WHAT IF! Self-doubt, Dance & Unison

WHAT IF! Self-doubt, Dance & Unison

How being a first time speaker with UNISON helped me over come self doubt in dance
So I’ll jump straight in, when I first
joined UNISON in December 2015, I joined for
the sake of joining. To be protected at work I suppose, since that is what
UNISON is for. To ‘protect and secure
fair and equal pay, good conditions, high quality employment….Fighting for and
promoting equality and challenging all forms of discrimination’
 and YES I
experienced it all at work. I want to share my personal experiences, however I
will only touch the surface today and maybe another time I will give more in detail
of my personal trials and tribulations, especially within my dance career.
Right so the question is, why would any young person
(under 27) want to become a member and fork out a direct debit? For me personally, I never thought twice about joining a trade union and like
many young people we are just occupied, with trying to build a stable career. Along that rocky journey to securing a career, many
young people (1 in 4) will/have faced inequality and bullying & harassment
at work, but unfortunately  some don’t know who to turn to and simply lack that
guidance. Or maybe some just don’t know what discrimination looks like (at work). When those obstacles arise it causes an impact with our job security and confidence.


Let’s get to the point about my experience specifically within
So after years (yes years) of my mother pestering me to
join, I finally joined. Since mamma knows best……apparently. I partly joined
because my mother is an activist, shop steward, sits on the Black Members Committee for West Midlands
region and is vice chair to the regional committee of the Disabled
self-organised group. On top of that, she has a full time job for the local
council. Wow!! Oh and to an advantage, I luckily gained the opportunity to represent the National Young Members Forum. As they say, a daughter is a reflection of her mother 🙂


However what triggered me to join was because of problems I
was facing at work and I am too exhausted to explain in detail. At this point I
started to feel exhausted, undermined and taken for granted. I did not know any
better, in terms of who to turn to for guidance. During Autumn 2014, I was wearing an air cast boot for 6
weeks due to my ankle condition. I found myself, lifting and carrying heavy
loads, (i.e. stereo player) to reach different dance and activity classes at
work; all while I was recovering from my severe inflammation and swelling. The
isshhh dance teachers put themselves through just to succeed.


Although this was such a long time ago, it still played on
my mind. I just don’t understand why I put myself through so much
physical stress. I am so committed and driven, but on that specific occasion, I put my health and safety
LAST. Never again. What made matters worse, is that my manager paid no mind to
my condition, didn’t tell me to stop and didn’t even ask how my foot is. F THE
*sarcasm* Correct me if I am wrong but don’t we ALL have a duty
of care? Chu, well that experience caused me to question my WORTH at
work, like I was just a body to carry out duties, nothing more nothing less. I guess I lost that motivation and confidence within myself at work (because
I couldn’t be arsed)…..


Now fast forward a year later, after finding ways to stay motivated, an opportunity came my way….In January I stood tall speaking in front of hundreds of people, at the National Black Members Conference (NBMC). I moved Motion 1 – Improving our work to reach Black
Young Members.
 I must say, I felt proud and fulfilled. CHECK OUT my speech>> https://youtu.be/LkWEd8gAtlY  I
regained my confidence and excelled.
I learnt to speak up again, to not hesitate to ask for help (I often
work independently). Oh and overcoming my self doubt; especially in dance and
I’ll briefly touch upon my dance lifestyle shortly. Once I finished the motion,
I literally sat down. Done & dusted, not a big deal. It was only until we
took a break was when I was then flooded with members congratulating me. I felt
so overwhelmed and slightly….confused, I kept
questioning, really, was it that good? *shrugs shoulders*


I have that same mentality with my dance career. When
I choreograph a piece, rehears a repertoire or when I instruct a class, I have
that inner horrid voice telling me what
What if it’s not good enough, it’s not unique, it’s not as creative as his/hers, they won’t like it and my
whole professionalism runs down the drain. What if! As we know, trained
dancers are expressive, artistic and of course confident. You’d think
that I would have bags full of confidence to simply perform on stage AND speak in front of
hundreds of people… Well not exactly, I am a ‘quietly’ confident individual and I’m reserved. It’s not that I get nervous (as we all do); I just have that habit of
doubting myself… I need to snap out of it and so do you. It’ll only prevent you from reaching your full potential. Understand that is partly due to your own self-esteem and self-determination. You
are too busy umming and arring, then you realise you are still stuck standing in
the same place…. But then my speech encouraged me to take that next step, to take a leap,
‘ah so I can do it’ and to just be happy with where I am TODAY.


The delegates (members) at the NBMC approached me with
handshakes, smiles, hugs, photography, interviews, feedback on social media and YES someone asked for my
autograph LOL. I didn’t hesitate to take that pen… (he looked fineeee tho). CHECK
OUT my interview>>

Dave Prentis, Sharon Dixon – NBM Committee, Roger McKenzie
Dave Prentis General Secretary
Margaret Greer National Black members Officer
At the NBMC I generally felt comfortable and supported. Many of the delegates
there already knew me -_- because erm my mother goes around airing my name (in
a good way of course). I am still grateful to be chosen to move the motion with
such ‘grace and elegance’, so thank you to the committee and thank you to Gary
Williams (Young Members Officer) and Denis Patel (former Chair of Young Members
West Midlands Regional), who both assisted me, ensuring that I won’t mess up.


It was a great rewarding experience; however it was not my
first with UNISON. I first attended the National Young Members Conference in
2016, where I was interviewed talking about how ‘Positive young Black images
are crucial’. Just dropping knowledge! CHECK IT OUT>> https://youtu.be/ifklQTNa8_Q
Also I attended the Young Women’s Confidence Skills Workshop, where I managed
to network. Now I’ve been offered the opportunity to be the new young member
branch officer, where I can gain transferable skills back into dance and arts
management. So yh, that’s about it really, I’m still finding my feet though.

So far So good!


Unique Tay

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