Monday 18 December 2017

Dancing Like No-One is Watching

When was the last time you danced like no-one was watching?

Giving in to your desires and feeling completely carefree, forgetting that you're surrounded by people and not even paying a thought to what they might possibly be thinking of you - that's the feeling you get when you don't have a care in the world.

In that moment, you feel completely and utterly alive, your mind, body and soul are at peace and you simply couldn't be happier. Everything else melts away and you are at one with your surroundings; it's bliss.

However, for many people, just the thought of doing something that might draw unwanted attention to you in public brings on an attack of nerves. For those with social anxiety, doing anything extravagant or even just out of the norm can be an incredibly scary experience, which is why so many of us choose to avoid these situations and try to keep ourselves to ourselves as much as possible.

I've always been a shy and reserved person, preferring to stay under the radar and keep quiet instead of joining in with crowds and being loud or rowdy. I'm a listener rather than a talker, passively participating in conversations rather than being the life and soul of the party. When left with strangers or people I barely know, I clam up and my brain empties of ice-breakers and things to say, leaving me with an awkward silence or monosyllabic answers to any questions that come my way.

So when I attended a concert earlier this year and saw a small group of women and children standing up, prancing around and throwing their limbs about in all manner of dance moves, I never in a million years dreamed that that would someday be me. During the performance, I couldn't help but keep watching that little group, looking on as they found their rhythm and sang and danced along. They looked completely relaxed, totally happy and entirely carefree, and somehow, I found myself wanting to feel that emotion.

Fast forward a few months and I found myself at an open-air festival with my boyfriend. Despite it being the middle of summer, the warm weather had upped sticks and left, leaving us with unrelenting rain resulting in everyone being completely soaked to the bone. We stuck it out in the crowd, saving our space at the front of the barriers for the majority of acts, but before the headliners came on we just had to get out of there. We were dripping wet, soaked through and freezing cold. My fingers were so wrinkled up from the constant rain that I could barely unzip my purse to buy two thoroughly unappetising but warming watery hot chocolates from one of the few catering vans still open for business.

He wanted to leave - we were both completely fed up with the weather by this point and had a long drive home ahead of us, but I wanted to see at least some of the headline set before we left. We agreed to stay for a few songs, standing right at the back of the crowd with the other stragglers, a far cry from the pushing and shoving that comes from being right in front of the stage.

As the Kaiser Chiefs came on and the familiar songs began, we started to cheer up. Perhaps it was being out of the crowd or finally having a hot drink inside us, or maybe it was just the atmosphere, but suddenly, our predicament didn't seem quite so bad after all.

In the middle of a dark, muddy field, dripping wet and soaked to the bone, we joined hands and began to dance.

It wasn't anything spectacular, or even any particularly recognisable dance moves, but to us, it was special. As we danced to the beat, sang along to the songs we knew and spun around, everyone and everything else disappeared and just the two of us and the music remained. It was different, it was new, it was special; one of those relationship-defining moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.

On that rainy summer's day, I danced in a field like no one was watching, completely carefree yet surrounded by people. I became that little group of people at the concert, I came out of my shell and couldn't have cared less what anyone thought of me.

Thanks to my boyfriend, I forgot to be self-conscious for the first time in my life, and it's for that reason that I'm here writing this post today. Love isn't about going through the motions or saying the words, love is kind and caring and supportive, yet love also pushes you to do things you never thought you would do. Love is taking the leap of faith and trusting someone to be there to catch you when you fall.

It may not be a big thing to many people, but to me, love will always be about dancing like no-one is watching.

Have you ever done something that scared you? Let me know in the comments below!

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