On the Other Side of Perfection1:33 PM
It was my first ballet recital since I was five.
I had practiced until my toes burned and my bun fell out. I couldn't believe I was actually doing this -- me, self-conscious to the core, performing unastounding leaps and twirls on stage in a pink leotard.
It wasn't perfect. And it was the day of the recital. You know when you practice so much that you start to forget what you're practicing? That was me. The twirly leap that had been my pride and joy a few days before now became my bane...it was not perfect. It was a little rough, a lot unimpressive. I wanted to cry after the third leap and twirl: I teetered like Pisa's tower; I flailed my arms; and my toes most definitely were not pointed.
Graceful is my middle name, you know.
I still don't know what I was thinking taking ballet in the first place. For me, dancing is more of a way to express excess joy than create art. That's a fancy way of saying I was born with two left feet. And when I can't do anything perfectly, I don't see what's the point of doing it in the first place.
Me, awkwardly onstage, doing something I loved to do but was not perfect at...it shocks me to no end.
And I wasn't perfect. I landed my etitude all wrong. I nearly fell backward on a couple of jumps. It wasn't perfect by any stretch: one critic told me so expressly.
We perfectionists tend to think that life is all about being awesome and amazing -- awesome and amazing above and beyond everyone else in town. But I've come to learn that there are far more important things in life than being perfect and doing things perfectly. Things like learning something new. Like (trying to) express grace and beauty. Like having fun. Like laughing with friends over mistakes and realizing that competition -- even with our own self -- did not enhance the friendship. Like doing my best and striving for His glory -- and can't He be glorified, not by one's best foot forward necessarily, but a happy heart that's looking for His approval alone?
And why not? So I took to the stage with a new mindset, knowing I was not going to be perfect and that videos of my recital were not going to be circulated around YouTube by gaping-mouthed fans.
But I did, to tell the truth, say a little prayer on the turn I tripped up on every single time. Oddly enough, it was the best I had ever done.