This weekend, I did something a little crazy, a little out of character… I attended a dance class called “Burlesque Bikini Bootcamp” in a Chelsea studio!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a goof. If you can’t handle my crazy antics, my rambled way of talking in circles or my klutzy tendencies to trip over my own two feet, then you have no business being in my life. So, naturally, I was the girl standing toward the front of the dance class, giggling at my own lack of coordination as I tried to bend and contort my body in ways that it is just not meant to bend.
And I had a blast! But as I bopped, off-beat, to the music blaring through the stereo, I had flashbacks of high school dance class, and I realized how far I really had come… and I’m not talking in terms of technical skills, because… let’s face it, I’m still a pretty sucky dancer.
I never had fun in high school dance class. I so desperately wanted to, and I always looked forward to the prospect of learning a new dance number, but once I actually stepped foot inside the dance studio with my twenty or something peers, I always felt afraid. I would watch the teacher religiously, trying to conceptually absorb and perfectly mirror every dance step, but I would also watch the other girls. I would watch some of my more skillful peers and make some self-deprecating remark to myself about how I wished my body could move like that. I would look at these girls and think, “What if they tell the guys I can’t dance?” or “What if they’re all watching me through the mirror and laughing in their heads about how horrible a dancer I am?”
I did not have a lot of confidence in high school. And if you don’t have confidence, dance class is just not your best friend.
But, now six or so years later, I just didn’t care what the other girls in this bikini bootcamp thought of me. And, you know what? When I stopped worrying about how everyone else was perceiving me, I actually had fun! And I was actually not that bad of a dancer!
You can go through your life and constantly worry about how others perceive you, but it will be far less fulfilling. To those of you in high school, or even middle school, don’t be afraid to dance your heart out. Stop worrying about what those other girls think of you, because, guess what? They’re not terrific dancers either. It’s all a mind game. When you learn to let loose and have fun with yourself and embrace new challenges with a smile on your face, you will be a great dancer, because you will be confident, and confidence is beautiful. Find a best friend who lets you be exactly who you are and who wouldn’t want to change one thing about you. I spent so much time in high school trying to fit into the molds of others. Why did I do that? I wasted so much time, time in which I could have been having fun, embracing the characteristics of the young lady I am today. I am far from perfect, but nobody is, despite what they want you to believe. In our flaws is our beauty.
So, dance off-beat. Sing off-key. Laugh over the silliest of things. And know that someday you will find someone out there who appreciates you for the wonderful mess that you are.
As for me? I definitely won’t be auditioning for the Rockettes anytime soon. But I’ll be having fun.