One of my early meet-ups with shame - was at a school dance party in 5th grade: I was loving a song that was playing so I danced my heart out to it. Unapologetic, loose, and free. I remember how happy I was and how much fun I was having. All until I noticed a couple of popular girls (who else?) that were impersonating my freedom. Making fun of my moves. Imitating my dance style as if it was the worst thing they have ever seen.
Ironically, I was actually a trained dancer, having taken ballet since the age of 6, then modern dance at 12 and jazz until I was 15. I even danced the Can-Can on stage once. I had years of practice, and I enjoyed myself for sure, but I didn't have nearly as much fun in classes as I did in freestyle dance.
....Which made seeing those girls imitate my dance style even more hurtful.
It hurt so much that I learned to hide my joy of dancing. For years.
In the recent months of this chaotic-bizarre-tragic-fascinating-agonizing era,
I have found myself rediscovering my love for movement, and my joy in being free with my body and following music, even when I am completely off-beat. It seems like 'rebelling perfectionism' can take many forms, right?
So now I; Move daily through my beloved workout routine ('The Class' - highly recommended, it's a workout for the body, mind and soul as it is an intense cardio-strength workout that integrates meditation, breathing techniques and yoga) where I get to connect with my body and feel both its strengths and weaknesses; Once a week I dance all the silly moves with Ryan Heffington at his Live IG dance parties; And yesterday I tried a ballet class for the first time in YEARS.
I think rediscovering my love for movement correlates with my desire to overcome shame and the courage I now have to tell those girls or anyone who doesn't value my joy to... SHUT UP AND DANCE.
So there you have it. Have YOU ever judged someone in their joy? Or have you been judged for it yourself? If you are human - you likely have encountered both sensations in your lifetime. So why don't you give that self-judgment or shame a break and just DANCE IT OFF.
It doesn't have to be perfect
It doesn't have to be right
It can be PURE JOY.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman