You know that weird nervous/excited feeling that starts in your stomach and fizzles its way up through your body and out your fingertips? It’s that feeling you get when you start something new, like a new job or a new school, or go to a new group or activity. You’re excited, because it is a fresh start and usually something you’ve been looking forward to or have chosen to participate in. And yet…it’s nerve-racking. You’re scared! What will people think of you? What will it be like? Will you make friends? Will everyone else know each other, leaving you to be the odd one out? Will you catch on to the rhythm of things? Your stomach clenches and your head buzzes a little; tiny rivulets of sweat bead on your forehead and work their way down the sides of your face in minute meandering rivers.
Do you know this feeling?
I felt this feeling consume me on Tuesday morning, while I walked from my new house in Toronto to the intersection with the streetcar stop. I had my cheat-sheet with me – to get to school take this streetcar, going in this directions, then transfer here to this subway and hop on this line going in that direction, then transfer to this other line here and go this direction and get off at this station. I had my bodysuit and ballet tights on, snack and shoes in my bag, track pants and a filled water bottle. I had my schedule and the directions for how to get to the correct part of the building. I was excited and prepared. And yet…I still felt that feeling. I was still incredibly nervous.
Why? Why do we get nervous over things we can’t control? I can’t control how people will react to me, I can only control how I react to them. I can’t control what the classes will be like, I can only participate to the best of my ability and ask questions when I don’t understand. I can’t control other people’s attitudes, I can only control my own attitude. I can’t control the rhythm of the program, I can only control my own interactions with that rhythm and try to follow along as best I can. And I can be confident.
Why? Because I’ve been called. My God will not abandon or forsake me. But it’s also up to me.
He gave us this life – to be fruitful, to enjoy it, to enjoy Him. But He also gave us responsibilities. My attitude in my classes – like the 50 minute jazz warm-up that was taught with a delivery like an automatic rifle –bam bam bam bam, or in the ballet class where I was told I was standing incorrectly and need to readjust the way I position my legs, or the pointe class where I was informed I was not tying my ribbons in the correct manner, or when I miss a beat in an exercise and end up turning a count ahead of every other dancer in the room – only I can control how I react those things. I can get frustrated and make a face or spout complaints. Or, I can take it all in and try and learn from every bit of information or correction this year.
I’ll be honest, I’m not always great at this. Neither are all of my classmates. But I’m trying. I’m tired, and my teachers are pushing us hard, and will continue to do so. I am sore, and I will probably continue to be so. That’s part of this new life I have chosen. I accept it and will be confident that this life is where God wants me and I will work on making sure my attitude is in line with a positive outlook and uplifting heart.