In a bizarre turn of events, I started teaching dance fitness* at my gym last month. This is weird for a number of reasons—but the main one is that I’m an introvert, as evidenced by the four books I published in the last two years. Because booking requires sitting and quieting for long periods of time, which is a natural thing for me.
(Critical Failures author, Bob Bevan, humorously poked fun in his latest blog post at introverts who toot their own horns. Of course introverts can do all the same things as everyone else, it’s just effing exhausting.)
A second reason teaching dance is weird is that I had surgery last year, and while it wasn’t as significant as the removal of a second head or a vestigial twin, removing your thyroid messes with your weight, metabolism, and energy level. But I’m kind of stubborn, especially when someone tells me I can’t do something.
Tired and introverted, when teaching dance fitness requires high energy and shaking your butt in front of people? SIGN ME UP! But for me, it’s totally worth going against my nature and risking looking like an idiot. Why? Because I like dancing. And screw anyone who says I can’t do it. (Are you sensing a pattern here?)
Without further ado, five things that kick my dignity in the crotch on a regular basis:
1. Public dancing
You say, “Yeah, but I can’t dance.”
I call B.S.
Saying you can’t dance is along the same lines as “I don’t read.” Of course you read (unless you haven’t learned, so who’s reading this to you?). And of course you can dance. People without legs can dance. People without rhythm can dance.
Some people dance to their own tunes.
Ask yourself one question: do you want to dance? Because that’s the only answer that matters.
No one can destroy your dignity more than your kid. No one.
I have two extremely verbal kids. My girl has been a crazy cat lady since birth when she came out of the womb wearing a housecoat and bitching about “kids these days.” When she was in kindergarten, I walked her to the bus stop every morning and stood with the other parents until the bus came. Snarling, my daughter stood next to me while the other kids ran in circles, giggling and screaming.
She resented having to be near them, having to be out in the world, having been made to wear a coat and shoes. And when I reached to brush her hair out of her eyes, she proclaimed spitefully and creatively, “YOUR FINGERS SMELL LIKE VAGINA.”
Yeah. That’s my daughter, making the neighbors think I’m a furious masturbater since 2009.
I’m telling you about the horrifying stuff. This, like the actual events leading up to birth—things that have to do with stirrups and exams and showing medical interns your Employee Only areas—have a way of trampling on your dignity for the sake of…
What was the reason?
Oh yeah. Kids. Kids are great. Totally worth the occasional humiliation.
3. Powdered donuts
I am usually very careful to announce when things I’m talking about are metaphors or euphemisms. Listen very closely: THE DONUT IS A METAPHOR. But it’s also literal.
There’s no way to eat a powdered donut without making a mess. And by that I mean, don’t avoid partaking in things just because they’re going to be complicated and messy.
Also, don’t avoid eating delicious donuts just because you might look like an idiot with powder on your face.
4. Foreign languages
A few years ago, I was in the piazza in the center of Siena, Italy with my mom, looking at touristy things—barrels of pasta, jars of jam and olive oil—when I eavesdropped on two Chinese ladies complaining about how disgusting bags of pink candies were. “Not good to eat?” I asked them in my broken Mandarin. And they giggled and turned red when they realized I understood them. At that moment I realized that, not only had I somehow turned into my father, who always, always talked with people around him, I’d also spoken to strangers in another language, no less. This, from a person who didn’t speak in public until 9th grade.
It made me feel good in a way I can’t entirely describe. Like I’d forged a connection with other people, and had somehow made up for asking in Spanish in a restaurant several years earlier for a testicle to take home my chimichanga leftovers.
But I overcame the Testicle Incident with moderate success. BITE ME, Testicle Incident.
5. Selling your books, art, or whatever.
The same goes for creating something and putting it Out There for other people to buy it. If you’re lucky, the act of creating it goes smoothly, but then you’re left with the task of selling and marketing it.
Talking about your books to strangers in the street can feel like you’re pushing a religion on them.
As awful as it can be, you still have to try it. You never know when you might find success.
*I teach both CIZE Live, which is a hip hop routine that you learn during a single class, and MixxedFit, which is explosive dancing, twerking, booty-popping mixed with some boot camp toning. I have not posted dance videos on my YouTube channel. Note the entry about donuts.
If you have a minute to talk about my lord and savior…I mean, my snarky mystery books, look here.