Dance like nobody is watching

Hands up, readers dearest, if you truly don’t care what others think of you. Do you drift instinctively, chasing your dreams without any real plan or fear of reproach; or is your existence based upon a tightly woven coil of socially acceptable norms? Be honest now.

On the one hand

If you were to ask me. I would tell you about my suspicions. That most people who shout about the former secretly major in the latter. You only need to take one look at Instagram to find out who the silent screamers of “I just want to be loved” are, living every day like they are on the cover of a magazine. Fearful of bucking the trends.

But where does insecurity begin?

Acceptance or rejection by the neighbourhood kids perhaps? Who themselves are desperately seeking acceptance from peers and seniors. Seeking acceptance by aping ‘celebrities.’ Who desperately seek acceptance from the record and fashion execs. Who are sitting on their piles of treasure. Who are probably getting depressed because there is someone even richer than themselves that they really need to get on with impressing. Who…

…And on it goes. Rosy, eh.

Insecurity sucks, even at the very basic level. For example, I often find myself proclaiming “I couldn’t care less what you/he/she thinks of me!” And then spending hours revisiting conversations, picking away at how adopting a different approach could have made the outcome more favourable for me or paint me in a better light.

But why do I care? Why don’t I just tell them to F off if I feel like it? if only I could see a few more shades of grey in my monochrome approach to diplomatic relations.

A perfect example of my submission happened earlier in the week. I threw in the towel on an issue that I felt right about, purely to avoid the embarrassment of a confrontation. The consequences of such confrontation, in my mind, would have been followed up by opinions, whispers and sideways glances being thrown at my back from the crowd forevermore.

So instead of offloading my true feelings, I let them eat away at me from the inside. And you know what. It’s still my problem. I can’t let it go. Team arse burger wins again. And I ask again, in a world inhabited by seven billion other people, why the hell do I care so much what a handful of them might or might not think of me?

Are any of you with me on this?

*echos for miles*

On the other hand.

In the midst of this torture I was mildly heartened. I was sent this video directly on three occasions by homies from different social circles in my life (aka fellow-repressed-people-turned-haters). On first watch, this guy’s behaviour could be semi-acceptable at a push…if this were a video from 9pm at a Scottish wedding after a good few drams.

But this my friends is: one man, dancing on a catwalk. At a wedding sales exhibition in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Now this is where I suspect my US readers and repressed terribly reserved Brits will diverge. This video went viral in Aberdeen. Because this guy happens to be a senior exec in the same industry as I used to work in, it popped up on my social media feeds several more times.

“What a twat.” “I can’t see his employers being happy about this.” “What was he thinking?” “How will his poor kids cope?” “How will he be able to look his team in the eye on Monday?” These give a flavour of the comments I saw appearing.

Yes, he doesn’t look like a particularly rhythmic soul but he could be a lot of fun at a party, right?

His response to all this? He was flattered by the interest; amused by the critiques; and maintained composure and grace throughout in the face of some pretty nasty close-to-home criticism.

Not the popular view, but I really admire this guy.

This is how I want to be as a writer.

He inspires me to not to be afraid of the enlightenment and liberation associated with literally dancing like nobody is watching.

Oh, and recognising that there is power in looking silly and not caring that you do.

Muddled Manuscript

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26 thoughts on “Dance like nobody is watching

  1. I’m with you on whatever it is. 🙂 You can’t please everyone. When it comes to your confrontation it’s usually wise to pick your battles. Is it worth the hassle? I’m generally an introvert so I’ll normally genuflect like you to avoid causing harm, hurt feelings, etc. Unless they’ve ticked me off and then I’m a fire breathing dragon.

    And I thought the dancing guy was great even before reading what you wrote afterwards. At first I thought there was something wrong with the others, lol. While I’m not one to dance onstage I appreciate those that are outside the box.

    I saw that Glasgow had a beautiful sunset this evening so hope the rest of your week is just as beautiful. Cheers! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are quite correct, Glasgow’s sunset was absolutely stunning last night! We were swathed in pink and purples hues. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a picture. Next time!

