This is the question I'm being asked by a 7th grader who has found a way to channel all the diva-ness of Cher, Beyoncé and Chaka Khan in the back of my Hip Hop dance class. What she's referring to are the pockets of my $3 thrift store sweat pants which I have, consciously, chosen to leave hanging out on each side of my pant leg.
So, to the Simon Cowell of fashion, I respond " Yes, it's a style." To which she mean-girl's back, " Oh. Well... It looks... weird." And just like that, for those few seconds, I'm back in Jr.High again. Embarrassed because my pants always got grown out of faster than my parents could buy new ones. The concern in my house wasn't style, it was making my cousins hand-me-downs fit and being grateful the uniform hadn't changed from when she went to my school.
And back to the real issue. Why were my pockets out? Because style, especially hip hop style, is not something I keep up with. You can call my style more of a Jessica Alba meets Yvonne's part time paycheck. Pinterest DIY is my largest folder. So when I was asked to teach a hip hop dance class, I thought about what I'd seen people wear and I took that part time paycheck to my local thrift store (which, I can tell you right now, is better than your local thrift store. Trust me, $4 Aldo heels...we'll chat) and picked up some "hip hop gear". So here I am, proudly wearing my hip hop gear, when Rachel McAdams' understudy calls me out. And yes, I have a flashback to middle school giggles and whispers, and yes, I want to stick those stupid pockets back in my pants because when I first did it even I thought it looked silly, but no... Instead, I half smile, shoulder shrug and tell the class to run the last set of 8-counts again.
Yeah, for those few seconds it got under my skin but not too deep because I have thicker skin now. Gross analogy... but you get the point. It just reminded me how huge the little things were at that age and reminded me why my job is so important.
My students aren't professional dancers, they're kids who have to wait for their parents to pick them up after school and want to do something other than sit around Facebooking in the library. I'm sure my students have gotten that "look" and been asked "Are you trying to dance or something?" But in my class, they're told that they're awesome dancers, that they're fast learners, and that they're ideas are really, really good ideas.
Even my Simon Cowell Jr. from the back of the hip hop class got to teach a dance that the other students really liked. And I was gonna call her out on those orange rubber bands on her braces being SO last month... But I'm bigger than that. And so are my sweat pants.