I can’t speak for everyone else (at least not until I’m elected the leader) but, for me, it’s weird that one of my closest friends has a daughter that is now the same age we were when we became friends. Is anyone else experiencing this? When did this happen?
Her daughter is 13-years-old and every time I’m around her all I can think is, time is going way too fast. OK, that’s not completely true. The other thing I think is, there’s no way I was this fucking stupid when I was 13. Impossible. She thinks filming herself underwater throwing peace signs is a talent. She once claimed she could play the ukelele, trying to prove it by showing me a video of her strumming it. Not playing a song or chords, merely strumming it. I had no other choice but to tell her that, in fact, she could not play the ukelele and she should probably not tell people she could. (Listen, it was for her own good, just keep reading)
The real kicker was when her mom (my friend) and their family came over for a BBQ and she decided to show me her latest claim to fame: dancing. Yes, thanks to YouTube she has learned every new dance there is, including one where she shook so violently I thought she had recently developed epilepsy.
“What in the fuck is she doing?”, I asked her mom. Supposedly, this was the latest dance craze. Since my viewing habits include reality TV, anything horror, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, I really couldn’t dispute this claim. What I could do was think how ridiculous she looked. How do you win friends when your dancing can possibly injure them? I just didn’t get this stupid fuc….
And then I remembered.
It turns out when I was 13 I actually WAS this stupid, maybe worse.
I, your beloved Typical Jenn, was a breakdancer.
I even had a breakdancing name.
It was 9th grade and I was still trying to figure out who I wanted to be (i.e. what I wanted people to think of me). I had been a cheerleader but it was awful – the majority of the girls were assholes and I genuinely didn’t give a shit about cheering anyone on. I tried basketball but I was even worse at that. Everyone made the team except one girl and it was only because she was the slowest runner. I played softball but was mediocre at best, and by that I mean I could catch and that’s it. The worst part was I genuinely thought I could walk into these sports without ever having played them, ever practiced them, and with zero talent and be good. So you can imagine how confident I was when I tried breakdancing.
It was 1998 when breakdancing made a comeback. It was a simpler time back then. Instead of fighting (at least for that year) people would have dance battles – it was like being in a live version of West Side Story. For you younger kids it was like being in a live version of Step Up. The first time I saw one of these battles I thought, how hard can this be? I used to be a cheerleader and my cartwheels were on point. I could totally do this. THIS was the thing that was going to get me noticed.
My “in” came in the form of my friend Raul who was one of the best breakdancers in school. He taught me a couple of things like how to initiate a battle (some steps and arm movements), how to do a K-kick (I’m pretty sure I would break my arm if I tried it now) and gave me a breakdancing name: Lil’ Kaos. There were no tryouts, no auditions, no panel of judges laughing at me – at least, not in the beginning.
Now that I was officially a “breakdancer” with a new name and everything, I needed an outfit to complete the part. I begged my mom to buy me what I thought I needed to be considered legit: a red and black Adidas tracksuit. And she did.
I. Wore. That. Thing. EVERYWHERE. And I looked ridiculous.
I wish I still had it.
Oh, it’s important that I mention the only time I practiced breakdancing was when my friend taught me those couple of moves and one other time when another friend tried to show me how to do windmills. Have you ever tried to do a windmill? It’s fucking impossible, at least if you’re me. Yet, my lack of ability to even get the concept of a windmill wasn’t enough to make me say, “you know, this probably isn’t for me.” I just figured it was just ONE thing I couldn’t do.
After those two practices, I went to my first battle which actually didn’t go too bad, primarily because I only went in once, did a K-kick and a split and called it a day. I don’t think you can even call it breakdancing, but at the time that’s exactly what I called it. I was a pro, and I was ready to Step Up.
As it turned out, when you’re a breakdancer you actually DO have to go through some sort of audition at one point if you want to breakdance with the best of the best. So I put in a call to the best crew in town, who also happened to be run by a guy I had a huge crush on – AKA the other reason I tried to be a breakdancer. I invited them over to my grandma’s house (her floors were perfect for humiliating myself) for my audition. Also, I don’t know if “audition” is proper breakdancing lingo but that’s basically what it is so I’m sticking with it.
My crush and his friend arrived ready to judge my talents. I was ready, too. I had practiced a million times in my head and had nailed everything. Plus, I was wearing my tracksuit – where do I sign, boys? (Side note: I still can’t believe my grandma allowed this to take place in her home, but, as is the case with all Hispanic grandma’s, she’s all about “that way you learn.” And I did, at least when it came to breakdancing.)
We pushed the couches out of the way and my audition commenced. First, they asked me to do a K-kick. Pfft. Simple. Except my grandma’s house has very low ceilings so when I did it I managed to kick the ceiling fan chain and shook the shit out of the ceiling fan. Once that was settled, they asked me to do something closer to the ground: a crab walk.
Like this but with both arms. I got on the ground, repeatedly tried kicking myself up until… I had it! I was balancing myself! For about two seconds, then I fell forward right onto my face. Instead of calling it a day, I sat up, gathered myself… and tried to do headspins.
I went into a headstand only to kick up too hard and land flat on my back. I didn’t get it. Headstands were easy when I was like five. When I stood up both guys were laughing so hard they couldn’t talk. They couldn’t even answer if I’d made it into the group or not.
My breakdancing ambitions (and crush) ended that day. I didn’t even really want to be a breakdancer, I just wanted people to be like “oh, that’s the girl who breakdances.” I wish I could say I never tried to be something I’m not after that but unfortunately, I didn’t quit that until I turned 30. But we’ll get to those stories another day.
Today, the moral of this story is, whatever it is you’re into, don’t half-ass it or think you can do it just because you can do it in your daydreams. You have to work for shit. This is the main reason I haven’t quit my content writing job. I hate that job. I write for audiologists all day and just got told that I’m about to start writing for another boring profession: dentistry. It sucks, and even though I want to light my office on fire on a daily basis, I can’t because I know there is still a lot I have to learn that will help me in the future. (that and I don’t want to go to jail, but mainly the first reason)
So keep working, especially when no one is watching. That’s when it counts. That’s when windmills happen, apparently. #thatwayyoulearn