On the Other Side of Perfection

1:33 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.

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9 impressions

  1. Not to mention the lanky one on stage right slipping into the wall. That wasn't planned was it?

    And Gracful is not your middle name. I haven't seen you stub your toes in years (seriously - except for your walking into the bed post episode. *wink*)

    Did I mention I also pulled my ankle just practicing - and that wasn't even trying. Gracefullness.

    It wasn't so much that I wanted to be perfect - but I didn't want to be embarrassed either.

    And let us sing a million songs of gratefullness that it was not on youtube. ;)

    ~The Argumentive One Grace B.

    Pardon, is Gratefullness actually spelled like that - or did I make a new word for the dictionary?

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  2. Did you have fun? Hope ya did...I'm sure you did very well.

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  3. Dear Bailey,

    You should just see me try to dance. It's what they call an "epic fail." :)

    Love, Carilee

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  4. Hey -- what happens in the bedroom, stays in the bedroom. ;o) Well, I thought your version of "gratefulness" looked very Pilgrim-y. Very apropos for the post-Thanksgiving week.

    I did have fun, Kara, like a mousy girl pretending to be a princess. :o)

    But my dear Carilee, as one wise girl always says (cough), "It will always be worse than you imagine and better than you think." So I take that comment with a grain of salt. ;o)

    Come to think of it, I made my post more ballet-y than moral, which was the whole point. Oh, well.

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  5. Bailey, you were so much better than me! Remember, it was I who kept slipping when we were running in our circles! LOL! Anyway, we survived right? Love you new look by the way!

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  6. BTW Bailey, you're blog design lokos awesome!

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  7. Thanks a lot for writing this, it was unbelieveably informative and told me a ton.

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  8. thanks amigo! great post!

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  9. This really solved my problem, thank you!

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