vampireapologist:

When I was 18 I took a ballet class at college and every morning our beginner adult class started just as the Ballet Majors in the studio next door took a mid-class break.

Many mornings they would gather in the doorway of my classroom and watch us struggle through our bar warmups or jumble up a new technique while they smiled and whispered to each other.

And every morning I dreaded seeing them there because I knew they were making fun of me.

I had other classes with some of them, and I was always embarrassed when ballet came up, and it always did, them being ballet majors, because I loved to talk about it but knew they’d seen me dance, and I was sure they thought I didn’t belong in the conversation.

At the end of the semester, our instructor announced that she’d like to invite the dancers from the next door studio to sit in on our final performance as an audience, and everyone in my class hesitated. We’d worked so hard, we wanted to celebrate our progress during our final without being judged. Most of us left class that day suddenly more anxious about the final than we’d ever been.

The next morning, in one of my other classes I had with the ballet majors, one of them approached me, and as if she’d been reading our minds the entire semester, she said

“Hey. I just wanted to say that I know we watch you guys dance a lot, and I wanted to make sure you know we’re never laughing at you. When we watch you guys learn the basics…..it reminds us of when we first started when we were younger. It’s like…looking at ourselves when we first fell in love with dancing. That’s why we love watching you guys.”

It shocked me. I felt awash with relief and utterly stupid all at once.

Here I had spent an entire semester assuming the worst of people who had otherwise been nothing but nice to me in every other setting, and I had no one to blame for that but my own insecurities that I’d allowed to rule me for months.

I’d been so unfair to these girls, because I was self conscious. I was so worried about being judged that I’d judged all of them.

Here I was worried they were laughing at me, and all along they were looking at me with nothing but absolute delight, even envy for what I was getting to experience.

This encounter changed my entire attitude, permanently.

It made me realize that, yeah sometimes people are jerks for no reason, but more often than not, people really are just….Good.

Since that day, I’ve started giving everyone the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong, for their sake and for my own.

And I’ve learned that the world becomes a lot better and life becomes a lot easier when you accept that maybe not everyone is judging you. Maybe you’re the one who’s hardest on yourself.

Let yourself be. Let yourself exist and breathe and be happy.

The world is a much better place.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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