What a great Easter weekend and a busy week thus far. I'm sure you can all relate!
I have to make a report of my more recent attempt to do something the scares me. For my ice-breaker, I decided to attend my first ballet class in almost 12 years. I found a couple of open teen/adult ballet classes in my area and chose one that had a good time at night so I could run on over once Brad got home from work. I dug out some old ballet shoes and put on compression tights and a sleeveless top I had just got in the mail that day. (Thanks, Fabletics!) I am so glad they didn't require leotards because, well, I really wouldn't have gone otherwise. Before I left, I told Brad, "I'm either coming home completely exhilarated or completely humiliated."
|This is me trying to take an inconspicuous photo right before class. Nailed it!|
Not gonna lie people, I was feeling a little nauseous while driving over there. I know this is not a big deal; no life is hinging on the balance for me to attend a ballet class again. But doing so has been a legitimate desire of mine for years, but also a legitimate fear. I have some pretty conflicted feelings about the dance studio and going back was emotionally intense for me, akin to facing some demons, including my sadness over leaving such an important part of my life behind me for so long.
The class I attended had a good range of ages and abilities, with 16 attendees. There were only three people outright friendly--the two oldest women in the class (probably in their 50s), and the solo guy (I'm assuming he's still in high school); everyone else was shockingly snooty. I guess I'm used to my old classes where I had literally been dancing with friends year after year. No weird faces or quiet jokes were well-responded to in this class, which I tried to not take personally. However, those three who did extend their kindness toward me were incredibly sweet; enough so, that I think I will be going back to that particular class for them alone.
We did barre exercises for 40 minutes, then center for another 45. I was pretty shocked by how much immediately came back, and by that I mean my understanding of where I was lacking in technique (almost everything), and how to go about fixing it. I felt great pride toward my old studio back in Kaysville, UT--it might have been small, but they really were phenomenal in their instruction.
It felt so hard, but a good kind of hard. My turnout was even worse than it was way back when (something that I really struggled with) and my flexibility was seriously laughable (at least I was laughing, while everyone else pretended I didn't exist). While I could barely remember what step attaches to which french word, the second run-through of each combination in center was far better than the first. The key for me there was to do my best to not be ashamed because I am no longer any good at this, but to simply charge in and go for it, regardless of what the other dancers thought.
Some successes I'm going to walk away with: I went, even when I didn't want to. My arms and hands have still "got it!" I even got in a strong pirouette or two, and my balancés were great. I've been sore today, so that means I also got a good workout in. And most importantly, that chamber in my heart that used to love this type of creative expression broke back open.
Some hilarious moments: Doing my best not to pee my pants with every jump (every mother out there can relate). Spinning in a complete circle around myself instead of a straight diagonal line. My eyes literally rolling around my head after said spins, so much that I couldn't walk directly to the end of the line. Moments where I tried to talk to people and got completely ignored. Any time I had to do anything flexible; the middle splits were particularly cringeworthy.
I did my best to avoid looking at myself in the mirror as that would have dive-bombed any semblance of self-confidence I mustered to be there, so I'm not entirely sure of more specifics than that. However, I had Brad take this picture of me doing the splits when I got home so I could track my improvement; obviously, I am in need of A LOT of improvement! Even Brad was cringing while taking this photo. But I'm not doing this blog to present anything else but the ugly truth, and here it is!
All in all, I can honestly say that dancing again after almost 12 years felt like returning home in some very good ways. Enough good ways that I can see myself attending this class every single Monday, even though it still scares me.
Maybe next time, I'll even look in the mirror.
What about you? What fears, however big or small, have you been conquering? Please share! And remember, you can also email them to me at email@example.com. I'd love to make this a space where people celebrate their successes, or at least their hilarious stories in attempts of creating those successes. This will be a continuing series, so there is no "deadline" in place. Will you take my word for it though, and charge in? You won't regret it.