Tonight I took a dance class for the first time in twelve years. I am not usually one that struggles with debilitating anxiety. I feel stress about finances, in social situations, and anxiety in regards to new environments. But for the most part, I can manage and get through it.
Tonight I had to do a lot of retraining in my mind. I danced in high school, but that was (what felt like) ages ago. And I never felt comfortable with improv or freestyle dancing. In fact, I felt paralyzed with fear by the idea of having to move on my own. Give me choreography and I’ll learn it and work on it. But ask me to move my body on my own, and I freeze up. Tonight I had to constantly work on retraining my mind to be open to the experience and to let loose.
Self-doubt crept up countless times. Would my back hurt after class? Could I remember the choreography? Would the other women in the class be looking at my like a fool? Everyone except for one was thinner than I am…
Although I don’t live with constant or paralyzing anxiety, I know that I live in my head too much. It’s difficult for me to drop into my body, into movement, into intuitive movement. Which is odd because I feel so in tune with my intuition, as far as listening to when she tells me to say no, yes, or where to go. But I guess that’s more directional, more black and white. And movement, dance, connection, that’s feeling, not thinking.
The dance class, over all, felt like a success. The success was in simply making it to the class and lasting the whole hour. I picked up the choreography. I realized how out of shape I am in my legs. I talked myself down from tearing myself down and forced myself just to move, no matter how stupid I felt. I don’t know that I’ll ever truly let loose and feel free moving my body like that. It doesn’t come naturally to me. And perhaps it doesn’t come naturally to the majority of people. Maybe it’s the same trap we fall into with thinking that what people post on social media is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, when the reality is that it took a lot of work to get there.
What I do know is that I will never be perfect at anything. Perfection does not exist. Real talent and skill takes countless hours of mess ups and failures. Real life asks us to show up and be present. Real life is teaching me to be freer, to take myself less seriously, and to show up. Real life, in the moment, is where I want to be. And I want to be there with courage and excitement.