Sometimes doing nothing feels like the key to everything.
7:27 in the morning, still awake. The last days of 2016. Staring up at the ceiling.
I’ve been crossing back and forth between “awake” and “half conscious.” Thoughts running at a million miles an hour, as per usual, especially when I finally pull myself away from the computer.
That damn attention and productivity black hole in my life.
Listening to Liquicity, the playlist I go to when I feel like escaping my mind and pursuing a world of “what if?” What does my heart have to say? What can I do for the world? A playlist to enter introspection and flow. I’m sure we all have music like this.
As I continued to lay there, I was no longer distracted by the stimulation of 2.07 million pixels flashing into my eyes.
I could focus.
There’s something profound with just being by yourself. Listening to your own thoughts, trying to talk with yourself.
Not reading some article. Not watching some video. Not listening to some podcast.
Not consuming. Just listening to your soul and the playlist of your own thoughts. The manifestation of both conscious and subconscious thoughts clashing together for your own amusement and terror.
Something I’ve been learning lately: listen to your heart.
Also: whatever the hell keeps repeating in your mind is probably your heart (or soul, God, or whatever) trying to shout, “listen to me, damnit, this is important!”
It was how I discovered my passion for dance.
One YouTube video in. “Oh hey, this looks neat, what is it?”
Two videos in. “That looks fun– look at that!”
And then an hour later, and I’m still watching videos.
One week later, one month, 6 months — still, I keep coming back to them.
Same thing. Over and over, it repeats.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s something I want to do.
So I finally tried it. I liked it.
I decide to do more of it. And I still really liked it.
To make a long story short: When I finally listened to my heart and followed the messages that kept repeating, I was able to discover something so very important in my life.
It felt a little “unusual” for me in the beginning, but I still followed it anyway.
I felt embarrassed about accepting it and telling other people about it at first. Not that there was any valid reason to other than it was “different” from what I normally was like, or what might be normal for my age group.
But the more I did it and the longer I was exposed to it, the easier it got.
What if something new shows up?
Something new, but the same pattern: it keeps repeating and replaying in my mind?
What if it’s something even more “different”?
Do I still pursue it? I’ve been struggling with that answer for a long time (and probably will for a while still), but some things never go away.
Do I follow my own advice of following through what repeats? Or do I impose different advice to turn it away?
I don’t fucking know.
Will people judge me for it? Likely. People judge other people all the time.
But that doesn’t mean that another person’s opinion should dictate our choices in life.
So what if someone thought learning to dance is super weird and unconventional for me?
(Translation: so what if some other person who is not me decided that something is weird for me to do even though they aren’t actually me?)
It shouldn’t have any impact on me.
If I want to do it, I should do it. That should be it and the end of the story.
When it came to dance, I was anxious at first, but I continued. Why? I loved it and it became a part of who I am.
And reflecting on that makes the next arena, the next uncommonality, the next challenge a little easier to come to terms with.
But it’s still a really tough concept for me to break through.
Because I know it has the potential to cause at least a small ripple in my own circle. It’s likely to raise eyebrows. People might judge.
Is there ever a time to “hide” who we are?
What if it’s “too weird”?
I started asking a friend that I looked up to, who helped me to come to terms with this new arena, and her words struck a chord. Particularly:
“One of our most essential, primary tasks on this earth is to get to know and accept all of who we are – so that we remove our masks and give our true selves to the world, thereby giving our unique gifts and liberating others to do so as well.”
But it’s still a really hard thing for me to do, and I’m willing to bet that a majority of people still wear a “mask” on parts of who they really are.
Sometimes people can be dicks and try to tear people down.
But sometimes people can be awesome and support individuality.
It’s hard to know where to draw the line. Or if we should even draw a line in the first place.
Shouldn’t I examine both sides of the coin?
Generally, there are three reactions someone is going to have to anything we do.
- They think it’s stupid. They judge, they make judgmental remarks, or maybe they keep it to themselves.
- They think it’s awesome. They support it, they make supportive remarks, or maybe they keep it to themselves.
- They don’t give a damn. They’re too busy to even comment, they’re too busy with their own life, or they really just don’t give a shit. (i.e., “You do you, I’m gonna do me.”)
It’s not black and white. It’s a spectrum. A variability for each person.
2 out of 3 situations: they support, or they just don’t care. 1 out of 3 situations: they judge, they try to tear you down. Probably because a) they have nothing to do, b) have their own problems and express it in different ways, or even c) they genuinely believe different things, and that makes their opinion just as valid.
However, in 3 out of 3 situations, that’s on them to decide, not you. I can’t control how you feel or how you will react. I can only control my input into the world.
You control the output: how do you react, how will the market respond?
I’ve always tried to emphasize to myself and to others who struggle similarly: we should always be who we are, whatever it is. No matter how weird and quirky. As long as we’re not hurting anyone.
I can support you or I can judge you.
You can support me or you can judge me.
You do you, I’ll do me.
But that shouldn’t change our choice to do or not do something.
If our heart calls, we should answer.
If it continues to repeat itself over and over and beg us to do something, are we going to save ourselves from a little ridicule? A snicker? A lifetime of judgement?
Or answer it and release what we really have to offer the world?
So I’m choosing to honor my heart’s calling, even if I have to do it quietly.
For no other reason than to inch closer to removing the mask of who I am.
Even if I don’t know what I look like under that mask yet.
It’s about the question everybody asks and few can answer: