Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bust it

We all have a working definition of ourselves in our heads. When I looked in my head (which I do a lot), I found that mine was fairly rigid: I do this, I don't do that, I like this, I don't like that. And I didn't question this very often. But last year when I found myself suddenly forced to change everything else in my life, I decided to toss that preconceived idea of myself out too.

For as long as I can remember, I felt extremely uncomfortable with even the idea of dancing. That's right: THE IDEA of dancing was enough to make my chest tight and get my brain cranking with excuses to get out of it.  I have ridiculously long arms and legs, and just felt generally gawky, gangly, and uncoordinated. Have YOU ever asked your bellybutton what it's doing so high off the floor? I have. I do not jest. You try going from short to tall in the span of one horrific teenage growth spurt and you'd feel like an alien in your own body too. I swear all 4 inches went straight to my legs. Which obviously is not the worst thing in the world. Except when you have to buy pants. I hate shopping for pants.

Legs for daaaaaays.

And it didn't come up often, but once in a while there would be a situation where dancing was the social expectation of the moment. I could handle the non-dancing of slow dancing, but that was about it. The rest of it sent me into a panic. Though I may or may not have used not dancing as a way to sneak extra cake at a wedding or two…there's no one around to judge you for eating 3 pieces of wedding cake, and you know I love me some cake. WINNING!

So as I started this process of redefining myself, as lame as it may sound, dancing is what scared me most. It became my Everest. I had to conquer this. And my dear friend Angelo was willing to be my Mr. Miyagi. (I know I've mixed some metaphors there, but TRY TO KEEP UP). So on our very first outing, Angelo and I were the only ones on the dance floor, gradually surrounded by hipsters who were NOT dancing in that I-wanna-punch-em-in-the-throat ironic way they have and were instead enjoying the blacklight atmosphere by drawing on each other with highlighters. Every time we looked around, the scene just got weirder and weirder. But it was definitely a "if I can dance here, I can dance anywhere" kind of moment. And with repeated outings, the fear has melted away and gangly or not, I'm ready to bust my awkward moves. AND I LOVE IT. I bet my next door neighbors ADORE listening to my daily morning dance party in the shower. Sorry, guys! Not to say it's been perfect, but I'll tell you this: you haven't lived until you've dislocated your knee on the dance floor and had to be carried out of the club in the arms of a hot EMT. Unfortunately that love affair ended 10 minutes later when he kept giving me some line about "I'm sorry miss, but that's the maximum dose of morphine I can give you" in the ambulance. He's dead to me now. But it was nice while it lasted.

Hey, little knee cap! What are you doing all the way over there??

What are you missing out on?


  1. You know, I recently realized that I keep away from MUCH because I am trying to avoid disappointment! Boo! I really did not think this was me.....workin' thru it! :) Day, by day, by day, by day.....Good for you, Risa! Keep beating the unknown!

    1. So happy for you, Carla! Keep on pushing!! And the good news is that it's never too late for change. :)


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