“S” Wars

December 15, 2012

Sexy Subtleness Silly Self-confidence

 

These are the “s”-words I have recently had to face in hip-hop class. It’s been an awkward and self-conscious-inflicting experience…. which is bizarre considering those are the exact opposites of the words written above…..

 

It all started in a class when, in honor of the birthday girl, we had to embody our “sexy selves”.

 

SIDEBAR: I opted to embody someone else’s sexy self ‘cuz frankly I think hers is better than mine.

 

The goal of the class was to find the subtlety of the movements. (Apparently being overtly sexy is not enough of a challenge… although my awkward hip movements are prepared to argue that point). As I flailed around in a desperate attempt to approximate the intended movements, Giulia made a point of asking us to take the opportunity to “be ourselves”. For the record, I found this remarkably difficult to attain while trying to channel someone else. I let myself stare at the floor, avoiding eye contact with myself in the mirror, avoiding the embarrassment of recognizing that I was trying to learn the class lesson… worse yet, avoiding the embarrassment of potentially finding out I was succeeding at being sexy.

 

The following week, now honoring the effects of sleep-deprivation mixed with cold-and-flu season, we had to embody our “silly selves”.

 

SIDEBAR: Yet again I picked another’s self to embody.

 

This time the goal was not only to “be ourselves” (which was still remarkably difficult when trying to be someone else) but also to find the confidence to laugh at yourself (which you would think would be easier given that I was trying to be someone else… yeah, not so much). Yet again, I found myself staring at the floor, avoiding eye contact with myself in the mirror, avoiding the embarrassment of recognizing that I was trying to learn the class lesson… worse yet, avoiding the embarrassment of potentially finding out I was succeeding at being silly.

 

That last part sound familiar? Not terribly original on my part (as I have clearly mastered the  art of the “copy”/”paste” function). The truth is, I felt equally awkward in both classes. This realization led me to today’s blog entry. Shouldn’t “sexy” and “silly” evoke different reactions? Shouldn’t “subtle” and “self-confident” be on opposite sides of my comfort spectrum? How could I have been feeling (and reacting) the same in both moments?

 

It doesn’t take a psych degree to figure out that I was scared. But scared of what?  Looking silly? Even I can recognize the inherent ridiculousness of holding back in the “silly” class for fear of looking “silly”….. seeing as how that’s the whole point. And besides, that can’t be the answer for both the sillyclass and the sexy class, right? But if I’m not scared of looking silly, then what is it? Scared of looking “unattractive”? That’s equally ridiculous… considering “sexy” is really just another word for attractive. Maybe it’s both?!? I have identical twin fears – of looking silly and of looking unattractive – which both manifest in me feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Great… Let’s recap for a moment:

 

I was so scared of looking silly that I wouldn’t let myself look silly and I was holding back from trying to look attractive for fear of looking unattractive.

 

Not my best logical reasoning, is it?

 

But an excellent reason to have been in class those days. I hated every minute of pretending like Usher’s words were going to help me seduce who-knows-who or acting the fool as Cee-Lo likened himself to an Atari. I hated it…. ‘cuz I was doing it.

 

If you’re not feeling awkward and slightly confused,

 

you are probably not pushing yourself hard enough.

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