Updated: Jun 12, 2019
For a large part of my life I was the awkward, chubby kid. I was clumsy as all get out. In fact, I have fallen down stairs, ran into walls, and broken my arm twice, once in the shower (yes, I was by myself). I did not like my body or the feeling of being in it. Some of the many ways I degraded myself were by eating shitty food, constantly saying horrible things to myself, and not really ever acknowledging or taking care of myself. As if all that wasn’t enough, I found out at the ripe old age of 21 that I would need a hip replacement. This revelation just furthered my belief that my body was in fact my arch nemesis. My body was something that seemed to betray me over and over again. For almost a decade I lived in pretty excruciating pain - working out, having sex, walking, sleeping, riding motorcycles – pretty much anything “normal” people took for granted usually left me curled up in a ball crying my eyes out. But in 2008, I found myself at the Mayo Clinic and met an amazing doctor who agreed that it was horseshit that I was told to wait until I was “old enough” to have the surgery. It turns out having a hip replacement at 29 was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I picked up yoga shortly thereafter and began to develop some of the body awareness I was lacking in my youth. It helped me to gain confidence and to see my body as the gift it is meant to be.
Along my personal journey, I started getting into mediation and developing my spiritual practice. I began to learn and see the link between our emotions and our bodies. I learned that much of my prior clumsiness was in large part due to my being super ungrounded in my body. When we are ungrounded, we have an imbalance in our root chakra which doesn't allow us to really be in our bodies. Imbalances can be caused by fear, trauma, illness and emotional wounds. This chakra is the source of our stability, safety and basic needs such as food, water and shelter. Being unbalanced here left me feeling in my head and spacey all of the time, anxious about damn near everything. Over the next few years, I made what seemed to be super slow progress towards becoming more at home in this body of mine. Almost a year ago, a few people suggested I take dance lessons to further assist with my growth. I figured there could be worse ways to spend my time. In fact, since I have always loved shaking my booty, it was not a horrible idea. So, when a friend of mine recommended a good instructor, I decided to check him out.
Last July, I started taking private lessons with Shawn Michael White at a local dance studio, Dancing with Victoria. Talk about taking me out of my comfort zone and straight into my body. It was a good thing I loved dancing so much because if not, I would have quit. Just like the guitar, dancing would show me just how hard I was on myself, always expecting perfection. I mean, I had only been dancing six months, but damnit I should look like the instructor by now!!! Those dancing shows make it look so easy, but we forget most of them have been dancing for decades. Being aware of the placement of each part of your body at any given moment is much more difficult than it sounds, especially for someone of my former clumsy status. However, it’s also one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. After each lesson it would feel like I left the studio on cloud nine, counting steps in my head.
When I was given the opportunity to perform at the studio’s nine-year anniversary this past weekend, I had very mixed feelings. I found myself nervous, but excited to do something so out of my comfort zone. I was not one who ever strove to be in the spotlight, so the performance aspect was probably the biggest challenge. But it seemed a fitting next step to these last few months which have really been about me stepping into my power and confidence in a way I always wanted but was fearful I would never achieve. During the performances, I even goofed a few times but didn’t totally rake myself over the coals! Baby steps are bueno 😊. I’ve found that building confidence and strength in who we are happens when we get ourselves out of our comfort zones and accomplish something new. Those little accomplishments along the way are something to be celebrated. Every time we enter the room and do the thing, it’s one more small step towards living our authentic self. Many times, the accomplishment can just be the doing and not the perfection of the thing. Even though challenging ourselves can be scary as hell, it does have the effect of making us feel alive on a level many of us never get to experience. When we survive and thrive despite our nerves and anxiety, we step into a place of vulnerability and authenticity that only inspires others to do the same.
I challenge you this week to consider the thing that you would really love to do but have been putting off due to the litany of excuses you've compiled. That dance or yoga class, doing open mic night, asking that special someone out. Whatever it is - do it! This life it short and we'll never get to be the best version of ourselves if we don't try a little.
Love and light ya'll, Robin