At ballet class tonight I stood in an entirely different spot than I normally do. I try to do that every so often, probably comes from my martial arts days when we used to train in all kinds of environments. My Sensei always told us that the likelihood of being attacked in a dojo was slim to nil. One does not want to be thrown off balance in a life or death situation, I guess. But in ballet, most of the time I start at the barre on the wall. I am relatively comfortable with any spot along that barre. When I am feeling cocky and sure of myself, I will stand on the center barre opposite to everyone else. This is a bit more challenging because you are expected to do the same techniques as everyone else, but using the opposite side of your body. It’s not that I feel I am better than anyone else, believe me I am not. But I like to challenge my mind to think and behave in various situations. In my convoluted thoughts, I feel that by doing this I will eventually become a better dancer.
But, I digress. Tonight I stood on the outside of the barre in the center of room, in sync with the majority of the class. However, I was surrounded by girls that are normally not to the front and back of me – and I found myself becoming shy and withdrawn. I intentionally had chosen that spot, but once there I found myself curiously thrown off and flustered. I had no problem going through the movements, but I wasn’t the normal lighthearted ballerina I find myself in class. I was even surprised to discover myself picking at my nails and avoiding eye contact while at that spot. I didn’t realize how much it was affecting me until after we put the center barre away. It was almost like a sense of relief washing over me. As we moved to our mats in the center for stretching I searched my thoughts to try to discover why I felt the way I did. I hardly ever look forward to the stretches, especially after I tore my hamstring. For me it is the most painful, and yet most beneficial, part of the class. I bull through it every time and my flexibility is growing but I still can’t say I like it. So why, on this particular day, was I actually feeling almost giddy to be able to start?
It all of a sudden hit me – that I had been completely out of my comfort zone. As much as I have strived to make myself a well-rounded dancer, to be surrounded by girls half my age whose flexibility is beyond anything I have ever been able to accomplish (even at their age) was too much for me to take. I apparently don’t mind branching out, but I need something standard to use as my springboard. As a burgeoning writer, I am curious as to whether this mental reaction will carry over to my creative process as well. I am beginning to think that maybe I need to make sure I don’t get in a rut of only being able to write at a certain time, at a certain place, with my tools around me. I know people who have put themselves against that kind of wall, and I don’t want to be one. I am already doing that to a small extent now – I almost always feel the need to write here on my laptop in my home. I would love to be like J. K. Rowling who wrote in cafe’s.
I guess my point in all this rambling on about my evening, is a self-realization that I need to be wary of becoming too rigid in my design. As much as it is comfortable for me to be in one place, with my coffee nearby and my mess neatly stacked around me, maybe I need to push myself much like I have done in martial arts or ballet. Maybe this goes beyond where I write, but also what I write about. It seems to me that the possibilities are endless.
What about you? I’m curious to find out if this desire to be in a comfortable position aids your creative juices, or if you find they come welling out at other times. What do you think about my thoughts on this issue?