Way back when, I attended BYU-Idaho. I hated it. I am a city girl through and through and moving to that tiny town of Rexburg was like Crocodile Dundee visiting NYC.
My third semester there, I signed up for a beginner's ballroom class. I was fortunate enough to be signed up for a class where there were more than two guys registered, and so I actually had a chance to learn how to dance. My whole world changed. I loved being swept into some guy's arms (he didn't even have to be cute, just as long as he knew the steps) and waltzing around the gym floor like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I loved learning how to move my hips to the beat of a latin tune, making me feel completely and utterly sexy for just that moment. Within the length of a song, I came alive in such away that I had never experienced before.
At the end of the semester, the school hosted a huge dance competition. Because we were in the class at the time, we had to put a group number together with other people in the class. My group's was actually quite awful. Let's just say my calling in life is not choreography. Any other level of participation was up to us. A guy in my class and I talked it over and decided that we really wanted to enter the beginner's cha-cha competition. We wanted to say that we did it, even if we didn't win.
So, we did.
I wore a flowy white skirt and a black top with some heels (low, because I can't dance in really tall ones like professional dancers), and my partner wore a slick white shirt and tie with suit pants. We were nervous, but we were ready. We signed in and got our numbers, then sat around and watched the other dances for awhile until it was our event's time to start. By some miracle, we managed to pull through the first round. Then, we got back on the dance floor and did it again. We pulled through the second round. By this time, numerous couples had been cut and there were only a handful of us left on the dance floor. That made us even more nervous because we weren't just in a throng of people in anymore. The spectators could actually watch every move we made.
The third round was the last and final round. Not thinking we would even get this far, we stepped out onto the floor and gave it our best. After the song was over, the remaining couples still left in the competition stood in an awkward line while we waited for the judge's decision. All of the sudden, third place was called. Not our numbers. Then second was called, not our numbers again. Then a pause. And silence. Then the judges called out first place. My partner and I were starting at eachother's numbers like they were lottery tickets and what do you know... the numbers they called happened to be the same numbers we were wearing. We had won! We continued to stare stupidly at eachother, not really believing that the two of us had actually won the competition. They placed shiny new medals over our heads and we bowed to the audience. We then walked gracefully off the dance floor like we had done this a thousand times before. After getting away from the crowd, we stopped and grinned at eachother like idiots and jumped up in down in complete amazement.
I will never ever forget that feeling of winning that cha-cha competition. I think about it often when I get discouraged or feel like I'm less of a woman because I don't do everything perfectly. I know that when we go out there and give it our all, we can be rewarded for our efforts. Even when we least expect it.