documentary, self-help book that I take in says the same thing. Failure is a part of life. All the masters have failed more than they have succeeded. They have failed more than most have even tried. Failure is inevitable and necessary.
Hearing this and experiencing this are two very different sensations. I am in the midst of a huge let down. I recently auditioned to teach yoga at 24 Hour Fitness. I had about five days to prepare ten minutes worth of material for each module. I auditioned for a Zumba position as well as a Yoga teaching position. I prepared two songs for Zumba and a ten-minute sequence for the yoga module.
I put everything into this material. I turned my living room into a mini studio for the week, thanks to my roommates. I practiced on my roommates and co-workers. I even face-timed my mom. They all gave me feedback and constructive criticism. I took the criticism, tweeked my material, and displayed my final product to them the day before. They all agreed that my material was bomb. I thought my material was bomb. I felt like my material was in alignment with whom I really am. It felt incredible to show all of my friends my authentic self in this form. I was so excited to show the 24 Hour Fitness Team who Athena Ray Sweeten is.
I arrive at the audition in Lowry, Colorado. This gym is absolutely beautiful. There are glass windows all around. The front desk lady asks me if I am here to audition and tells me to head up to the studio. I go in to find five other candidates and Jessica David. Jessica David is in charge of all the group fitness classes at 24 Hour Fitness in the greater Denver area. Everyone sits in a circle and gives a brief introduction stating name and module auditioning for.
Jessica David then informs us that she needs to make this quick because she has a plane to catch. She is heading to Nashville, Tennessee to run the Music City Marathon. She requests that we cut our material in half. Well fuck. I have everything timed out so perfectly AND NOW I HAVE TO CHANGE IT LAST SECOND?!
I demonstrate my one Zumba song. Shape of You – Ed Sheeran (Major Lazer Remix) . Every one looks so good. We have a great time. I am enjoying demonstrating. I tell the ladies to be in their bodies. Enjoy the sensation of movement and feeling sexy. I tell them to make eye contact with themselves in the mirror and be fierce, whatever that means to them. This is Zumba. You are supposed to feel a little extra spicy.
After Zumba, I immediately flip a switch and demonstrate my yoga module. I have no idea what I am going to teach for yoga because I have a perfect ten-minute sequence, which now has to be five or less. Jessica David is saying we need to wrap it up.. I lead the class through the six spinal movements, some cat/cows, and a forward fold. She then says, “thank you,” meaning stop.
I have no idea what she thinks. I participate in the other candidate’s material and the audition is over. She takes us outside one-by-one to give feedback and tell us what she thinks. She says, “First off, wow, you are a beautiful dancer. I do think that your material is too sexy for the 24 Hour Fitness demographic. Unfortunately I can’t give you a position teaching Zumba at this time but I will invite you to the next audition for Zumba. Secondly. I like how alignment based you are with yoga. I will email you possible yoga locations for a permanent teaching position.” I ecstatically thank her, get in my car, snapchat everyone, call my mom, and text my friends because I am so excited.
I hear nothing for a week. Then get an email about possibly subbing for other teachers if I teach water aerobics…? What? Lady, you give me a position and now you want me to teach water aerobics and only sub for other teachers’ classes? What? You gave me the job! I am so disappointed. My ego is bruised a little.
I feel that disappointment but I am not going to let it deter me from my dreams and passion. I will teach yoga, outside, in beautiful locations, all around the world. It’s happening world.
This experience taught me discipline of working on something daily, to confide in the people that I trust, to take and apply constructive criticism, how to not let my ego get in the way of an experience, and most importantly accepting what is.
Today in our society you always hear, “I guess its not meant for me. It’s a sign,” and then they bail out. I say no. I say try and try again. Tom Shea suggests, “Only after 10,000 times can you judge something.” Failure is inevitable and failure sucks. Its what you do with that sucky feeling that matters. Do you just sit and feel like shit? Or do you use it as fuel? Or both?
Regardless of being employed by 24 Hour Fitness, I am a yoga teacher and nothing can take that away from me. I am a sexy dancer and I accept that. I am raw, authentic, and ready.