Boxed In

Sometimes I wish I could dance like Justin Bieber.

It’s true.

But long, long ago I decided that I am not a dancer. This is in part due to my experiences at the Dance Team clinics I attended as an elementary schooler at my school in which I could never seem to remember the order of the steps (or probably execute them properly), and as a result I was always a half-step behind, watching the backs of the more talented girls in the front meticulously, pretty much just copying what they were doing. This decision could also be due to my small stint in the musical theater circuit (read: small town community theater) in which I played the role of a flapper-esque dancer and had to perform in front of a large group of people alongside girls who actually had some sort of experience. I made it through, but I still struggled at remembering what steps came next. I’m also confident that I was the only girl in my elementary school that had never taken any form of dance lessons. Not an exaggeration.

Every time I see really awesome dancers I secretly wish I could make my body do the same thing, but then resolve to believe that I could never do that, and that’s okay.

But how did I come to that conclusion as a default?

I mean, every dancer had to start somewhere. Sure, natural talent is always a factor, but it’s probably safe to say almost every professional dancer has undergone some sort of formal training to get to that point. Why couldn’t I do the same thing?

At what point in our lives do we start giving ourselves reality checks and just deciding we can no longer try something because we didn’t start early enough?

I’ve heard this story lately (it keeps coming up, though I don’t know where it originated) that someone did a study wherein they went to a kindergarten class and asked “Who here is a good singer?” and most of the kids raised their hands. When that person asked the same question to older kids, perhaps in elementary school, only some of the kids raised their hands. By the time they asked the Jr. High/High School students, very few of the kids raised their hands to the exact same question.

How does this happen? The world tells us that if we’re not “good” at something, we can’t do it. And you aren’t good at it now, you’re probably not going to become good at it, so just keep doing what you’re doing.

Who ever said you had be good at singing in order to sing? Why can’t you just sing because you like it?

Because I’ve now noticed that I think that way, as many of us probably do, I’m trying to box myself in less and less. Just because I’ve never done something or am not currently “good” at it doesn’t mean I’m going to completely count it out anymore.

Not that I’m going to seek out a hip-hop dance class any time soon. But I could be the next Beyonce. You don’t know. (Note: There are perhaps one million reasons why in all likelihood I am not the next Beyonce.)

Is there anything you’ve been wanting to try or learn but thought you couldn’t?