Thursday, 2 January 2014

#1: Dance as if no one is watching

While this seems like a easy one to tick off a list, I'm not normally a 'let's go dancing and enjoy it' girl. So trust me when I say that this wasn't easy for me.

A little background: As a kid I was quite sporty and, while I was born with good eye-hand coordination, I was not blessed with the natural grace, rhythm and confidence with which many of my friends seemed to have been born. Unlike some friends who spent hours in a dance studio or hanging with the cool kids when they were growing up, I spent my childhood in sports fields/hockey rinks or playing 'kill the guy' with my twin brother and his friends. When it came to more refined and girlie matters, I learned at an early age that I was somewhat (meaning very) clumsy and had two left feet when it came to dancing anything other than a 2-step, slow dance with spotty 12-year old boys. (Yes, there are a number of jokes that could be made here.) As a New Yorker, I generally have enough 'cool' to get me through most situations in London, but certain insecurities run deep and dancing is a big one.

I've learned from experience that my 'moves' were likely to make some people laugh or even ask if something was physically wrong with me, like a sports injury of some kind. This insecurity was compounded by the Ex, who would raise eyebrows at me as soon as I exhibited any sort of body movement associated with music, be it in a club, a bar, or even tapping my hands on the car steering wheel. Weddings, birthdays and parties of any kind were something I came to dread and could anticipate the mocking glances that were silent yet loudly shouting 'she's SO uncool' to everyone as soon as alcohol loosened me up enough to join the rest of the girls on the dance floor. It must be said that these girls were usually oblivious to the horrors of my moves, but I felt the judgement nonetheless. I warned others of my dancing deficiencies well in advance in the hopes of turning it into a joke. The jokes never took the sting out of my Love's visible embarrassment, which at times seemed to border on disdain, and which brought me to tears on more than one occasion. So that's why I'm so self conscious about dancing and avoid it (and anything where I might be deemed similarly 'uncool' by the Too Cool for School Brigade) as much as possible. After all, there’s nothing more limiting to one’s fun than feeling uncomfortable, self conscious, and generally not good enough.

So, with that in mind, I can proudly say that the first item crossed off my list is: to go dancing and have fun doing it.

How did I manage to enjoy it, you might ask?

Well, I went in with a different mindset to start: that I was going to have fun and I didn’t care what others might think. The Ex was gone and, like the new year, I was starting with a clean sheet. Everyone in the place was dancing, being themselves and just having fun. And you know what? I did the same. I was myself. I danced. AND I had fun. If anyone rolled their eyes I didn't care. It was the perfect way to start the new year and my list.

It reminded me of a old episode of Friends were Rachel is ashamed at how Phebe runs, but then embraces it and says it feels great; she doesn’t care if people are watching because it’s so much more fun to run with abandon.

Yeah, like that.
One down. 99 to go.
This is going to be fun.

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