I Joined a Modern Dance Troupe. No, for real.

I know I used to be interesting. In my mind, I started out pretty interesting with a motley racial, religious, out-of-the-ordinary family structural blend. Then somewhere along my line, I thought I lost it and became- not boring – just ordinary. So I started trying to overcompensate by going interesting places or trying to be annoyingly helpful. Then I became a mom and gave up. I think I’ve been stuck here for a while.

Today, it came back. It happened after some stomach-knotted reading of Dr. Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection on vulnerability. Get real or be lost. Be afraid to fail / be imperfect / uncool / not meet everyone else’s expectations of you and lose yourself. Today, I stepped through a lot of personal barriers and into an open-call modern dance rehearsal. On the heels of Yom Kippur, you’d think, “Dear, um, is this what you call repentance?” My response, “Why yes, I think it is.”

Last week, my mom-self was surfing the internet for freebie things for the kids and I landed on the Free Fall Baltimore site with free events of all types. One of the categories was dance, and one of the options was a 4-week open-call to all levels of dancer or non-dancer, interested in being in a modern dance performance in November.

Dance. I loved dancing from when I was little til about now. But in public? Self-conscious, would-prefer-not-to-be-seen me, in a REAL MODERN dance performance at the Baltimore Museum of Art, flanked by performances that merge the themes of autism with the Bermuda triangle? Sigh. OMG. How weird?

So, let me nip this in the bud, my self-saboteur says: “Dear, do you think we could hack stepping away four Sundays in a row from 3-5 for dance rehearsals?” I meant: me stepping away. You watch the kids.

Him: “Well, we’d have to find someone to watch the kids.”

Me: Why? Where would you be?

Him: You meant both of us, right?

Me: Of course (not. WHAAAAA??? What’s he thinking????? Why would he come? I’m so embarrassed for so many reasons.)

My husband is the cutest living room dancer. Running in circles with the kids, shimmying, with socks on his ears. Modern dance. Not so much. I probe, I prod, why in the world? Okay, you’re doing this for me? WHAAA??? It’ll be more fun this way…. oysh. Okay. Fine. Of course you’re right. Come. Let’s do this together. I supportively relent.

So today, we call a friend to see if she could watch our kids who are tired, unnapped, and unaccustomed to our leaving them ever, especially in the middle of the day. At 2:30. “So, when do you need me?” Me: “Oh, you know, would 15 minutes be okay?”

My inner-saboteur was at play all day (note the, not calling someone to watch the kids til 15 min. before we should have been on the road): “Oh honey, you have so much work to do. Why don’t you stay home?” “Oh, the kids are so cranky, it’s not fair to ask her to come now.” “Oh, fine, I’ll ask her.” “Oh fine, she said she’d come.”

And we finally leave the house at 2:55. It starts at 3. And it’s wonderful. We were self-conscious. We were asked to interpret in dance the words: “instant photograph” and “information overload” as a pair and show it to the group (okay, so we’re no: fill in the name of a modern choreographer). We had to teach it to two other pairs. We learned 2 other pairs’ interpretive dances. We began learning the choreography for the performance, and we could barely keep up. We had to tell the choreographer about our negiah thing.

And it was great. And it’s totally scary to step into finding out if I’m really interesting with other people watching. Even my husband. But it feels good to step out on the ledge and take a peek. And to learn that it’s not about whether I’m interesting – it’s about being brave enough to pursue what really interests me.


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