It’s Not About Grace

I love when I hear people use the excuse they can’t take Pilates because they aren’t graceful enough. I’m like, “Please! Have you met me?!”

Hello, my name is originally Melissa but was changed to Grace in High School. You know, those years which mean nothing to your confidence or validation?  Yeah…I have never been graceful. I have always wanted to be and strived to be, but I have, at the age of 40, reached the realization that grace just does not fit me.

I wanted to be a dancer my whole life. But I didn’t want to work for it. I just wanted to do it. Like Baby did in one summer in Dirty Dancing. Or two hours in my pre-teen world. If Baby could do it in one weekend, so could I! So, I begged my mom for dance lessons! Like, clipped myself to her calf and was dragged around the house while she tried to clean, begged for dance lessons! And she finally told me she’d put me in dance! YAY!  I couldn’t wait to buy my red leotard where I would be Penny behind Baby teaching her how to dance. I was so excited!

We pulled up to the dance studio and my nerves were frayed! I mean, was I really ready to dance on a log above the water with Patrick Swayze?! YES I WAS! And I marched into that dance studio like the bad ass I knew I was and was ready.

“Hi! Ok so what size ballet slippers does she need?” What the FFFFFFF?”  I was 10. I’m fairly sure I didn’t say that. But ballet? Really?

“Ummmmm no. I’m here to dance like in Dirty Dancing” Ok. So if you don’t know, Dirty Dancing was rated R. Most kids weren’t allowed to see it. But I was at home for an entire summer with two broken arms and a broken ankle. I had the sympathy card of all sympathy cards. And I didn’t even notice what was erotic or what wasn’t. It was just gorgeous dancing!

I remember the teacher bending down and telling me that ballet was the foundation of all dance. I was bored I’m pretty sure within a week. Which quickly lead the studio to put me into jazz. Which was a little better, but still definitely not Dirty Dancing. And the costumes? Let’s just say there was nothing flattering about the purple jumpers we had to wear. As much as I was told to let my limbs loose to get that whole, graceful and elegance look, it just wasn’t happening for me. Within a few months I quit, deciding that figure skating required less grace…

That probably lasted for as long as it takes to blink. On my first incredibly ungraceful fall, I was done. I think I moved onto gymnastics next.

Never graceful, but always trying, I finally found a place where I didn’t need grace in my movements. Band. And I stuck with band for years finally joining the marching band. It didn’t take grace to be in the marching band, but it did take co-ordination. Something I was a little better with. And I was so excited when I was chosen to be the drum major (the person on the podium with their hands flying around like crazy) in my senior year. Takes a tad bit of grace in this position as your flowing from one beat to the next with your arms. But it’s nothing I couldn’t handle. We won multiple awards and were honored to be asked to join in the annual Fiesta Bowl parade. By this point I had been directing for months. Now here’s the kicker. As the drum major, in a parade you have to direct the band while marching backwards. In a white uniform. I’m not sure if you can guess where this is going. Our band was rocking it! We were nearing the end of the route and I proudly watched as my crew marched in complete sink while dominating the sound of other bands. I was so prideful. I smiled at my crew as they began to move their instruments together pointing to the right. Alright! Now we were so engaged we were dancing! This was awesome! So, I began dancing with them. Their moves became sharper. Mine became sharper. So much fun! And then it happened…

I could feel my heal hit the median. And my brain went into “Ahhhhh crap” mode. Everything blurred as I knew I was about to land on my ass in the median filled with planters. My band wasn’t dancing with me. They were trying to motion to me to move over. But in my oblivious state, I just thought we were all acting as one. We weren’t. They were trying to save my butt and my ego from bruising, I just wanted to dance. I hit the ground in my white pants hard. But I popped up fast knowing I had to finish, even though I was humiliated and had pants that looked like I’d had an accident in. I was mortified. And when we finished, the band director called me over. “I hear we have a new name for you. Grace”. I didn’t live it down for the rest of the year, but I survived.

Now I’ve just learned…if there is something that that can be screwed up and made to look incredibly ungraceful, I can totally make that happen! I’ve broken my wrist twice falling on ice, I’ve broken multiple bones from other bad falls and I constantly have bruises all over my body from running into things… like cars.

My point is this, I grew up, still run into things, still don’t make things look graceful, but I do them anyway! And so can you! In Pilates, you aren’t meant to look graceful. You are meant to become your best self in your own body, no competition with others. Pilates is not about how flexible or how graceful you are. Pilates is about protecting your body from injury and protecting it as we all age. Creating the proper form is something you learn through our help. You aren’t alone in this journey, and where I was the joke of the band through the rest of my senior year, you will never be a joke. We are here to make you feel more comfortable and more confident in each of your practices.

So, what are you waiting for? Come on in for a free class or free 30-minute trial. We are excited to show you things you never thought your body could do!

Namaste,

Melissa

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