As a child, I never really excelled in any particular activity, I was not known as the dancer, the sporty one, the smart one, the popular one. I did not really fit into any category, and I thought that because I was not really defined by any particular area , I was a bit of a loser.
I took up dancing from an early age, I tried tap, modern, ballroom, but I was not fantastic at any of them. One teacher would ridicule me, and shout “how will you ever be a great dancer if you don’t even know the difference between your left or your right?!”.
Other children were invited to participate in exams in order to climb up to the next level of dance, or invited to attend local competitions. I was never “good enough” to participate in any of these.
Although I loved dancing, I ended up giving it up because I thought that I was not good at it, and wasting the teacher’s time by continuing.
Fast forward, and as an adult, after watching the joy on my niece and daughters faces when they performed at their end of term concerts I decided I would like to give dancing a go again.
I loved that the dance school they went to was one that was based on having fun, giving it a go, and being yourself, no based on being the best, or sitting exams etc. I did not want my daughter to grow up comparing herself to others, like I had.
So off I headed to start dancing again, I was so nervous, and felt inadequate once again.
I would come home each Wednesday night in tears, telling my husband that my teacher was bound to expel me because I was so bad at it. I lay awake at night berating myself for thinking that I was able to do such a thing like this, after all, I failed as it as a child, who was to say I would be any better as an adult?
Determined to prove even myself wrong, I practised and practised, and then it was time to perform. I felt like I was going to be sick, I was that nervous, but by the time it was our turn to go on stage, I felt that huge rush that I remember having when I used to perform as a child.
I was hooked!
So next term I headed back to dancing, determined to just do my best, not get caught up in putting myself down, or getting upset if I did not get the steps right away.
Here I am, 3rd term into dancing now, about to go on stage tomorrow once again.
Our class is filled with young, lithe 18 year olds, some that look set to be professional dancers, once again I started to compare myself with them, but stopped myself, all we can ever ask is to be ourselves, and the world would be pretty boring if we were all exactly the same.
We had our dress rehearsal on Wednesday night, and at the end we all got our usual certificates of achievement. One of my fellow dance buddies commented that these certificates bring out the 5-year-old in all of us, and I have to say I agree.
I read my certificate, and my breath was taken away for a moment:
The Teachers comments read :
WOW Alicia, when I watch you dance, the word FLAIR comes to mind. Your open chest, your chin high- such pride! You dance joyfully!
I had to re read it a few times to make sure I had not got the wrong persons certificate!
I took a moment to think back to the little girl who loved to dance, but never thought she was good enough.
When I finally decided that I can only ever ask to be as good as I can be, when I stopped comparing myself to others, when I told myself that I was good enough for me, then I finally found the true meaning of dance, the ability to express yourself freely, without fear.
Now that is more than good enough for me!