Or maybe it was the “strong conviction” I had behind that “chest pop.” Maybe it was the slightly bent knee I had in my split. I had worked on it. My sister had told all of the older girls on the squad (she was popular and what she didn’t have in popularity she had in boldness so they were going to know I was trying out and they had better pay attention. But that’s another story.) that I could do a split. Maybe it just wasn’t my time. Or maybe, as I would hear many times in my life, I wasn’t the “type.”
As such a young age, that’s hard to process. I only knew how to fight back in two ways then; cry and criticize them every time I saw them cheer and then create my own space. I knew right then and there that if I wanted to do my one and a half steps when everybody was doing one step, not because of defiance but because that’s how I FELT it then I’d have to be o.k. with walking alone and dancing alone. And that’s how I ended up here.
So, when people call me popular, I almost shutter. What I am is not popular, I’m blessed. Because WHO I want to be has trumped WHAT I want to be.
Don’t get me wrong. I am no saint in this thing. I have had my moments. I am not majorly competitive but I have struggled with self-esteem quite a few times in my life and if I felt like someone was threatening what I had, I would “quietly” (in my introverted voice) aim for the jugular vain. That means I wouldn’t go after them to sabotage them. I’d just go into my lab and kick up my stuff. Big time. Because I’ve always mostly been in the dance field and have always been the one without the technical background (and have ALWAYS been reminded of that), I always had to work extra hard to even be on the same playing field with someone who had been dancing since they were three. Same thing with fitness. I started teaching fitness classes when I was 29 1/2. I was 30, maybe REAL close to 31 before I ever taught my first cardio class (did I mention I thought I was dying? No, seriously.) I ran my first (and probably only) half marathon at 37 years old. Yet people look to me as a symbol of strength and health. I didn’t set out to popular. That was so high school when I wanted that boy to take me to prom and he wouldn’t because he was worried about his reputation and just refused to wear orange…
Oh sorry….back to the story….
The desire to be popular doesn’t drive me. Every instructor would love to teach a class of 150 EVERY night. But I have been blessed with those numbers (not every night) because I teach 15 the way I teach 150. I serve people, not popularity. There isn’t a day that I teach that I am not reviewing my music or my steps (no matter HOW many times I’ve done them or whatever title I have). I talk to my students. I pray for my students and clients. I pray that I am only the catalyst for someone changing their life and am NEVER the focus. WHO I want to be is someone who cared and made a difference in someone’s life. Being the girl in the cute clothes with the banging music isn’t a bad thing. It’s just not the only thing. And following WHO you want to be means you can do your “one and half” without being apologetic.