Anyone who knows me well enough understands that anything that involves putting me in front of an audience is not likely to happen. Wii at a party? Nope. Karaoke? Not on your life.
I was recently presented with the opportunity to do Zumba in a public park. Normally I would scoff at the idea – the mere suggestion would be met with a “hell no”. Dance? To choreography I don’t know? In a public park? Everything about the concept made me squeamish – except the fact that Zumba is my single favorite source of exercise. For Zumba I’d do some pretty uncharacteristic things.
Not to mention this year has been one of stepping outside my comfort zone. I am moving away from the cushions of being safe and comfortable. I’ve spent a weekend in VT with women I did not know. I’ve left the security of full time employment. I’ve gone to networking events solo. I am pushing my own envelope and with each nudge I am a gain another ounce of fearlessness. Then, somehow, I am inspired to do something else I wouldn’t normally do.
So reluctantly, I agreed.
Just about 20 minutes before class was to start, I got a call. The person I was going with wanted to meet there instead of going together – which alleviated any form of pressure. It was a clear exit sign – if I didn’t have the nerve to do it, she still could. I wouldn’t be inhibiting her in anyway. Then more excuses started to pour in. I was still incredibly sore from switching up a few aspects of my workout just one day prior. It was too hot to dance outside. I’d managed to get myself acquainted with each excuse, any and everyone of them were justifiable.
I assured myself that it wouldn’t be so bad if I did not go. The difference this time was that I knew it, I acknowledged it, then I went anyway.
When I arrived at the park there were about twenty people participating and fifteen more spectators. I considered becoming number sixteen, sitting on the sidelines and wishing I had the bravado to be twenty-one. But I’ve done that enough for two lifetimes, what I haven’t done enough is finding comfort in being uncomfortable. Fear has taken up residence my spirit for so long that I’ve avoided potential attention or the chance of discomfort.
I joined the crowd. Alone. My buddy hadn’t yet come to provide me with a distraction. I danced until she came unphased by my new role at center stage.
I succeeded at moving my attention away from how I was being perceived and just did it. Ambivalence found me dancing to the reggaetone songs of yesteryear. And you know what?
It wasn’t so bad.