Growing up I always wanted to take a dance class. I had two cousins who did and I remember practicing routines with them and going their recitals to watch with wonder (and maybe a little jealousy). In high school instead of traditional gym class I took dance-which was fun-but it wasn’t the quite the same.
For the last several years I have tried to take some class through our local park district. One year it was acrylic painting (and realized I probably should take drawing too), ceramics (pottery wheels are hard), and this year I decided to live out my childhood dream of taking a dance class.
Our park district offers a “Beginning Adult Tap Class” that is for people 18 years and older, so my fear of being Billy Madison was relieved. I signed up, bought some tap shoes off of Amazon, and prepared myself for the great unknown.
The first class came and it was a doozy. It was definitely an adult tap class-I am the youngest person in the class by some years (and most of them are retirees). I was amazed at how good everyone was for a beginner and being one of the only two new students to the ‘beginning’ class I stood out like a sore thumb. I was so far outside of my comfort zone that I wasn’t sure if I would really show up again the next week.
But I did, and have, shown up to every class since we started in September. Every Tuesday night I tell D that I don’t want to go, then I go, and I come back in a much better mood. I tend to really enjoy a buddy when I am reaching out of my comfort zone and this was one of the few times I had to go out completely unassisted. After a couple conversations with internal me about allowing myself to feel awkward (which sucks, let’s be honest. That’s why we push it away.) I slowly became open to the experience and I have to say, it’s been a fun one!
So fun in fact, that this week I get to live out one of my childhood dreams of having a recital! In a costume! In front of friends! (okay, I’m a little embarrassed by this, but I’m trying to embrace the experience.)
For some things, it’s never too late to try but it sure can be super uncomfortable to do so. When people found out that I signed up for tap classes I was overwhelmed by how many people said it was ‘awesome’ and that they ‘could never do something like that.’ And while hearing that made me feel a lot of things it also made me recognize my own growth. Being able to push past fear or insecurity (and have a lot of humility, because I am no Eleanor Powell here) is something I’ve been working on and maybe, I’m making progress?
Funny thing progress is-because it’s not like I feel less insecure or braver doing things outside of my comfort zone-I’m just starting to build up confidence that the juice really is worth the squeeze. The hardest part is facing the thoughts that creep in my head and being rational about with what is really going on versus the very loud internal dialogue that’s trying to ‘protect’ me from those uncomfortable situations-think the mom in Carrie here, you know, ‘they’re all going to laugh at you!’? That’s basically what your safety brain is doing and your trying to be Carrie and be all ‘I can do this AND I have magical powers that if someone laughs I’ll burn this whole place down! Okay, don’t go that far, but it’s a good analogy! For me that’s the key to tapping into (hah) new adventures (not the burning down things, the pointing out my irrational Carrie’s mom I-just-want-to-keep-you-safe thoughts. Again, no telekinesis here.).
Is there anything in your life that you’ve wanted to do for a long time but just haven’t been able to-yet? Sometimes asking yourself what is standing in your way can surface some hard stuff, and I honor just how difficult and long that process can take. You may have to sit with things that are uncomfortable and you might have to wrestle with some unruly beasts but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself if your proverbial juice is worth squeezing.
|Halloween Tap Dancing Hot Dog!|