Yellow flower

I once heard from a producer that every singer worth his salt has had a Russian ballet teacher in her/his life. No, he did not think singers had first to wear a tutu and get to know the world of pliés and staccatos. What he meant is that great singers always have a story to tell about some strict teacher who turned their life into a real hell, but who was somehow also responsable for their blossom.

The definition of tough love (“promotion of a person’s welfare, especially that of an addict, child, or criminal, by enforcing certain constraints on them, or requiring them to take responsibility for their actions”) explains it very well. Sounds familiar? That means you also had a Rusian ballet teacher in your life (you know: a small lady, exemplary erect and keeping her feet slightly apart, while holding a staff that energetically timed each movement).

One of my favorite representations of the master-apprentice relationship is the movie Whiplash (2014, dir. Damien Chazelle). The soundtrack is superb and the story takes a very interesting approach to the master-apprentice relationship.

On the other hand, an abusive relationship can often be glamorized when observed through the rearview mirror of memory. I had my share of Russian ballet teachers and I can tell you clear and loud: I do not miss those days, not even a tiny bit. To be very honest with you: I am aware of the skills developed through tough love, but its side effects can be devastating and the risk is simply too high to be taken.

Discipline and determination can also be exercised in an environment where it is possible to make mistakes without fear. Encouraging, listening and, most importantly, empathizing are also key elements. In short: before blossowing comes nurturing.

Yellow September, a month dedicated to talking about mental disorders, is coming to an end, but it is always time to remember that our mental health should be a priority in any relationship.

Be seeing you!


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