on dancing & why art is so scary

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I used to be a dancer. But somehow I never felt like I really was one. Most of the dancers I knew had been dancing since they were 2 years old, doing pirouettes at 4, the splits at 5, and fouettes at 6. I started dance at 13, starting out in the recreational pom class. I was too old, I felt, just beginning. But I loved it. I loved the challenge, the discipline, the energy and eventually, when I got to competitive dance, I loved the competition. I loved the art of it, using dance as a way to express emotion.

Now, I am a dance teacher, and I feel so inadequate, all the time. I teach at a gym, for a beginner class, so it is very basic and very much based more on fun and exercise than anything else. I was thinking about why I feel so inadequate, while laying in bed, the other night. Why do I feel like I can’t teach dance well? I am almost always expecting someone to come in my class, ranting about how much of a fraud I am. It has yet to happen, but I am always so worried that one day I will be “found out”. 

And I think it is because I feel inadequate, not just with teaching dance but also with my knowledge, that makes creating so scary, for me.  I haven’t finished school, and I am not sure when I will finish at this point. Which of course makes me worry what others think of me, why I’m not in school, a young twenty something wasting her life away. And don’t even get me started on writing. Writing is something I do as a hobby. Do I want to make it a career? Yes, very much so. Do I put in the work every day to make it so? Sure do. Do I feel like I am an expert or even at all qualified to write a book. Um, no. I am so far from prepared, so far from being “ready” to write a book, but I need the act of writing, for no other reason than it heals me and helps me express myself better than I can in speaking.

Art is subjective in every way. When you make, create, build, write something, once you put it out there-once it is finished- it is ready for judgment. For criticism. For dislike and disagreement. I don’t know about you, but I like not being judged. I like being able to go about the way I want, not worrying about other people’s thoughts about my art. When I started teaching however, I really had to practice being okay with imperfect. I had to be okay with mess-ups, with things going wrong, with grace. 

What I am learning is that art is subjective because we create not only for ourselves, but I also think we create for others. I create because I love to and I need to, and that I am not willing to change, on the basis of fear. But I am willing to do the work required of me to accept that I will not make something perfect. I will not create something to fit within someone’s perfect idea or box. But I will create because I need it, and I believe that my story, my dances, my ideas are meaningful. I may be the only one who thinks so, but I will be fine with that. I will accept the criticism when it is called for, I will accept vulnerability and I will be a person who is everyday, working to be a little more secure with my art.

Becoming a writer is going to take some courage. Maybe a counselor. A lot of encouragement and even more prayer. I will have to do the hard work of sending my ideas out and waiting for agonizing weeks or even months to hear anything back. I will at some point, return to school, to learn more about the work I want to do, to learn from the people who spent almost a lifetime to learn the craft of writing and language. I want to be good at it, and I know that to be good at something is subjective in itself, and sometimes when I am told I am good at something, I sometimes think they are not being honest with me. I think that because they are my family or close friends that they have to say something nice to me. Which is not at all true, because they have all told me, in the kindest way, that they would tell me if I was bad at it. 

I will continue to create, do, and make because that is who I am, created in the image of the Greatest Creator. He instilled in me the desire to choreograph, to write, to make, because He knows that without art, our world would be just a little less beautiful. 

 

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