When I am nervous, I either talk and share too much to make myself feel better or I am silent and pretend no one can see me. I think during my first tap lesson, I did both.
There were two students including me and the teacher. That is all. And the dance studio had a window in it. If I had been naked, it would have completed the humiliation.
We learned six steps, I think. That’s all. Six. Seis. Sechs. 6. I could do them alone. I was great doing them over and over with one foot at a time, but then the teacher tricked me.
He put them together. I had to shuffle and dig and remember which part of my foot is the ball and which is the heel. This is hard for me because I think my heal looks round like a ball. Why did I take this class?
Because I always wanted to dance. And because I want my kids to see me struggle with something and keep at it and practice and enjoy it even though I will never be great at it.
Since being an adult, I don’t do that thing called risk very often. I hang out with people I know and try things I know I will succeed at. And so I know this is good for me.
I was still embarrassed though and I had to tell the two other people in the room whose opinion I really shouldn’t even care about that I am good at something. So I told my ballet story.
I said that I got one grade in college –which isn’t true. I really got A’s, A-‘s and B+’s but I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even admit a B+ so I said I got all A’s except for ballet. I got a C+ because my body was not meant for movement. It was meant to lie on a sofa and read. I pretended to tell the story so my teacher would know I was scarred; but I really told the story because I wanted him to know that I am good at something even if I can only do a 2 step combo and if you add a shuffle to the 2 steps, you might as well give up on me. (That’s not true. If I wanted him to think I was good, I would have admitted B+’s. I wanted him to think I excelled at something.)
The best part is that he completely turned my story around on me. His response: “That is so great that you are going to forget that C+ and take this class.” He didn’t care about the A’s; he was just excited I took his class. (I’m thinking of asking him to be my life coach.)
So here’s to an upcoming week of practicing tap while washing the dishes and learning to admit that I’m ok with the fact I’m not that good!