A Horse of a Different Color
As a kid, my favorite part of The Wizard of Oz was this scene:
I loved that horse. At the time, I suppose I would have said that it was because I liked horses, and look, it’s a rainbow horse, how did they do that?!
As an adult, I recognize something else about the horse: It is one of a kind.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I tend to feel like I don’t always fit in when I am in class. Sometimes, it’s an ability level issue – I’ll go to a class and find that nothing is working for me, and that everyone else seems so far ahead of me – but a lot of the time, it comes down to size.
I’m not what most of the country would probably refer to as a big girl. I’m 5’6″ and probably around 160lbs. That’s dead average for the US. But…in pole? Not so much. At least, not in Los Angeles, where thin is a religion.
In most classes I attend, I am the biggest girl, or one of the larger girls. This isn’t always true – I’m not always the biggest gal, and it’s not something that upsets me most of the time, but…I am always aware of it. No matter how advanced I get, it remains a fact that things are harder for me because I have more ass to get over my head. And that’s really frustrating.
As of late, I’ve felt like I am at a pole plateau, where I am struggling to feel like I am moving forward with my peers. I think that’s a big part of the reason why I have been seeking out other ways to be successful in this world, like taking the free dance exploration class and my lyra classes. That success is important to me. I feel more alive and inspired when I feel successful, and it makes the days where things don’t go right a little easier to release.
A few days ago, I read a great post related to all of this – if you haven’t read Pole Geek’s recent post about being curvy in the pole world, I recommend it. It got me thinking about feeling like the odd man out, as expressed above. And, for some reason, as I was standing in the parking lot of our building, watching my boyfriend park our rental car, the “Horse of a Different Color” song popped into my head.
Somehow, it all relates. Because, here’s the thing: maybe it’s not so much about being the odd man out, but maybe – just maybe – it’s about finding an authentic way to celebrate that which makes you different. It’s about making the choice to say that it’s okay, that it might even make you special.
In this week’s free dance exploration class, we had a partner exercise, where we worked with a partner to interpret and tell stories. After our last round, there were two compliments that stood out about me and my partner. For her, the compliment was about her legs, and how amazing they were (and they are – she’s incredible). For me, it was my gaze as I danced, and that it had an emotional impact on two individuals who were watching. I don’t feel that it’s fair to boil either of us down to just those things – my partner told a story through her dance, and it was gorgeous and emotional, and yes, her body is beautiful. But, it was of interest to me that the things that were highlighted about us were so different in context, and that maybe there was a lesson there about not being disappointed that you aren’t seen in one way, but instead, celebrating the positive ways we are seen. Would I have loved a compliment on my legs? Of course! But, it means much more to me that my expression during my dance was emotionally moving to people, and I think that is its own kind of special.
I’m not saying anything earth-shattering, or even anything new, but what I am trying to do is to coax myself around to making this a practice for myself, instead of saying, “Oh, yes, totally!” and then going back to how I have always done things. I think that shift makes a difference, perhaps not in the quality of what one does, but in the quality of what it brings to their life.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Nadia Shariff, who was kind enough to grant us an interview for our Poleitical Clothing Newsletter that came out around CPDC. In the interview, we asked her, “Is there one trick that still eludes you?”
Her reply? “I’m not one of those pole dancers that is good at everything; I’m good at what I do. 😉”
I think this idea is so important to remember, as we get frustrated with our differences, and as we celebrate what makes us, us:
Do what is yours to do.
Posted on February 1, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged dance, do what is yours to do, expression, free dance, Iris Sparrow, Nadia Shariff, one of a kind, pole dance, special, Wizard of Oz. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
I love every damn part of this. I’m right there with you, knowing there’s a better way to frame my experience in pole and wanting to focus on that instead of the nagging thoughts of comparison. Everything you said resonates with me and this is a perfect reminder that I can draw on to focus on what makes me unique. Thank you!
Love! Find your own talents.
Beautifully said, I am adding this to my list of posts to make a reply post about! I have always loved the way “a horse of a different color” sounds, there is something maybe poetic about it. Perfectly ended & summed up–that last line!
I love this —> “maybe it’s not so much about being the odd man out, but maybe – just maybe – it’s about finding an authentic way to celebrate that which makes you different. It’s about making the choice to say that it’s okay, that it might even make you special.” This is a constant struggle for me, most of the time I love being my authentic self, but sometimes I just feel like the odd person out. This is a geat way to look at it! Thanks so much for the shout out!
Thank you! I am glad you like it – and, always happy to give credit to others who create meaningful work. 😊
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