Do you remember what happens if you feed a Mogwai after midnight? That’s right—it turns into a Gremlin. The same thing happens to me if you let me hear gangsta rap after midnight. I spontaneously transform. I like to think I resemble a Fly Girl, but it’s probably more like Elaine in that one episode of Seinfeld. You know the one. 

For real, movement has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. That’s why I could never fully relate to the phrase that’s the hallmark of carefree living…dance like nobody’s watching. For me, this never really made sense. I have never cared who watched me dance. I have always been the first one on the dance floor. The only negative connotation I’ve ever had with dance is my recurring dream that I’m at a dance recital and can’t remember the choreography.

recurring dreams & reclaiming my inner child.

We all have that one nagging dream or nightmare that plays on repeat at different times in our life. I like to think of this as my unfinished business tickling the back of my mind, reminding me that I need to revisit something (I’ve been doing a lot of that lately).

Anyway, I decided to face this fear head on over the summer by signing up for an adult hip hop class so I can bust a move when that gangsta rap comes on.

I was ready to take on a new challenge, keep embracing my inner child that I described in my blog aNtiDotE to ADulTiNg, and experience the vitality that comes through movement.

The thing is, this class wasn’t a bunch of women reclaiming their inner child — it was actual children. Okay, teenagers. Ya’ know, with braces and stuff…and me…O.M.G.

The moment I showed up and realized I was at least 20 years older than everyone else, I started judging myself.

  • What was I doing here?
  • Who did I think I was?
  • What do these girls think of me?
  • Can I even do this?

Those fears were paralyzing. I was probably the only one watching me and judging, who knows, but that first class, I couldn’t get out of my head. I was so preoccupied with my embarrassment that I could barely remember the 8-counts the instructor demonstrated.

At the end of class, I confessed my head games to the instructor, and she empathized and said: “Dance now, think later.”

fill in the blank.

I love to move, so why was I tripping out over this? After that little pep talk, I showed up for the next six weeks (well, to be honest, I crowdsourced for opinions on whether I should be a dance school dropout) and did my thang. While I don’t think I’ll be joining Shakira and J.Lo on stage any time soon, I am ready to do anything like nobody’s watching.

This experience has taught me to empathize with anyone who’s ever related to that original phrase, “Dance like nobody’s watching.” I realized it’s not about dancing. It’s about putting yourself out there. Whether it’s my kids, my colleagues, you name it. We can all agree change is hard AF. Getting into the uncomfort zone triggers our self-judgment.

Let’s reclaim that fear and rename it GROWTH.

Let’s GROW like nobody’s watching.

Seriously though, fill in this blank with whatever new thing you have been holding back from trying:

  • Write like nobody’s watching;
  • Ballroom dance like nobody’s watching;
  • Take karate like nobody’s watching (yes, I watch Cobra Kai).

Or better yet, fill in the blank with whatever old unfinished business for which you’ve had recurring dreams. Chase those fears down and transform mental tragedy into triumph!

Let me know how you plan to fill in the blank like nobody’s watching.

Sending you all my peace, love, and rhythm— stay weird!