You know how I can be when learning something new – I get all tangled up in helping my body move in the way my brain wants to and then I get annoyed with myself. My annoyance makes me tense and the tension makes me worse at whatever I was struggling with in the first place.
Yes, I do get on my own nerves just thinking about it.
One of the few times I have sidestepped this scenario is when I tried Zumba on the Xbox a few years ago. Instead of being frustrated when I didn’t ‘get’ it, I found myself laughing at my mistakes and then just carrying on. It was eye-opening.
Unfortunately, soon after I got into the habit of laughing at my ineptness, changes in the Xbox menu made it tricky for me to access Zumba easily. It was a tiny obstacle, but enough to deter me.
I remembered that feeling though. I am rarely casual about learning new things, and I hardly ever laugh in the process of making mistakes. I wanted to have that feeling again, in other contexts, but it didn’t happen.
Then, last spring, I was lucky enough to take a Nia dance class from my friend Elaine.
I made a mess of the movements* but I was laughing at myself. I was only getting about half of the choreography but I was having a grand time.
I have been trying to fit more Nia in ever since but I have only managed to make that happen in the past few weeks. Every Thursday morning, I go to class, flail around ridiculously and enjoy the hell out of it.
I can’t hear the changes in the music that tell me I should change steps. I routinely head in the wrong direction. I start too early and end too soon. As I told a friend of mine recently, I feel like I am gloriously awful at it.
I’m not putting myself down here. I’m probably not particularly bad at Nia – and the nature of Nia is that it doesn’t seem to matter how good you are anyway – I’m just celebrating the fact that I am not getting into that cycle of frustration while I learn. I am not the least bit concerned about how slowly I am learning – I am just reveling in the fun of the movements. I’m sure it helps that there are martial arts-type moves in the dances so I have a feeling of familiarity but, mostly, I’m just going with the feeling of glorious awfulness.
I LOVE being gloriously awful. I feel no pressure to get better at it – even though I am, no doubt, improving as we go along. Getting better just doesn’t seem like something I should focus on – having fun does.
Being in this space is really fun for me and it has my brain whirring – how can I bring this same feeling to other movement I am trying to learn? Can I enjoy being awful at a new pattern? Can I be gloriously awful at parts of Taekwon-Do while I learn?
I certainly intend to find out.
Are you gloriously awful at any forms of exercise? Is being awful part of the reason you enjoy it?
*Learning new moves WHILE matching them to music is a challenge, at the very least.
11 thoughts on “Gloriously Awful – Christine Heads to Dance Class”
I bought a cyr wheel (it’s a piece of circus equipment- like an enormous metal hula-hoop) almost 2 years ago and have been stuck on one fundamental trick the entire time. I’m also trying to learn to ride a unicycle and am definitely not a natural. I’m pretty skilled at some of the other things I do, but have found some of the best lessons are found in the ones where I’m a flailing beginner. The unicycle especially, I’ve had to accept that the only way to learn involves looking totally ridiculous 🙂
It sounds like you are having loads of fun. I applaud your efforts and your willingness to look totally ridiculous. 🙂
Dancing, flailing, laughing, and not criticising yourself sounds like a fabulous way to exercise to me!
It sure is! I hope you find a way to do the same. 🙂
I’m glad you are enjoying the class even though you don’t think you are perfect at it. I think you can apply that attitude to everything you do, even Taekwon-Do. You will be less stressed and will most likely perform better. Have fun!
Thanks, Master D. 🙂 I am trying to bring that same attitude to TKD – let’s see how it goes.
Gloriously awful is a wonderful description of the best way ever to fight off dementia. You are learning with your brain and your muscles and therefore building new neural networks rather than just building on existing strengths. I find it’s also a great way to figure out imbalances in my body. My main goofy fun these days is in belly dance, but I am also gloriously awful at ballet, dressage, and swimming the butterfly stroke.
Sorry for the delayed response!
It sounds like you know how to have all manner of fun. Forge ahead, gloriously!
Perhaps, all this time, fitness isn’t a thing, or a problem- maybe it’s supposed to be just simply, a byproduct of happiness…
Perhaps it is. 🙂
Comments are closed.