I am not a good dancer.
I thought I was. As a girl I would leap down the hallway and imagine my outstretched legs were parallel with the floor. I was a swan, a deer, a sugar plum fairy. I did the positions and barre work in class, but my favorite was always the free dance at the beginning. The classical music would crescendo and I just knew I would be discovered. The teacher would gasp and say, “Aimée! You’re a star! Darling, you’re just too good for the rest of us.”
Instead one day I was really going for it, spinning and leaping, imagining the stage, and the teacher said, “Aimee. That is NOT ballet. Enough. Please come to the barre.” I lowered my chin and joined the class. From then on, that woman, and ballet, were dead to me. When it came time to sign up for the next session my mom pointed above the desk, “The sign says, ‘We Dance for Joy!’ Do you dance for joy?” Flat and resolute I said, “No. I hate it.” And mom put her checkbook in her bag and we walked out.
A few years later I told my mom I wanted to try Jazz class. Maybe I had seen an episode of “Fame.” The class was all junior high girls, gorgeous, busty, curvy girls with make up and attitudes. I was a very underdeveloped skinny 11 year old. Everyone else wore all black leotards and tights. For some reason I chose to wear burgundy tights. These girls felt the music in their souls and surrendered to it. I was the awkward little sister imitating the Tin Man. It was a long 9 weeks.
In high school many of my friends were on the Bay High Rockettes (the school mascot was a Rocket). They told me I should totally try out. I went to the after school practices, along with 60+ other girls, to learn the moves before tryouts. There were gloves with different colors on each side, go go boots, and I think batons? There was choreography and 5-6-7-8. I went to the practice each day and earnestly tried. Then they had us do the routine in groups of 4. I shudder to think of it. When it was over, my friend’s older sister, one of the captains, sat down indian style in front of me and said, “Okay, um-” And I cut her off, “I know. I can’t do it. It’s okay.” She encouraged me to keep practicing and work on it all weekend. Nope.
I went to a college that prohibited dancing. Enough said.
Then I had kids. There’s no way to really mentally prepare for feeding twin babies at the same time. I used 5 pillows and our entire king sized bed to nurse them for hours and hours. But then we graduated to solid food in highchairs. Holy Moses. Corral the babies, roll up their sleeves, put on bibs, strap them in, clip in the trays, stir the food, find the spoons, and Go. I sweat just thinking about it. Food spat, spoons thrown, backs arched, attention lost. Every day I was trying new strategies. And then one day, with a bowl of squash in one hand, and a suction cup spoon in the other, I DANCED. I twirled and jumped and smiled and bang! and pop! I had their full attention. In between my moves I gave them spoonfuls. We all laughed.
I got over myself. I still sing and dance and use crazy voices to get my kids’ attention in the privacy of our own home. My 11 year old twins beg me not to, but smiles lurk under their scorn. Video of Elaine Bad Dancing on Seinfeld:
One month ago today, September 9, 2015, I put on a Chicken Suit and danced the Chicken Dance at my daughter’s bus stop, let it be recorded and posted, and $10,500 was donated to empower and educate children in Haiti through Haiti Partners. (You can read that crazy store here.) It was a big stretch for me. Ridiculous in every way. Silent Video of the Bus Stop Chicken Dance:
But not ridiculous enough. This Sunday, Greta and I are flying to Haiti to visit the Haiti Partners Children’s Academy. We are going to meet the kids, see their community, and sit in their classrooms. At some point I’m going to put on my Chicken Suit and we are all going to dance together. Stay tuned. Video of the children at the Academy doing the Chicken Dance in September:
I will be unfolding the idea of Surrender throughout the month of October.
Yesterday’s story of Surrender: Giving Birth
To read more about our shared spiritual journey and questions, you can read here: Soul
You are loved.
© Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2015.