I have discovered the secret to happiness.
You know that really expression you see on mugs in new age catalogs? “Dance like no one is watching”? While the commercialization of the sentiment is particularly nauseating, there is some truth to it. Tonight I had a nasty case of the mean reds. I mean, Holly Golightly would have had to squat a Tiffany’s for the next 5 years to get rid of them. It was like all the angst I never experience in my early teenage years was coming to a quick and overwhelming boil that would surely last throughout my mid-thirties. It was very werewolf-esque and I needed to get out of my dorm room before I ate my innocent roommate. It was so bad that I needed to use three metaphors to properly describe it.
I grabbed my ipod and went for a walk. The first song I heard made me want to cry, so I searched around for something that coordinated with my mood better. When I found the perfect song, I realized I had to dance. Like really hard core, rock-it-out, Studio-54-minus-the-coke, dance.
I tentatively walked over an snowy area of campus where not too many people would walk by and I went for it. I danced all over the place. I bopped, I slide, I did that thing with my arms that people tell me not to do at parties. I didn’t care how I looked, I just moved. I let the endorphin rush through my veins and my hair fly everywhere. I began let everything go and just dance.
I didn’t feel this good, just because I was dancing. It was that I was dancing alone, outside and for the world to see. Completely exposed and completely free. You can dance at a party surrounded by your friends, but you worry about what they will think. You can dance alone in your room, but if you catch a glimpse of yourself in the bad light of the bathroom mirror, you stop dead. That is just too much pressure for something that should be the purest expression of joy.
(Corny, but so true)
You don’t get that by outside, by yourself. There are no mirrors or friends to remind you how silly you look and you subsequently forget to feel silly all together. I learned not to care who did or didn’t see me. (And people did see me; one couple definitely stopped and watch for a whole song. I pretended I didn’t notice). I think it’s when you are dancing the silliest that you feel the coolest. I mean, I glided down alleys like I was in a musical and sambaed up hills like I was hot shit and I totally was.
When I was finally tired enough to start grooving back to my dorm, I was completely blissed-out. Calm yet alert – like you’re supposed to be after a yoga class, but aren’t because you kinda sorta fell asleep in Savasana again. I can not remember the last time I felt that happy on my own.
So, cliché or not, if you are looking a little bit of stress relief – go out and dance like no one is watching.