I like to consider myself pretty easy-going. I like to laugh, like to have fun, and most days I’m pretty patient. There is just one thing, however, that drives me absolutely nuts. Follow me down the rabbit hole, and let me show you what frustrates this happy little dancer.
It’s a pole/aerial class, and we’re moving right along. The instructor says, “Ok, now we’re going to do [this],” and demonstrates it. There is someone in the class who quickly busts out the phrase that I cannot stand:
“I can’t do it.”
Aaaaaaaaaagh! I’m going to be completely honest with you: I actually feel angry when I hear this. I start seeing red. I always pipe in an emphatic “Yes you can” and try to make sure it sounds encouraging instead of mean. I really mean it in an encouraging manner, I just am so mad that someone has uttered this phrase.
I don’t understand how anyone can use that phrase when THEY HAVEN’T EVEN TRIED THE MOVE YET. How do you even know? You haven’t given yourself the chance to succeed! The word “can’t” is so final–like a decision has been made. It hasn’t. It shouldn’t. As far as I’m concerned, “can’t” should not be a part of your aerial vocabulary.
I won’t lie–I’ve used this phrase before. In fact, it used to be a well-used part of my aerial vocabulary. As the years pass, it was slowly phased out, because I realized there’s nothing I can’t do. “Can’t” comes in because someone has met defeat too many times for their comfort level. They don’t want to face defeat again, so rather than try, they automatically disqualify themselves. You know what I say to that?
Welcome to the aerial arts, sister.
No one ever said it would be easy–just fun and rewarding!
As an aerialist, you will face defeat. In fact, you’ll probably face it every time you touch your apparatus of choice. Perfection just doesn’t exist. You will try and mess up. If you really want to add that move to your repertoire, you’re going to try again and again and again and again. You know what will happen? You’ll finally get it.
Example One. I have struggled with the transition from Christina to Superman since it was introduced to me at least a year ago (if not more). I swear– EVERYONE but me got it. I really wanted to utter those words, but I didn’t. I kept trying and trying. I got angry and I even cried sometimes. Last week, my instructor brought it up. I tried it the first time and failed. Tried it again. It wasn’t the prettiest, but I FREEKING GOT IT. I was just short of just ignoring that combo entirely, and just about ready to use the dreaded phrase. It took me a year or more, but that move is mine now. I know I can do it. My body is not perfect, my skills are not perfect, but if I can finally nail a move after that long, so can you. I don’t want to hear “I can’t.”
Example Two. I’ve suggested cross-training with another aerial art to some of my fellow students, mostly because I think it’s so fun. I hear those four words come out of their mouth sometimes. Aaaaagh. Look ladies, I felt the same way when I started. I thought it would never work. I didn’t want to do anything other play on a pole. Despite my reservations and my temptation to use the dreaded phrase, I tried it anyways. I found a new love in Hoop just because I tried. If you had told me this time last year that I’d be doing Hoop, loving it, and able to do something like this with no fear:
I would have told you to climb a tree or something. Now, Hoop my favorite thing to do, but I never would have known unless I tried it. It hasn’t been all glitter and rainbows. There are some moves that I’m still working on, ones that tempt me to say the dreaded phrase. I don’t say it–I just keep working.
So, please, please please please please, don’t EVER say “I can’t do it” in any aerial class ever again. All you’re doing is lying to yourself. You CAN do it, and eventually you WILL do it, all you need to do is try!