Today, I held a private dance party in my kitchen. I twirled, and slid along the floor, and raised my arms to the sky. And then I laughed at myself. I have to admit, I felt a little embarrassed; but that is, in part, why it felt important to hold a private dance party in my kitchen. Because I have been wasting a lot of time recently worrying about others’ opinions of me.
Why do I get embarrassed about doing things that make me feel freer and happier? I worry a lot about being judged for acting too weird, or over-the-top, or crazy. Here’s the truth: people will judge me, no matter what I do. We all have opinions about each other. We are social animals, and it is a human impulse to look around and compare ourselves to other people. However, trying to gain the approval of an entire planet’s worth of human beings is crazy-making. And also impossible.
I love Anne Lamott’s story about shopping with her best friend, Pammy, who was dying of cancer. Anne asked about a dress she was trying on, “does this make my hips look big?” And Pammy replied: “Anne, you don’t have that kind of time.”
I love this story, because Pammy’s reply cuts right to the heart of the matter.We don’t have enough time on this planet to worry about things like whether a particular dress makes our hips look big. (Also, if someone is going to judge your worth by the size of your hips, then they are most likely not worth your time.)
As far as I know, I have this one life. I may be wrong. But I am operating under the assumption that I have one opportunity to live as me on this particular planet at this particular moment in history. So I want to make it epic. I want to make it an adventure. And I want to make it a testament to my capacity for joy. This blog is one of an arsenal of tools I have to keep me honest, to keep me coming back when I get lost and down, and to remind me that there is goodness in the world.