Every once in a while I read something that steps right into my soul, gently tossing my emotions around just enough that when they settle everything feels different.
Yesterday that “something” was the following piece by Rachael L. King*, a 21-year-old woman in her senior year of college. I suspect you’ll recognize yourself as you read, so without further ado I offer you her words….
In my dancing, I am two people.
Publicly, I move in the socially acceptable manner, moving within my dance space, blending in to the crowd, having fun, but under control.
Privately, I’m a nutcase. I fling my arms in dangerously wide arcs, swing my head in circles, stomp up and down, jump around, throw in some punches, all the while leaving my mouth hanging open in some strange cross between a grin and a grimace. I love it. There are few things more freeing in the world than the feeling of throwing your arms and legs high into the air, out to the sides, twisting, turning, and cavorting without the care of who’s going to think you’re crazy or strange.
Life is like that. Every time I’m asked my current major, I cringe at the explanation I’m about to have to give in order to justify the fact that I went from a pre-med student to the undirected liberal arts major. The pre-med student was my public dancer… the liberal arts student is throwing her arms to the sky, dancing against the norms, against the beaten tracks, there, she has broken free.
Publicly, I dry my hair. I put on my daily regiment of make-up. I pull on the tight jeans, I don the attractive, but slightly uncomfortable Ralph-lauren polo shirt. Meanwhile her soft voice says, “get back in bed you dummy, sleep that extra forty minutes that you just wasted on looking a little better than real”. The private dancer stays in her shell.
So why not bring out the private dancer? Why not unleash her to the world? The farther I get along in this young life of mine, the more I feel her pecking away at the shell of the public dancer. Every now and then, a hand or foot gets through, rocking the boat just the slightest bit. Sometimes the hand gets slapped, sometimes the foot gets stomped… but sometimes…on those very rare and beautiful occasions…she’s celebrated…loved…appreciated. And when that happens, I know I’ve been given a gift.
I challenge myself.
I challenge you.
Find your private dancer. Let her notice the sunsets without thinking about what work needs to be done once she gets home, let her feel the softness of a new pink snuggie without worrying that it was an impulse buy, let her taste the intricacies of a really, really good brownie without worrying about what it will do to her body later. Let her go barefoot in the mud without worrying about getting dirty, let her shout when she’s frustrated without worrying about getting in trouble, and celebrate her beauty without nitpicking the imperfections. Above all, let her dance until her breath comes in gasps, until her face flushes pink, until she collapses into bed for that extra forty minutes of sleep.
- Rachael King
What is your private dancer longing for??
Here’s to finding, nourishing and celebrating our private dancers… Thank you Rachael!
* I am honored to have known this amazing person for every one of her 21 years – Rachael is my beloved niece, youngest daughter of my oldest brother.