Red In The Face

When’s the last time (as an adult) you were completely out of your comfort zone, and perhaps totally embarrassed?

Aside from a previous boss who would demoralize and embarrass me daily because I don’t have a Y-chromosome, I’d like to think (or hope) that there are few other times I’m made to feel like a total idiot.

Generally, I think we all do our best to refrain from engaging in situations where there is a large chance of our looking dumb (myself included).  So, when working with a goal setting coach and deciding to get involved again in dance, an old childhood passion of mine, (part for fun, part because my monthly charitable donations to the gym weren’t helping me in any way to stay fit as I never actually went), I was excited because I remembered how ‘good’ I was at it.

Enter reality.  I’ve taken a couple different classes and really not excelled at any of them.  But, none so bad as Monday’s. I looked at the online schedule which read ‘beginner jazz’.  I thought, ‘Hey, it’s been about 12 years, but that sounds like it could be fun.’


As the ‘warm up’ began and it’s a highly choreographed routine, I quickly realized this wasn’t ‘beginner’.  Other hints included the serious dance get-ups people were wearing, the fact that they all knew each other, and more so, the fact that no one flinched during the ‘warm up’ routine and could have done it in their sleep.  Perhaps I could have too, if it was a heart-pounding, cardio, sweaty sleep.

It only got worse when the actual choreography was unleashed and the teacher said ‘this one is murderously fast!’ with a devilishly coy smile.  As I tried to muster up my memories of precise choreography from my cheerleading days, it became apparent that I’ve either begun to lose my muscle memory and/or that I should never again take this class.

Moral of the story:  Now thoroughly sore both in my muscles and my ego, it was a swift kick in the bum to remind me how much I/we live our lives doing everything in our power not to feel embarrassed.  I’m not saying I’d readily pay again for another hour of painful fun-less dance, but realistically, it was only an hour, it pushed me, and smacked me into my place as someone who can’t be great at everything.

Sometimes I wish we could bottle up our childhood inhibitions and go to things like advanced level dance classes and just enjoy it, barely noticing that you’re consistently a half-count off.  I’m only 26, but already starting to understand the crotchety old people who say that ‘youth is wasted on the young’.

Maybe we should all re-institute nap time, cookies and milk break, and peeing in our pants and life might be altogether sweeter, perhaps a bit smellier, and definitely more simple.

Now, please share some embarrassing stories in your young adulthood so I feel better about myself.


  1. Liz, next time I’m in Ho Chi Minh, we’ll have to take on that class again!

  2. I did the same thing with a hip hop dance class here in Ho Chi Minh! I’ve had my ego falsely inflated for years by being told I’m a good dancer at school dances and out dancing. I thought for sure I’d be able to follow a hip hop class, I’m a natural! FALSE. Analogy: the other dancers in the class were to Michael Jackson as Liz Pankey is to the girl at the end of Little Miss Sunshine. I might as well have been spinning in circles with my arms out and making cat sounds… in fact that was not a far cry from that night’s performance. It was the worst I’ve ever felt about my dancing abilities, and so I will never return. I actually saw someone from the class out one night afterwards and I intentionally danced in their line of vision so they could see that I was not in fact the uncoordinated mess he met days earlier. Ego in tact, I’ll see you at the club.

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