Skateboarding, dancing and the art of learning merrily
I am not afraid of looking ridiculous.
My first few times on a skateboard surely fit the bill. Moving 0.2 miles per hour along the walkway behind my old apartment, I was sure I was perpetually just about to fall and crack my skull. This meant I spent much, much more time off the skateboard than on it: Ack! A leaf! I better hop off and walk past it just in case!
Slowly I grew a little more confident. I moved faster and ended up stumbling less; the speed actually helped me cruise over small obstacles my wheels would otherwise trip over. I was eventually able to skate after my running son while holding his tricycle in one hand, much to the mirth of people I rolled by. “You’re one fun mom!”
Yesterday I stepped on the skateboard for the first time in many, many moons. I did better than I expected, but not nearly as well as when I last rode consistently.
But you know what? It was a blast.
This fits the bill for something else I’ve start doing recently.
Inspired by my newly beloved So You Think You Can Dance, I’m teaching myself hip-hop. In my kitchen.
I’ve tried dancing a couple of times before, but stopped quickly each time because I was terrible. Because, you know, beginners should be great.
My mom and youngest sister often went ballroom dancing together. I joined them once, but was so awed by their mad moves that I quickly backed out. I couldn’t dance like that! Not ever! Clearly it was rational to compare the skill of my first dances with their skill after taking numerous classes. Yep.
Rational or not, I’ve continued to feel like dancing probably wasn’t something I could do. Watching So You Think You Can Dance recently has filled me with a longing to move along, but a simultaneous sense of impossibility of ever doing so well.
One particular dance–my favorite of the many I’ve watched the last few weeks!–had me itching to join in. So. Much. Fun! And yet, I was still sure I couldn’t do it.
Lucky for me, Ellen joined in a parody of that same dance later in the season after its original dancer, Alex Wong, was forced to withdraw following an injury.
Watching her made me laugh. Did she move like Alex? No. Not remotely.
Did it look like she was having a blast? Yes. Absolutely! I was inspired.
So now, as I make ridiculous faces stumbling through the most basic hip hop moves, I remember I’m OK looking ridiculous.
Looking ridiculous is part of how I’ll get to looking confident, even if I’ll probably never be mistaken for a professional dancer.