So I was cleaning out my closet today, and I found my old dance shoes…
For those of you who did not know, I took Irish dance lessons for 3 years. That means 3 years of performances, 3 years of St. Patrick’s day parades, and 3 years of competitions. And green. Lots and lots of Irish-colored green. And let me tell you, my legs were BUFF! Dang, they were buff.
At one particular competition, I’d been dancing for at least 4 hours, dancing jig after jig, set after set, and reel after reel. I was more than ready to go home, and the time for my last dance finally approached. I waited my turn, stepped in front of the judges, and did the worst job I’d done all day. It was screwed up from the moment I started and I was sure I wouldn’t get an award…but I didn’t really care at that point. My feet ached, my head hurt, and I just wanted to go collapse on my couch.
Once I had finished the dance, I went backstage and changed into whatever comfy clothes I had– baggy t-shirt, eeyore pj bottoms, and flip-flops. I gathered my things and started to trudge out the door, dragging my feet behind. Suddenly, I heard what I thought was my name announced over the PA. “Naw…they didn’t call me. I heard wrong.” I thought, and continued on my way. I heard it again.
“THE NEXT AWARD IN THE ST. PATRICKS DAY SET GOES TO…” there was my name again. I’d tied for 5th out of the 25 i’d competed against! I got an award! I dropped my things in a heap on the floor and dashed out on the stage to receive my prize. It wasn’t until then I realized… everyone was looking at me, but for a different reason than I thought they were.
In the midst of all the sparkly costumes, panty hose, and polished shoes, standing upright in a nice straight line, I was little miss eeyore pj’s standing right in the middle of the stage. For those who have danced, you realize what a major no-no this is in the competition world. Blushing, I received my medal and took my place with the rest. We bowed our triumphant bows and filed off stage.
Omigosh, how embarrassing. My dance instructor made fun of me for weeks.
Sometimes in life, you will feel exposed. Amongst all the sparkly personalities, polished smiles, and played-out conversations, the real you is forced to come out. It’s not necessarily the nice, sweet, polished you that you’d like people to see. It’s more like the “tired of competing, just want to take a break from the world” you. Some people will accept that. Some people won’t. Either way, at some point you are forced in front of all your judges to see… and I suppose that as that happens, one finds out who true friends are.
True friends are the friends who don’t mind the Eeyore pj’s and flip-flops. Love them even.
I’m so thankful for the people who love me for me, and for the ones i don’t have to put on a show for. I don’t have to compete for them. I don’t have to be sparkly perfect for them.
I am loved, and I thank you guys for that.
And I’m really glad i quit dancing…
Note: I actually wrote this back in 2008, but it still rings true.