Have you ever felt like you just didn’t fit in, like you were in the wrong club or wrong group of people? Have you wondered if you missed the memo that told you your group was over there, not here?
I find myself in this spot rather often, especially when it comes to dance. I’m no longer in my teens or even twenties for that matter, and most of my age group are likely found in Yoga or Zumba, rather than ballet.
I knew auditions for the Nutcracker were coming up and I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for it. The thought of enduring the awkwardness of filling out the paperwork that requests my age and then dancing along side some phenomenally talented not so humble teenagers definitely made me hesitate.
Having had my first ballet class at age 23, which is a time when some are already retiring, I never really thought it would be an option for me to perform in a production of The Nutcracker. I’ve found performance opportunities over the years, but The Nutcracker has been a long time dream.
So Friday arrived and I surrendered to my desire. I ran into the local dance supply store for a new pair of tights and a new skirt so I wouldn’t look ratty. In the tiny shop, all these girls were trying on shoes and updating their dance attire, and talking about preparing for their Nutcracker audition.
It felt like Saturday was the unstated national Nutcracker Audition Day. Whether you’re 5, 15, or …”older.”
When the employee asked me if I was looking for dance attire for “my child” I laughed (I wanted to cry, but I laughed). I said, “oh, um no, actually I’m here for me.”
Every day life gives us opportunities to define our desires. We have the option to explore them or deny them. All too often, we don’t make the awkward choice to do the thing we’d really like to do because we feel a bit ridiculous, or we find excuses that make seemingly logical sense instead.
It was at this moment, at this very moment…. that I made the awkward choice.
I do love the precious times when I feel like I’m part of a group where I belong, but it’s been rather rare because in order to do what I really want to do, I often go alone or accept the feeling of being a bit out of place. Words can not express how ecstatic I was to meet another “older” dancer at the audition. We were so excited not to be the only “older” person there, that it gave us a lighter feeling, a fun flare and took away a few pounds of nerves.
I was the most centered, grounded, and present that I have ever been during an audition. The parts where I should have done well, I did. The parts where I would most likely mess up, I did. But that didn’t stop me. I was back on again.
I don’t know if my new friend or I will be in the production or not. We’ll know on Thursday. Of course, I’m really hoping we both make it, but however it unfolds, I’m happy I embraced the awkwardness and danced anyway.
So get out there and take the journey that you are wanting to take. Whether it’s a long time dream or a spontaneous desire, embrace awkward and have fun with it. I dare you!