Friday, September 24, 2010

My teen and I pop it like it's hot

I'm feeling pretty G this morning.

Not a clue what that means? Whew! I'm not the only one.

It's teen-speak short for "Gangsta" - which is, I hear, the equivalent of cool.

I took my stepdaughter with me to Fit Hop last night. Before we even walked out the door, we had a discussion about boundaries.

ME: You need to promise not to make fun of me.
HER: Why would I make fun of you?
ME: Because I suck.
HER: Well, I can't dance, either.

I didn't respond how I would have before I started this dance journey. Only a few months ago, I might have broken down into tears, and explained that while she might not know how to dance, she's tall and thin and beautiful - which, in my previous stereotypical mindset must mean she'd be a natural on the dance floor.

Instead, I tucked my insecurities in a gym bag, gathered up a couple of water bottles, and booked it to class.

I'm grateful she was engrossed in texting so she couldn't see the perspiration beading across my forehead, or my chewed off fingernails. I'm thankful she couldn't read my mind, or hear the devil on my shoulder reminding me that I'm not even comfortable dancing for my husband, that I should just turn around and surrender to the fear.

That would have been a terrible mistake.

My stepdaughter is right - she isn't a natural dancer. She's tall (very tall) and never been into team sports. Her coordination is off, and her two left feet are slightly bigger than mine. But my kid's got swagger. And confidence. And a youthful enthusiasm that's infectious.

She played throughout the warm-up - teasing me, laughing, drawing attention to herself (and inadvertently me), but after a few minutes with Kasha, my kid got serious. Though she imagined the class to be more "fit" than "hop," she was excited to learn a series of steps that could earn her some "dance cred" at school.

In the process, I picked up some serious stepmom cred.

By no means did I execute the steps in Kasha or Jessica style, and though I didn't fixate on my image in the mirror, I still cringed when I caught a glimpse of my frumpy self popping it across the floor. But I worked hard. My stepdaughter worked hard.

And we both did it with a smile.

I have no words to explain how HUGE this is.

When I began this journey, I kind of wanted to do it alone. To suffer in silence. But after last night, my stepdaughter is itching to get back on the dance floor. She wants to definitely do Fit Hop, Salsa Burn, and even begged me to take her to Bollywood next week. A few months ago, I would have made up every excuse in the book not to.

Next week, I'll be counting down the hours until those classes.

She's not as sore as I am this morning, but before leaving for school, she hugged me and said even with my hair a frazzled mess, and my face not even washed, I'm still pretty G.

I'll take that.

The Book In My Bag Today: Dead After Dark, Charlaine Harris


  1. This made me all teary eyed. There is NOTHING more special then sharing something with your daughter. My girls are my inspiration with J'Adore Dance and that is truly what makes us different, our focus on family. I love how many mom come with their teenage daughters to our classes, it give me hope that when my daughters enter the dreaded teen years there will still be times of connection (even though they probably wont want to hold my hand in public or let me stroke their hair).

    SO happy to have you back Dawn, we missed you!

  2. Yes, I'm pretty G myself. Lol that feel so awkward to type, I'm way too dorky for that sort of stuff

    That's so great you're still dancing, you and your stepdaughter are absolutely gorgeous!

    Hope you're well

  3. Glad to hear you were brave enough to invite her - and the result was a great moment for both of you. That's definitely gangsta!

  4. You two MUST come to Bollywood!! I attended my first class on Wednesday and although they had already done one class, it was easy to pick up the steps and it is SO MUCH FUN!! I left the class energized and smiling. I mean, how could you not? Bollywood music is so fun and happy! See you next Wednesday!!

  5. your step daughter is right from my neighbourhood, I was just like her as a teen. And its so levely that you two had a great moment together =D

    You should be feeling G, girl, because you definetly are! ;)

  6. Jess - thank you so much for this amazing opportunity to grow, but also to bond with my stepdaughter. J'Adore Dance is absolutely about family first - that's evident throughout the studio, but it is absolutely embodied by you. Love you, girl. xo

    Val - she IS beautiful, indeed. I love watching her bloom. You're far from dorky, by the way. And your latest post set my gears in motion again. You're way G.

    Thanks Jaydee!

    thethestral - welcome to the blog and thanks for reading. My girl and I will absolutely be at Bollywood. Gulp :-) See you there for sure.

    Clara - you're a sweetheart. Thank you. You're pretty G yourself.

  7. You ARE G. You're having good times with your step-daughter and that's what counts. Very G.

  8. That is SO CUTE!!!! It doesn't matter how well you did it-it's about the time and effort.

  9. Oh, now THIS is way cool! What a fabulous bonding thing to do together! Dance is actually one of the best things she can do for that 'too lanky, grew too fast' coordination trouble--I am 5'11" and gymnastics and dance saved me from the fate my fellow tall females largely suffered.

  10. Thanks Wendy!

    So true, Candy. Now if only I could get myself to believe that from the heart.

    Thanks Hart. I have no doubt she has much more growing to do and I'm always looking for ways to help her with that. She's already complaining about short boys :-)

  11. That's fantastic! A great bonding moment! My daughter would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to a dance class.

    Very happy for you!

  12. I LOVE the picture! Well written too like always. It is really remarkable how vulnerable you allow yourself to be. I really appreciate that. The honesty you have and being able to express it really is the only way to work towards your goals. I constantly work at that too. It was so awesome to have you gals out together I really value that, like what Jess said...I look forward to doing the same things with my girls some day if I'm cool enough! You are a beautiful person Dawn, and you're dancing like it's no one's business! LOVE IT! *hugs*

  13. Vicki - I recognize I'm pretty lucky to have a teenager who WANTS to spend time with me, but also one that is willing to try something new. It's wonderful to grow together. Thank you for your support <3

    Kasha - when we left the studio last night, my stepdaughter said she loves you :-) That makes both of us. Thanks for an amazing workout and for putting up with our back row giggling. (Though, you'll notice, the giggling stopped pretty much after the warm-up. Tough to laugh when you can barely breathe.) xo

  14. I love everything about this story. :) A perfect post to read on a friday afternoon. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Have a fabulous weekend!

  15. I'm feeling pretty 'g' myself. Nice post about you and your stepdaughter. You're dancing toward frawesomeness!

  16. Thanks so much Lola. xo

    Jan - it will be a long way before I am frawesome, but I am having fun :-)