      Like you I excuse myself from some battles saying it’s not worth the hassle, but then chastise myself relentlessly. Maybe the confrontation would actually be a better option – lol!

      I’m not sure I will be getting up on stage anytime soon but it’s a great example of someone enjoying life whilst sticking two fingers up at everyone else!

      Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, quite thought-provoking. I think I personally experience the tension or friction that occurs between genuinely not giving a stuff about other people’s views up to a point but also being a social cripple who tries not to do – or more importantly – say anything mortifying.

    I’ve always been fairly robust that way I think as a result of being bullied throughout my school years. If I was never going to fit the accepted norms of my peers, whose opinions and values I did not respect anyway, then I didn’t need to even try to conform or behave in a manner they found acceptable. Nowadays I’m very aware that I’m a tomboy scruff most days amid much more polished people but it still doesn’t bother me because I know I feel comfortable as I am and I want to spend my resources and time on other things. Diversity is cool that way.

    However, there are situations when I do become socially anxious. Meeting people for the first time, I can’t help but ponder how they are going to react to me, what impression I will create. It doesn’t lead me to try and conform or adopt a facade but still it grumbles away in my gut like indigestion, the worry that someone will take me for something other than who I am. My husband, for instance, has been in his new job for 17 months now and I’ve not yet met any of his colleagues. Mostly that’s a lack of babysitting but I admit to also being worried about somehow tarnishing my husband’s standing by being too full-throttle me. Because I absolutely don’t modify my behaviour to fit in anywhere or with anyone, because mostly I don’t care what people think, I then get anxious about it at the times when it matters most how others perceive me.

    So that was a very wittery and waffly way of saying I completely understand the tension.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Laura, it’s interesting that you worry about how you come across, as on the flip side I admire you for just being yourself and, crucially, not caring what others think. I would say that I’m pretty much myself most of the time, apart from those occasions that I mention where I would love to tell someone where to get off but don’t. In reality I think this is usually the right thing but sadly elephants never forget and I find it hard to go full circle to liking someone after they have annoyed me in some way, sometimes even if over trivial matters. I guess all this is just human nature and why we are all born to be different! It’s the unsolvable precursor to pondering the meaning of life…I will save that post for another day 😜 thanks for your kind words and interesting insight.

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  3. My son is terribly shy and complained to me about his father’s willingness to ‘say anything and do anything, anywhere and at any time.’
    The funny thing about it to me was how he wasn’t aware of how aware I am about time and place and how that might impact things.

    But at the same time as conscious as I may be I tend to only worry about whether it will be have professional consequences. My friends will be my friends regardless of whether my singing or dancing is solid.

    Life is short, got to find all the ways we can to suck the marrow out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wise words as usual Jack! It’s interesting how others perceive us versus the “truth” – I am very shy but that seems to surprise a lot of people. Probably because I am so used to forcing myself to overcome it nowadays I guess! Take it easy & thanks for reading.

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  4. Great commentary! I can, in small doses, not care about what people think of me, like a girl at work that I dislike myself, I’ve come to peace with the fact that she doesn’t like me either and that’s okay. And I WISH I could be silly and let go and not care, but I’m still working on that. That video was awesome and it bums me out that people were so negative. So a guy was dancing and being silly…who cares?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Peace is definitely mutual dislike and being ok with that. There’s a couple of people I know who I am not a fan of who I’m pretty sure feel the same about me and it’s quite nice not to have to pretend to be nice to them, this makes dealings much more civil! Thanks for reading.

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  5. Haha. I loved that video! I would never do something like that, even after several pints! but I respect people who don’t have fear of possibly looking foolish in front of others.

    In general, I’m not too concerned about what people think about me as long as I’m solid with what I think about myself. HOWEVER, there have been plenty of times when I’ve spent too much time going over conversations in my mind, or even imagining conversations that might happen. That’s one reason I like writing. You get to edit and refine before it’s shared. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Candace! Yes, he’s a brave guy! I got into mindfulness last year and this seems to help rid my brain of toxic over analysis and basically just let things go!

      I absolutely agree about writing. Where would we be without our blogs?! Best wishes & thanks for reading!

