During my time meditating and reflecting, I’ve realized how I’m not the person I was years ago. I have been taking life too seriously and been pretty uptight. And as I became a mom, I realize how my priorities shift, my mind shifts, my mannerisms shift, my feelings shift and I know that I was a different person. I found myself wondering, who am I? Why aren’t I as carefree as I was when I was younger? Where is my adventure? In talking with my husband, along with a few amazing women in my life, I remembered that I wasn’t always this way. And here’s the story, the memory that brought me to the realization:
I starting dancing in the 3rd grade. One of the reasons I went to the college (now a University) I went to was because of their dance program. I wanted to continue dancing in my life in some capacity. My dream was to be either a back up dancer for a performer, or a dancer on Broadway. I couldn’t imagine my life without dance in it. My freshman year of college I enrolled in the dance program. I began taking dance classes and met so many people. During this freshman year, another dancer had mentioned that they were going to go into Boston for an open casting call for dancers on a cruise line, Disney Cruise Line. I was thoroughly intrigued and asked if anyone could go. They said yes. I said I wanted to go with them and they said sure! So when the day came, we hopped onto the train, which conveniently was right on campus, and headed into the city. Now, I’m by no means a city person. And I didn’t go on trains often. I loved the idea of the city, but it always scared me to go where there were so many buildings, streets, and lots of people. It also, looking back on it, gave me anxiety. Thankfully, the person I was with knew how to navigate the trains and where we needed to get to in the city. When we got to where the open casting call was, there were so many dancers! It was a little nerve wrecking, but for some reason I was able to keep calm. I was 19 at the time. I didn’t seem to care about all the other people there. I was excited to try out this new experience. We wound up bumping into a few other dancers from school, which prompted me to be a bit more nervous. But yet, I remained calm and excited. While all the bits and pieces of this memory aren’t all there, that doesn’t matter in this story. It didn’t matter if I made it or not. I remember being in one of the lines dancing and following directions very carefully, all while holding a smile on my face. Each round of the audition was getting a little bit more difficult and I could tell I was being closely watched. I kept my cool, continued to follow direction, smiled and kept my head up high. While I don’t recall the exact round I got to, I can tell you I didn’t make the cut. What really matters, now that I’m thinking of it, is how I felt. The feelings that I had during this process were what I can recall the most. I was so proud of myself. I worked so hard. I was calm. I kept smiling regardless of what was happening. More importantly, I had fun! I had an experience that I will never forget. It was wonderful not to have cared about what others thought, said, or did in regards to my experience during that time.
Over the course of the past year or so, thinking about that memory, I’m saying “what was I thinking?”, “who is that girl? WHERE is that girl?” Somewhere between sophomore year of college/junior year of college I injured my knee and stopped dancing. I helped out at the dance shows all the time instead of dancing. It was fun to help, but also, so hard to help at the shows> It was strange not actually be on that stage, performing. I missed it terribly and I’m pretty sure that I was losing a part of myself. I was always known as the dancer. So who am I without dance? So something was shifting and I started to revert back into a shell. I’m digressing a bit here…so let me get back to the point.
Part of my journey is to find that carefree person I use to be. That person that didn’t care about what other people thought. To enjoy whatever adventure comes my way and whatever is presented to me. To have fun. To try things that I said I always wanted to try. To try things that I never thought I’d try. To let things go and not stress so much. To jump into something with full gusto and run with it, regardless if someone tells me it’s not a good idea. To be silly and playful with my kids, and anytime for that matter. To do what’s best for me. That person is slowing emerging from her shell and being seen. It is definitely a work in progress, but I’m getting there. I’m working on finding that freedom within myself to do anything and everything I want to. I’m working on that carefree, relaxed feeling to have more often. Let me rephrase that: I AM carefree. I AM relaxed. I AM full of joy.