December 28, 2013

I Wish For You an Epic Fail. ~ Michelle Marchildon

Years ago I had an epic fail: I was divorced, flat broke and homeless.

So I thought it might be a good time to learn how to hip hop dance.

Nobody wants to hit bottom, however, if this happens to you I highly recommend it. A new year is a perfect time for an epic fail.

Having nothing makes you fearless. So it seemed only logical to me that I should learn how to hip hop dance, next to perhaps taking singing lessons. For if there are two injustices in my life—it is that I cannot dance or sing.

At the time I was living in Ohio, which is such a long story I wrote a book about it. My ex-husband had just packed up another man’s wife and moved them far away from me. We had let go of our rented apartment, our jobs and even our cars. For the first time, I was alone and free.

As Pema Chodron says, the beginning is a good place to start. So my new beginning meant I would have to move back home to New York City, tail between my legs, and find a job and an apartment.

And then I thought, as long as I’m having a giant Mulligan in my life, what is the one thing I might really like to try?

The answer was: I’d like to be a dancer.

My being a dancer is sort of like a five foot person wanting to play in the N.B.A. As dreams go, it was a big one. But I had nothing after my epic fail, not even pride, which means I had nothing to lose.

There were plenty of options to become a dancing fool so I enrolled at a school on the west side. I started with the Fox Trot and the Waltz, but then I enrolled in Hip Hop.

At first, it was horrible. I was Lucille Ball going in the wrong direction. If the class was going up, I was going down. Left meant right. Forward meant backward. My Roger Rabbit should have been euthanized.

But then I realized, of course I was going to be horrible at this. I can’t dance! I have no rhythm; I have the attention span of a flea. I can’t even memorize the routines.

And that’s when I became an okay dancer. In yoga, we know that if we let go of expectations we might have a better chance at doing the pose.

In dance it was the same. Once I had no expectations, it enabled me to dance (sort of). The school had a recital one evening and I invited my dad to watch. Afterwards he said, “You are better now than when you were little.” Progress!

My pinnacle moment came when there was a hip hop singer looking for dancers for his new video. The school invited all interested students to try out. I wanted to do it.

Is that insane? I was a 30-year-old klutz trying to be in a hip hop video. But here is the thing: no matter what happened, it couldn’t be as bad as being flat broke and homeless.

So I went. Marky Mark (Yes, that Marky Mark Wahlberg) sat on a chair. We were shown a routine to do on a diagonal across the room. All the girls jumped and twirled across the floor. When it was my turn, I pasted on my face the biggest smile you ever saw and leapt my way to the other side.

It was kind of a disaster.

But it didn’t matter. I was elated. This was the most fun I’d had post-divorce. I didn’t just leap across a room; I soared across a great divide of BEF (Before Epic Fail) to AEF (After Epic Fail). And I knew that if I could cross that room then I could conquer anything in my path.

An epic fail will set you free. I highly recommend it.

Whatever this New Year brings to you, do not be afraid to fail.

For my next act, I think I’m going to try singing lessons; after all, I could not possibly be worse at it than I am now.


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

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umasimon Dec 29, 2013 6:41am

Once somebody agreed with me that I was a failure and instead of being insulted, it was strangely relieving. I could only improve from that place. Years later, I found out that he had not actually said that, but it had done its job.

Olivia Dec 29, 2013 1:04am

Love it Michelle! Go Girl (or rather Woman or hell, how about just fellow Person)! And keep on dancing…

Anne Dec 28, 2013 8:46pm

I absolutely loved this, especially the visual you wrote about leaping from BEF to AEF. When I was little, we always ended ballet class with skips, hops and jumps across the floor on a diagonal. It was called the fun step, and it was my favorite part.

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Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at www.YogiMuse.com. And you can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.