As a fan of cheesy dance movies, I may have over romanticized what saying yes to joining this year's cast of DWTRVS would be like. Just a little.
What I imagined: a cool team, lots of laughter, some intense teaching from a teacher who'd yell instruction at us, super fly and sparkly costumes, throwing an 80's dance party fundraiser - aptly called "Electric Boogaloo", and raising lots of donations for an awesome charity that impacts so many lives.
What I didn't imagine: 50-60 hour work weeks, a coach who never yelled (and said we "look like professionals" in a recent interview), being even more of a dance clod than I'd originally projected, hours of extra practice at home to try to get the routine into my head (sorry about the dining room light, Babe!), injury, that hip hop is truly DIFFICULT, and a team that was cooler and kinder than I could have possibly imagined.
Halfway through, as in every great dance drama, I had to seriously consider dropping out because of a painful pinched nerve in my neck that caused numbness in my left arm and middle three fingers. It crushed me, I got behind and felt like an encumbrance to my crew and learning to be a barista while in pain and on muscle relaxers was...let's say, a special kind of challenge (thanks for being awesome, Starbucks family). I was actually really angry at myself. I'm still in denial over the aspects of my personality which bring out a highly competitive, perfectionist drill sergeant who demands more, better, faster...and while you're at it try not to look like a fool.
Weeks later, here we are, in the home stretch, just days away from the big show and I'm so excited to get to dance with my crew. "ROGUE REMIX FOR LIFE!" That's our mantra...and we're all getting a tattoo, just like the Fellowship of the Nine from Lord of the Rings! Ha, ha, no, seriously we are. Maybe. I've learned so much on this journey and I'm so thankful for the opportunity and to all the dear people who generously gave to Sparrow Clubs on my behalf.
My big takeaway, sitting here 3 days out from this incredible show is pretty clear...and it hasn't been pretty. Along with beautiful new friends, I'll leave this experience with a repeating song in my heart...stay FLEXIBLE. Physically, yes...don't stop stretching. Trust me. Inflexibility is a curse as we age. A 50 year old body doing hip hop for the first time is ridiculous by definition. What's worse, the awful comfort zone we humans often create as we grow up and learn what we like and what we don't. Sometimes we craft a life that treats change or challenge as something to be avoided to be brought down by missiles of "NO way", "huh-uh", "no, Sir!" and "that ain't happening"!
Flexibility in life is something that came pretty easily for me when I was younger and had little control over what was going on. Also, I had little thought applied to life in general - just going with the flow. I just was. I breathed, I went to school, I played, I worked, I didn't overthink. Life felt like a grand adventure. As we grow up and life takes wild turns with serious challenges and hurts, we begin to build our fortifications - often without even realizing it. We try to minimize the opportunities to be wounded or experience pain of any kind. We try to control everything we possibly can to create our safe haven. It makes sense and I think it's part of the human experience for some of us. I am vowing right here and now to do my best to stay flexible in my heart...toward life and this crazy world. I admit that I really don't have the power to control much. Only my response. That's it. I used to be such a positivity factory. I was so naturally optimistic that I was probably annoying. I think my Pollyanna is still in there somewhere-probably tied up.
So thank you, Sparrow Clubs, for having me, my Dub R. C. family for being wonderful to learn with, donor friends, the opposing squad Breakin' Benjamins (we love you golden humans), dear friends helping cover at the shop, and coming to watch the shows Saturday! We have worked hard for you and are going to give you all a great show! Thank you to my team mate and Sparrow Mom for being amazing and a true Wonder Woman. As your sweet Sparrow undergoes the future surgery and challenges, she goes with a handful of new auties and uncles cheering her on. We're with you and we'll always be here for you...ROGUE REMIX FOR LIFE!!!