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  6. Lovely to see you around these parts again! I had always been very shy and mostly motivated by what I imagined others were thinking. Until I spent my 15 months off work introspecting. I do still think about what others might be thinking and sometimes I catch myself reacting based on these imaginings of mine, but I’ve learned to be more honest about what I’m thinking or what I want to do and – amazingly – many of the confrontations I think I’m about to have never materialize. Took a lot of work to get here, though! And I’m definitely an introvert (though like you, few would believe this) so I completely understand where you’re coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Silverleaf! Great to see you again too! I need to work on bringing my word count down so that I can hit the grids again! They’re always about 100 words out of reach.

      It sounds like there is hope! I absolutely agree about your comment on confrontation – I perhaps spend more time worrying and getting worked up waiting for this to happen when the other person is already into next week.

      Thanks for reading!

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  7. See? Being carefree works! I keep telling my boss that very same thing, but he’s all “No, Daniel, we don’t show up naked to customer meetings, we don’t dance Polka during CEOs speeches, and please, stop parroting everything I’m saying right now in a high-pitched voice with a one-second delay.”

    My boss is so lame!

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  8. I always think negative, close to home criticism about someone obviously just having a bit of lighthearted fun just shows the critic up and most people make their judgement about that 😊. What’s so wrong in their lives that they have to try and show others up? His video made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wise words Charlotte. As a performer (and a fantastic one at that) there must be times when you feel exposed to people like this. Haters are always going to hate I guess and they are probably the most miserable types of all. Thanks for reading!

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  9. I absolutely get this, and I am right with you. Your comment about avoiding confrontation, but it remaining your problem, really resonated because it’s so true. The silly thing is, what we imagine people think about us is largely self-centered isn’t it, in that we expect them to ‘notice’ far more about what we’ve said/done than they probably do. We worry about what people think, and yet I suspect they often aren’t thinking anything about us at all! That worry can still be paralyzing. It is for me anyway.
    And the video, personally I think it’s fantastic! Good for him, he turned something fairly boring into something really fun by not taking himself too seriously. I admire that. Negative comments say more about the people criticizing him than it does him…

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    • Yes, this kind of introspection mixed with low self-esteem can be debilitating. I’m not sure there is a way to cure it other than keeping going and putting ones self “out there” – even then suspect it will always remain a hurdle. Thanks for sharing your thoughts x

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  10. I love that video – that guy looks like much more fun than anyone else and good on him for having such a great reaction to the criticism he got. It seems mean that people said such negative things and I think those sorts of reactions are one of the reasons that most of us worry what people might think – because people can be mean! I wish I could not worry what people think of me but I do. I suspect it’s a rare person who really doesn’t care and actually caring to some extent is part of having successful social relationships isn’t it? We just unfortunately tend to care too much when we shouldn’t. There’s probably a balance in there somewhere and I certainly haven’t found it yet. Lots in this post to think about! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad this post resonated with you. Us writers are sensitive souls and think that – for me – a fear of failure has and does sometimes stop me putting myself out there and seizing opportunities. I think I’m getting a little better but it’s a slowly slowly catchy monkey thing still heavily couched in cotton wool! Thanks for reading xx

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  11. Totally with you on this one. I’m not sure quite when my insecurities began to set in, but it was sometime around puberty. Since then they have swung between being mildly distracting and utterly debilitating, and I have often wondered what I might have been able to achieve if they hadn’t been there, niggling at me. It’s especially true creatively. I went to drama school after uni, convinced for a while that because I loved the theatre I wanted to be an actor. There were some wonderful moments, but the critique I kept getting, over and over again, was that I needed to loosen up, be less self-conscious. That’s a critique I’ve continued to give myself in the fifteen years since – especially when it comes to writing. And, you know, I’m getting there… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there! How wonderful that you do acting. I would love to try my hand at that but I literally cannot get over my self-consciousness and anxiety and therefore just know I couldn’t perform on any level. I think it would be so liberating though. Criticism like that is not really helpful to the sensitive soul as the “I’m never going to be good enoughs” set in and take root. I’m sure they were well intentioned! Hoping you can dance like nobody is watching again soon! Thanks for reading x

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