Tag Archives: fears

Embracing Imperfection

Posted on

“Our addiction to perfection will kill the artist,” – Rachael C. Smith

This past year I discussed how the only thing I quit was one of my jobs.

Looking back—that’s not true–I also quit something else: I quit trying to be perfect.

 Does that mean I stopped trying to be the best me I could be?

Absolutely not.

 It simply means that I’ve found a new respect for imperfection and that I’ve found a new way to embrace the fact that we will not always be the greatest at what we try.

 Because the truth is that so often we fill ourselves with doubts and fears and worries about trying new things — but not because we simply believe we won’t be able to physically or mentally do something, but because we are concerned that we won’t be able to do something perfectly.

And when we don’t succeed at doing something perfectly, we can often feel guilty or embarrassed and tear ourselves apart. But the truth is that many times we should feel proud just to have tried something in the first place, because LIFE isn’t about being perfect.

It’s about a willingness to be IMPERFECT.

It’s about a willingness to mess up and to learn from our mess-ups.

It’s about a willingness to expose our vulnerabilities—and also a willingness to embrace them.

Life Is about taking on challenges and testing our strengths and testing our limits. It’s about breaking out of our shell and finding out what works for us. It’s about refusing the word no and giving unlimited possibilities to where YES might take us. It’s about throwing perfection out the window—and embracing the fact that just once, or twice, or even many times we might not be the best  and most talented in the room—but at least we are there and at least we are trying.

I didn’t set out on the hobby year to be perfect, though many times I found myself doubting and worrying and scared that I wouldn’t be “perfect” at something new. AND many times, I believed that if I wasn’t perfect at something, I’d be disappointing.  But when I wasn’t perfect—the truth is I wasn’t disappointing—In fact, I was human. My friends, my teachers, and my instructors all accepted my flaws and welcomed them because they wanted to teach me. And because they welcomed the imperfection—I began to welcome it as well.

Once I put the thought behind me that “I had to be perfect”—I really began to give it my all–I really found how much I was truly capable of:

-Getting up on a unicycle with the help of friends.

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 11.08.38 AM

-Hanging upside down even briefly at an aerial yoga class.

aerial yoga

-Walking a wire

IMG_5256

-Swinging and flipping off of a trapeze

 DSC_0076

And 90 other activities and skills that I never even thought I’d have a chance to try.

So the next time that the worries and doubts and fears fill your mind, and the next time you think you can’t do something because you won’t “look perfect” or because you think you might not BE perfect when you try, I dare you to put those worries and those fears and those doubts behind you—because not only are they holding you back from trying something new, they are holding you back from understanding how wonderful it is NOT to be perfect. I dare you to embrace the imperfection, because what you’ll find out in the end is that you’ll be perfectly okay with being imperfect. 

 

Pon De FLO

Posted on

“You made it through!”

My new friend Jimmy laughs and takes a sip of his water as our Pon De Flo class comes to an end. I giggle, “Yes I did. That was a lot of fun!”

As some may remember, I kicked off the year by taking two group dance classes–pole dancing and hip hop.

On both occasions, I brought a set of nerves with me. With pole dancing, I was hoping to overcome difficulties accepting my self-image, and with hip-hop I was just trying to overcome the fear of being judged in a group setting. The truth is that prior to this year, group dance classes scared, for lack of a better term, the shit out of me. On a scale of 1-10, my fear of group dance classes ranked around an 8 or 9. To put that into perspective–when i jumped out of an airplane, my fear level was around a 1.5.

I always worried that I’d be judged for stepping the wrong way in Zumba–or for not wearing the right “dance attire,” (please see jazz dance to see what I mean). So if my friend, Tory of LIfe Vest Inside, had suggested the dance craze Pon De Flo before this year, I am pretty sure my response would have been “Pon De NO!” But instead, I jumped at the opportunity for another dance class.

(Sidenote: Pon De FLO is a combination of Caribbean and reggae dance that requires a willingness to have fun!).

As I arrived at Ripley Grier for the 3:00 class with Heather Fay, I didn’t think twice. I slid off my sweat pants to reveal my Princeton field hockey shorts and grabbed a spot on the floor. I looked around and noticed that this class had attracted a great diversity of people. There were men. There were women. And there were people of all sizes, smiling and getting prepped for the next hour and a half of high energy dance. ‘People must really love this,’ I thought to myself. And for a few minutes, I decided to mingle with some of the veterans.

“Get ready to sweat a lot,” said one. “You’ll definitely get hot,” added another. “Just go with the flow,” mentioned Jimmy.

Before I knew it we were flowing right along. “Left, right, left, right, shimmy, left, right, left, right, shimmy.” I kept reciting what Heather was doing in front of the class, in my head. I moved my hips every which way, bounced my booty, and waved my arms. About a quarter of the way through the class, Heather told everyone to move up a bit because the people in the last row didn’t have room. As a member of the last row, I joked, “It doesn’t matter, it’s not like I know what I am doing quite yet anyway.” My back row companions laughed along with me. Just a year prior, I’d be too scared to even speak to another person in a group dance class. Now I was making friends.

A few minutes later, when a step caused us to turn around, forcing me to suddenly be a part of the front row  of the class, I momentarily panicked. However, instead of losing my composure, I just began to bust a move and hope it was right. I can definitely tell you this much: It did not look graceful–but it didn’t matter: It was very easy to see that no one was judging me–not even myself.

I didn’t realize this of course until half way through the class when I had an epiphany–or a hobby breakthrough: As I began giggling to myself while I messed up another dance move (sorry Heather!), I noticed that I didn’t care if people thought I was America’s next best dancer–I didn’t care if people saw me mess up–and I didn’t care if my right foot accidentally went when my left foot was supposed to. Eventually, I felt tears begin to fill my eyes. I wasn’t in pain–and I wasn’t ready to run out of the room screaming. No, instead the tears had developed because a great amount of pride had come over me. I realized in that moment, that the fears and worries that I had carried with me just 11 months prior had now dissipated completely. While it may sound insignificant when written down, it was one of the highest points of my hobby year, because it had meant that the hobby year was coming full circle–revealing bits and pieces about myself and how far I’d come, without me realizing that it would.

After clearing out my eyes, I came back to the present moment and realized that the moves were much faster now. I laughed some more. “Just keep dancing like no one is watching, Libs,” I thought to myself. Then I shook it out. “This feels pretty freaking good.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

http://www.pondeflo.com

All that matters is that you jump: Trapeze

“All that matters is that you jump.”

One of my trapeze instructors whispers this to me as I am suddenly about to swing off a platform that feels as though it is miles from the ground.

I take a deep breath, bend my knees and then leap-I leap for my fears of heights- for my fears of falling- I leap for my friends – for proving that my last turbulent experience dealing with heights hasn’t held me back- and I leap for myself. And I soar- like a bird. I feel the air rush past my face. I hear for my commands from below. Legs up. See my hands. Let go. Look for Brooklyn. Enjoy the ride. And boy was I enjoying the the ride.

I listen for my commands again– Legs down, and “up,” which in trapeze lingo means… Drop.

“Awesome,” I proclaim and I get giddy about trying it again.

Trapeze was one of the greatest activities I’ve tried this year. Joined by good friends, I knew that this was the best way to kick off a Saturday morning. And not only was it fun–but it taught me a great lesson as well.

“All that matters it that you jump.”

The words continue to echo.

A metaphor flashes before my eyes.

Every day asks us to jump- to make a choice.

We can either stand still or make a change. It may not literally mean a jump from the sky- but it could rather be as simple as a phone call to an old friend, or family member we’ve lost touch with. It could be taking a new job–or having the courage to ask for a raise at your current one.

In the end, all that matters is having the courage to jump.

Amy

Lindsay

 Rena

 Christine

Special Thanks
Brent Hankins

_____________________________________________________________________

Trapeze School New York
TSNY
http://www.trapezeschool.com

%d bloggers like this: