What I Learned from Aerial Dance
I used to dance and perform all the time ever since I was little. I liked it. You get to express yourself when you dance, or forget yourself and just totally be something else. Don’t get me wrong. Performing is totally nerve wrecking! But there’s something fun about it!
I’m one of those people who will see a video on Facebook and go, “That looks like fun! I want to try that!”
As a matter of fact, I pretty much want to try anything I see. I know some will give me major anxiety, but I still want to try it. And that’s how I started aerial. I saw a Facebook video and then went on Google and started researching on aerial yoga studios near me. I found a studio. 10 minutes away. Adult aerial class on Saturday morning. Perfect! I bought a trial package. Little did I know, I ended up llllloooooooving it!
Ever since day one (or maybe two), my fabulous instructor (and I really mean it. She’s F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!!!), Toni, always said to me with the biggest smile on her face, “You should join our aerial dance troupe!”
And I would reply with just a laugh. Cause… She’s joking right??? I mean, hello…. I just walked into the classroom like an hour ago? I can’t even go on the hammock without flopping around. And she wants me to join the dance troupe!?!?!? Dancing in the air??? I mean it’s different when it’s on the ground. But a few feet in the air? And I have to trust my life on a piece of silk because…???
After going to more classes and getting more comfortable with the silk, she again asked me to join the dance troupe. I did say yes, but never really went, because I still did not believe that I could do it.
It wasn’t until a few months ago when I was at the lowest state in my life. I started becoming the worst toxin to myself. I felt like disappearing from the world and my mind was filled with scenarios on how to hurt myself, and pretty much only four people knew about it – my husband, my sister, my best friend, and my therapist.
Out of the blue, Toni texted me, inviting me to join the dance troupe once again. This time I told myself, why not? Might as well try something new, right? Also, something to distract me from my own toxicity.
We only had a couple of weeks before the show to learn a couple of numbers. Three weeks prior to the show, we were told to write down the numbers that we felt confident in. I wrote down the numbers that I was super comfortable with, along with those that I was kind of eh about. I thought to myself, I have a few more weeks to polish myself if she really does place me in those numbers.
When she called out who were in what numbers, I was praying SO HARD(!) that I wouldn’t be in the numbers that I wasn’t 100% confident in. Because you know, it would be easier for me to be in the numbers I could already do with no problem. And guess what! The numbers that I wasn’t totally confident in, were the numbers that I was placed in! Surprise surprise!
My anxiety immediately kicked in. My heart was pounding, I started having cold sweat2, my head was screaming, Oh crap! Oh Crap! I’m going to screw up. Big time! I do have to say though, I’m pretty good at hiding my anxiety sometimes. I don’t think anyone even noticed then. Win?
You know what? It was a win. I did not back down. I did not quit. I kicked my anxiety aside and just did it. Even though I slid down the silk a number of times, and on some mornings I had to chant to my reflection in the mirror, “I believe I can. I believe I can,” but in the end, I did it!
I’m actually extra proud of myself for committing to it. This aerial dance had gotten me out of my shell. And not to be extreme, but it kind of saved my life. Funny how life works, huh?
But I also think that I couldn’t have done it without the massive positive energy circulating around the troupe. The rehearsals are filled with a group of women who support each other, help each other, cheer on each other, and lift each other up every single second.
I feel like, for people like me, who are struggling with battling the demon in our own head, it is so important for us to be surrounded by positive people. I do believe that we are affected by the energy other people emit, and vice versa.
Honestly, even though it’s only been two months, I do feel more positive. Wayyyy more! And I do think that I’ve broken out of my shell a little bit.
I’m not saying that if you’re suffering from mental illness to just go out and hang on a hammock. But try something new. Go into a dance studio. Be around positive people (very crucial!). As cliché as it sounds, you’ll end up turning that frown upside down.
P.S: Toni if you’re reading this, please keep Tribe as a legacy!