I have, in my mind, committed to starting dance again.
Each time I go, I feel alive.
Each time I go, I feel right.
Each time I go, I leave, and each time I leave, I tell myself that this is it—that I’m back. That I love this and that I’m doing it regularly.
Each time I go, it takes me a little bit of time to go back.
I’m not entirely sure.
Maybe it’s because I’m not in high school anymore and therefore not accountable to it. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy. Maybe it’s because I’m scared. Maybe it’s because it’s easier not to.
For awhile, it became hard to go. To not be able to do the things I used to be able to do. It frustrated me that I couldn’t perform how I used to. Something I used to be so good at, something that now forced me to struggle with even the most simple steps.
Something that I love so much, something that I let slip away, for no reason but my own choices and the life that I have created.
Something that, each time I go, I don’t give the amount of attention it deserves. Or maybe not the amount (I’m thinking pretty hard about those plies), but maybe I’m not giving the right attention.
I watched a video today that showed women speaking of their passions and what makes them truly feel. Something that they aren’t necessarily thinking about, but that they’re just feeling. Something that takes away their worries and let’s them forget it all.
Two hours later, I had forgotten that video. And two hours later, I almost skipped ballet.
But for some reason, I decided that this was not that time. This was not that time that I skipped. This was not that time that I sat wishing I had gone. This is not that time that I wrote more to-do lists and dreamed instead of doing.
This was not that time.
So, I begrudgingly drove myself to class.
And as I placed my hand on the barre, I remembered the video. I remembered hearing people speak about truly feeling something.
So I decided to try something, something I have never done before.
I placed myself at the barre in front of a pole so that I couldn’t see myself in the mirror. As I attempted to stretch out my rusty quads I vowed to myself that during this class, I would feel. I would truly feel the movements in my body. Every muscle. Every artistic breath. I decided to pretend I was performing the entire class. I decided to not look in the mirror.
I decided to feel my body, let go of my insecurities and just dance (#ijustwannadance).
I have danced twice in the past six months. I am used to being decent. I am not at the fitness level I want to be at. A year ago, well really, a day ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a studio.
But this was not that time.
Growing up, ballet was my “thing.” I danced for years, performed every role in The Nutcracker, spent my summers dancing with Boston Ballet, Point Park University and more. It was me, and it was what I was going to do.
As an athlete and artist (equals dancer), I craved recognition.
I would stand at the barre and stare at myself as I tried to perfect the movement. I would look at the teacher to see if they were watching me as I practiced. I loved the encouragement, I loved the praise.
And, to be totally honest with you, I don’t know that I ever allowed myself to simply feel.
And so tonight, that’s all I did.
All I did was feel.
And other than the muscle cramps and seriously disjointed body (guys, I really need to lift or something), I think I may have danced the best I have ever danced in my entire life.
I have never taken a whole entire class to feel every bone, muscle and joint. I have never taken an entire class to not care if I wasn’t perfect. I have never taken an entire class as if I was on stage.
I have never taken an entire class with a mindset that I was capable of doing every single thing thrown at me.
And as I felt, I realized that this is what life is about. Truly feeling each moment. Not worrying about the clock so much. Not thinking about what you’re going to wear tomorrow. But feeling your hand on the barre. Feeling the water splash your face in the morning. Feeling the wind hit your face as you drive down the freeway (unless you’re stopped merging onto 395-S, am I right?).
That’s all it’s about.
I only wish I had allowed myself to dance this way in my younger years—that I had allowed myself to dance for me, and me alone.
Like the quote in the oh-so-famous Center Stage states, “I’m not dancing for them anymore, I’m dancing for me.”
And so, as is my hope for all of these tidbits of my life, I hope that you (if you’re still there), can apply this to something in your life. What have you spent hours of your life practicing and never truly felt? Or, if you have yet to find that something, go out and try new things—try to find it. Try to feel and revel in each moment. Try to let go of anything holding you back from what you could be, what you want to be.
And if you’re thinking about skipping something you have been wanting to do for awhile, maybe think twice. Maybe go, maybe something great will happen.
**And in between exercises/combinations, I thought about how much I wanted to write about my discovery. So maybe, I really have found my “things” after all.
See video here (shoutout to the lulu lemon ad team, because damn):