Breakin’ Old Habits
I was a wanna’ be break dancer. I get these obsessions from time to time. I see something that fascinates me and I throw myself into it. Back in the mid ’80s, it was break dancing.
I wish you could have seen it. I had a big piece of cardboard covering the concrete floor of our closed-in garage and would practice, practice, practice. I had my boombox loaded with the soundtracks to Beat Street and Breakin’ and wore the tapes out. (I need to pop over to iTunes and download those to see what memories flood back.) I never was that good at the more acrobatic craziness even though I tried hard and had the bruises to prove it. What I really liked and was able to halfway pull off were the liquid, gliding and popping moves. It was all magical.
Nothing much came of my hobby back then though. I don’t think anyone outside of my family even knew about it. I wanted to wait until I was good enough before springing it on the masses. I had these dreams of showing up at school with my “skills” and having a crowd gather around to cheer me on with Grand Master Flash blaring from the box. What an awesome dream it was.
But one day I mentioned my hobby to a friend and instead of the awe and admiration I expected, the response was laughter and ridicule. I was a pretty shy kid in the first place and that one laugh was all it took for me to pack away my break dance dream.
I wasn’t crushed. I didn’t need therapy. I came a little ways out of my shell later on and at school proms would hit the dance floor. But it was more in the style of Footloose than Beat Street. (You know. That two hand finger snap with alternating front kicks. Can you picture it?) But I was ticked at myself because I never risked showing off the breakin’ in public and I regret it because I let someone’s knee-jerk reaction affect me and something I loved.
But this wouldn’t be the last time. A similar thing happened in college a few years later. Similar in that I found something I loved to death. Something I studied and worked on. Something I knew was right for me. But once again, I mentioned that something to a “friend” and my revelation was met with laughter. So once again I gave it up. Back in the shell.
Maybe I do need therapy. My therapist thinks I do. I still struggle with it. Not with break dancing. That’s now a physical rather than mental pain. But with the fear of making things I love public because of what other people might think. I don’t even want to say what the second thing was here for fear of that same reaction. I think it’s because that unlike break dancing, this dream still has potential.
The point of all this is, I’m trying to learn from it. I still have that fear. Hell, with the path I’ve chosen, I have it almost every day. I create something and then I wait in fear for the reaction. The thing is, I may never get past the fear but I have to make sure the fear doesn’t stop me from trying. It’s something I have to do for my own sanity and happiness but more importantly for my children. I know. Everything these days is “for the children.” But this one is important. What they see me doing is important. I came across this great quote not too long ago.
We want our children to fit in and to stand out. We rarely address the conflict between these goals. – Ellen Goodman
I’m trying to address it with the kids and with myself. We’ll see how it goes and I may even get to a point where I’m able to talk more openly about that other abandoned hobby. Perhaps it no longer falls in the abandoned category though. I’ll ask my therapist.
This was all stirred up tonight because of two movies I watched this weekend. The first was Heckler. Very cool documentary by Jamie Kennedy about the relationship of hecklers and performers. And The Visitor. A movie about the reevaluation of dreams and ideas and long held beliefs that is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. Completely different movies that were very connected.
Heckler ended with a performance by a crazy cool dancer named David Elsewhere. A viral video sensation a while back and the best liquid dancer I’ve ever seen. The internet fame got him movie and commercial roles. Here’s a taste.
If you’re into it, you can find a ton more on YouTube: David Elsewhere. By the way, I break out the break dancing every now and then so the girls can have a good laugh at dad. Ironic isin’t it. Something I gave up for fear of being laughed at I now do for laughs.