Tonight, I learned how to dance! No, seriously. For the first time in my life, thanks to the recommendation from a friend, I decided to take a dance class, and learned how to do The Hustle. The best part about all of it was how little I cared about how bad I was. For those of you who struggle with perfectionism, I urge you to take up dancing; it’ll knock it right out! At least for the time being.
The class began with a struggle, as I was obviously the worst one there. So, as expected, self-consciousness set in, and I quickly became hyper-aware of my awkward moves and lack of rhythm. At some point in the first ten minutes, I decided that that was it, and that I’d never return; I thought, okay, dancing just isn’t for me, and I could be good at other things. If I stuck with that notion, if I gave up, I would’ve missed out on small, but significant, experience.
Somewhere in that hour, I decided to just have fun and try, knowing that I’d never be back anyway. But, when I gave up its importance, I suddenly became better! It was as though an entirely new person entered the room, a more fluid and less rigid me. Anxiety is a funny thing: we need it for motivation, but when there’s too much of it, we become paralyzed; and, that’s exactly where I was. I was stuck.
When I began to have fun, I incorporated my own moves, and just danced with people, all sorts of them, young and old. And, they complimented me. They praised my efforts and lauded my improvement. I was the belle of the ball, in my mind anyway. The experience, itself, was one of those that I always talk about, where you feel in the now. When my perspective shifted, time stopped. I discontinued counting down, while taking in each step and each move, attuning myself to the beat. Life usually works this way; when you stop thinking too much about it, you start to really enjoy it. Tonight was one of those special moments for me.
I can proudly say that I was definitely the most improved, but mostly because of the low, and I do mean low, point in which I began. But, I did it; and, now I am officially at beginner level of The Hustle, and happily so. A lot time ago, I gave up on Jiu-Jitsu because I thought I wasn’t good enough; a decision I’ve always regretted. But, I’m not giving up on The Hustle; and, I’m not giving up on having fun doing it.
Fifteen years ago, social anxiety and perfectionism stole my passion for marital arts; they extinguished a flame, which died at the prediction of judgment and failure. Today, my inner-flame was reignited; this time, I’ll make sure to keep it lit.
P.S. I didn’t proofread this article. In your face, perfectionism!