Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back to the Lab Again

"Wanna dance again?"  I asked the stunning blonde with the half-inked tattoo.

"Nah, I'm good."

Ouch.  Cue the Bill Murry scene from "What About Bob" in the therapists' office.  "ow....ow...OW!"

(To add insult to injury, she was actually a lousy dancer, even worse than me.  THAT'S how much of a fool she thought I was.)  

I've been hitting the salsa clubs with an intensity, and besides the social component, I've gained valuable insight about teaching (by being a hopeless beginner at something), confidence, and rejection.  It's this last point I'd like to mention.  

  I got an email from a comrade yesterday, and she's wondering if she has the courage to share some of her (excellent) writing with the world, and her classmates.  I get it.  I'm still terrified of singing, even though I do it all the time.  When something is so personal, and we care about it so much, the stakes get dizzingly high, and I usually fold.  

  Salsa has been teaching me otherwise.  Granted, it's easier for me to get shut down, because while I mean to get good, I never want to go pro.  My music is my (current) life's work, so there's a layer of insulation and the ability to laugh off my epic failures on the dance floor.  That being said, it's still not easy to stare down that prospect of rejection each and every dance, from the ask, to the actual dance part of it.  Sometimes girls will just stop dancing with you, and say a really catty "thaaank you" as they ooze away.  Meanies!  But I keep going back.  I have tape on my living room floor where I practice.  I watch YouTube, I go to the classes, I stomp the feet, I gradually stomp less, the moves are getting better, I see improvement, I stomp the feet again.  If the girls are snarky, there's always more.  And there's always another audience if the first one doesn't like it.

The song "Lose Yourself" applies.  "He keeps on forgetting."  "It's back to the lab again."  "Oh, there goes gravity."

  But the fear of rejection isn't deciding what I do anymore.  I drink some caffeine, and hit that floor.  I know at the very least, I'll get a good Facebook status out of it.  I'm doing it over, and over, and over.  It's getting easier (both the dancing, and the courage.)

  Now, I sure sound like a big talker.  I need to do this with artistic stuff, and I plan to.  It sure has been an interesting experiment in psychology, learning on the fly, and that "few seconds of courage" to punch that fear right in the face (or at least stomp it's fashionable foot.  I'm so sorry, Lindsey.  If you're reading this, I'll take you out for a pedicure after you get out of the doctor's office.)  

  So, to Comrade A., I say...

For those about to rock, we salute you!  Have fun, give it a shot, and you've got this!

- Josh


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