Dance Like No One is Watching, Or You Just Don’t Give a F!$#
Is it just me, or does Facebook sending you memory suggestions creep you out a bit? I always appreciate the opportunity for some wistful nostalgia, but the fact that Facebook uses an algorithm to monitor my life and create some sort of digital scrapbook as a memento kind of gives me the heebie jeebies, eliciting flashbacks to reading Orwell in college. Plus, if Facebook is so damn smart, why can’t they figure out that I broke up with my ex-girlfriend over a year ago and stop suggesting pictures of happier memories we posted years before? Yeah, thanks Facebook- just what I needed- to be perpetually reminded of my disconsolate sorrow.
But then, out of nowhere, the other day Mark Zuckerberg sent me a video of my daughter from four years ago dancing to her heart’s content around our old living room. Fittingly, the song she was twirling around to like a top spun with just a bit too much zeal was Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”. Don’t worry- she knew I was filming her, but I’m not sure if that made her more or less animated in her robust movements. To be honest, I think she simply didn’t care. And that’s just what I love about that kid.
Now, if you have ever seen me dance, you know I just don’t give a shit. I’m not saying I’m good. In full disclosure, I don’t even know if I’m good or not. What I do know is that I can feel the music deep in my soul and that dancing- no matter how I do it- it just feels good.
I know we have all heard that saying, “Dance like no one is watching”, and yeah, I get it. We should all live life AS IF we are unconcerned with the inevitable societal judgment that comes from making a horse’s ass out of yourself (something I know how to do far too well). But how about taking that one step further. How about we just stop giving a damn whether anyone is watching or not. Let ‘em watch.
Now, this is going to disturb some of you, but I walk around my house naked on a regular basis. Ok, when the kids are around, I at least have the decency to throw on a pair of shorts or something, but there is many a time when I galavant around my abode in all the full splendor that the Good Lord provided me. And while I live right on the third tee box of a private golf course, my window shades are open pretty much throughout the day. I’ve been asked by previous partners and housemates if this doesn’t somehow worry me. “Someone might see you,” they often suggest with a smack of desperate concern.
“So…” being my standard reply.
“Well, you’re naked. Like completely naked. They will see you naked.”
“Well, what if they’re a perv or something and get off watching you.”
“I hope they enjoy the show. Tell them there’s a tip jar on the window sill.”
“What if they take pictures of you?
“Ask them to send a copy. I was looking for something to hang above the mantle.”
And now you know why I’m single. But still, my point is the same. Why do I need to worry about what someone else is thinking about me? That’s their issue not mine. I like my body. It’s not perfect, but it will do, thank you very much. And I like myself, and I think that’s where so many of us get caught up. We don’t like ourselves, so we close the window shades, dance like we’re supposed to, pretend to be people that we really aren’t- all so that we can transform ourselves into people we think other people will like.
Well, screw them. Be yourself. People will either like it or they won’t, and the people that do- those are your peeps. Those that don’t, aren’t, and that’s ok too. That doesn’t make them bad people or anything. It just means they have bad taste.
For years now, I have said that when I go to a party, I want to be the guy that leaves an impression. That’s just who I am. I want to be the guy that if you went around and asked people about after the party was over, everybody would have an opinion. Some people would love me. Some people would hate me. Hopefully, more of the former than the latter, but you get the idea. What I don’t want to be is the person who makes people go, “Steven? Which one was he again? Oh the devilishly good-looking chap with so much gray hair? Yeah, I don’t really remember him….” Because that person is just there to fit in.
Back when I was a kid, my dad would often take me to Boston to go see the Red Sox. On the way home, we would cross the Charter Oak Bridge, just outside of Hartford. My dad drove over that bridge hundreds of time each year, but every time we stopped to pay the toll, my dad would roll down the window and stop to ask the attendant if the bridge was open. As the attendant merely looked back in befuddled bewilderment, I, filled with teenage angst and mortification, would bury my head between my legs lest I be associated with this humiliating stupidity. But as I grew into my college years and my own sense of self, I started to straighten up and laugh with my dad each time he did it. Yes, it was stupid and embarrassing, but it was also funny, and it brought me joy- something we should never underestimate in a life that can never have enough of it to go around.
So dance like you just don’t give a damn. Hell, dance naked around your house. You may just find a bit more joy if you do.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com