Friday, January 13, 2006

So what?

I love to learn new things. Don’t you? Recently, on New Year’s Eve, my 7 year old son taught me something. My family and I decided to spend the holidays in Orlando’s DisneyWorld, and to ring in the new year at the Epcot park. The multi-cultural aspect of it appealed to me.

So my family was enjoying some eggrolls and a drink in the land of China when all of a sudden super loud music explodes out of nearby speakers and strobe lights temporarily blind me. My husband and half-asleep daughter slip back, trying to hide from the crowds, but my son sort of shrugs and walks out onto an area they had obviously prepared for dancing. He gives me a mischievous grin and begins to DANCE. Now this kid has up until now been very shy – hasn’t wanted to participate in sports because he doesn’t want people watching him. Yet he willingly walked out in front of hundreds of people and performed some moves I’d never seen before. He danced for a minute or so, then cracking himself up, walked back to me. Then he repeated it a couple of times until the adults caught on and joined him on the dance floor. At this point, I fished him out and we moved on to quieter ground.

I can’t describe how shocked I was to see him out there dancing without any inhibitions! I kept thinking, "that’s not MY kid." Later I asked him about it, and he said he decided not think about being embarrassed anymore and to just have fun. That he knew he probably looked funny, but "so what". Wow. I was stunned again. I have to tell you that in my almost 40 years on this earth, I haven’t been able to resolve that same issue so easily. How many times have I NOT spoken in public because I was embarrassed? How many things have I NOT tried because I feared I wouldn’t be good enough or that I "might look funny".

Kids are great. They can say "so what". As we get older, we stop doing that. At least I have. I want to do things right or not at all. I want to be assured success before I try something new.
As writers, I think we could benefit from "so what". So what if we get a bad review – there will be good ones too. So what if the book of our heart doesn’t sell (when it’s the process of writing it that fulfills something inside of us). Much sadder if we don’t write it at all.

So this morning I joined a fitness bootcamp (scary name for dance/boxing to music) and made a complete fool of myself. LOL. I’ve stayed away from group lessons, because I have no rhythm and can never keep up with the way too young and fit girls that populate these classes. But today, I said, "so what" and went anyway. It felt great.

So if there’s something you’ve been wanting to try, go for it. Do it. Write it. Have fun!


gailbarrett said...

What a wonderful story! Yes, we should all be so willing to just do things!!!!
In a similar vein, I made a decision a few years back to take charge of my life and make some changes. After a lifetime of crowded teeth (and after paying for both kids to have braces), I decided to stop thinking about my painful teeth and actually do something to correct the problem. The heroines of our books take action and change their lives, so why not me? A few weeks later I found myself in braces. Of course, things have not gone smoothly. The promised two years have turned into three and my stubborn teeth don't want to budge. Sometimes I feel depressed about it and wish I hadn't started. But there is no going back and I will persevere. Will it be worth it in the end? Who knows? But I am still proud of myself for trying.

JoAnn Ross said...

Oh, wow! These are both such great stories!
I am hugely impressed; obviously you're both true heroines in your own lives!

Terri Brisbin said...

Lara --

I had a similar experience with my middle son -- he decided to try out for a talent show on a cruise we took two years ago. He made arrangements to borrow a band member's guitar and proceeded to perform in front of an audience of about 1000 people! I'd heard him play before but never heard him sing! I stood crying as the audience clapped...I get 'verklempt' even now thinking about it. I am so glad that he was brave enough to try this...