My youngest daughter had a gymnastics party for her 7th birthday. But the best part of the party was not the cake or the presents or even the gymnastics- it was watching 10 7-year-old girls get up on a stage and have an impromptu dance party. Just because the music was good. Just because a stage was there. Just because.
So these little girls danced and jumped around in a room in the mall with glass windows. And people stopped as they danced and watched them prance around, lip synching and pretending they were on t.v. and having the time of their lives. It was so free. It was so energetic. It was so uninhibited and unselfconscious It was glorious. Because not only did the girls just decide to dance despite people watching, they didn't even know enough to worry about others watching or judging, they didn't even know enough to make the decision to throw caution to the wind, they didn't even know that they ought to think before dancing. They just danced.
Sometimes I'm impulsive and sometimes I leap before I look and sometimes I speak before I think and sometimes I am proud of that fact even if it does not always serve me well. But one thing I would like to continue to learn is to be comfortable in my own skin. Because that's really what the little girls were saying without speaking one word: they were so comfortable in who they are and where they are, that they just dance and sing and enjoy the moment because it's there. I would like to do that more. I try and sometimes succeed in feeling just perfectly at ease in the moment, in my body, in my self. But there are times when I don't. Those times when I feel embarrassed or regretful or simply uneasy are difficult to pass through. I judge myself both for being uncomfortable and I judge myself for judging myself.
But as I get older I realize that this judgment doesn't serve me well and only serves to compound the problem. So instead of practicing "non-judgment", I'm going to practice self-acceptance. Because the root of the problem is not the judgment, it's the unease. So maybe if I dance a little more and think a little less, maybe if I look in the mirror and notice what it is that's lookin' good instead of what I would like to fix, maybe that unease will dissipate. Maybe by appreciating who I am instead of who I am not, I can walk a little taller with just a little more bounce in my step. Maybe by accepting who I am today I will be freer to dance my way into tomorrow.
After all, this is the life.