IMAGE: AUDREY HEPBURN & FRED ASTAIRE REHEARSING FOR FUNNY GIRL | ORIGINAL SOURCE UNKNOWN
“Others matter more than you do, so ‘don’t fuss, dear; get on with it’.” – Audrey Hepburn
I’m going to tell you something I have never told anyone. I don’t know why I never told, really. Maybe I was embarrassed. Maybe I felt a little guilty. Maybe it was just that this was for me, something I did that I didn’t want anybody to speak into.
But it was one of the realest things I have ever done, and it came from some place deep inside me that forgot about rules and just lived with total abandon.
In the summer between my first and second years of college, I often locked my bedroom door, turned up my music, and I danced.
I never had dance lessons; I had no idea what steps I should make. All I knew was that my body was moving with the realest emotion that had ever pulsed through me; I was who I was, and I was meant to be this; I never felt more beautiful.
At Sunday’s wedding reception, I got to photograph some authentic African dancing. In my whole life I have not seen such worship, such joy, such celebration as I saw when the groom’s sisters danced before the couple, invited them to dance, invited the whole room to join them.
I cried. I laughed. I took pictures and very nearly put the camera down to join them myself. Something magical happened, something spiritual, something amazing and real that left me wishing I had been so free with my own dance.
Sometimes I am tempted to believe that everyone else is holding me back, that I have to maintain my own identity and not let anyone dictate to me. But others aren’t the real threat to my existence, my brand, or my business – not friend, client, competition, or publisher. And there’s not a lot of celebration in isolation.
My own locked door is the only thing standing in the way of the dance I no longer want to keep to myself. It’s the only thing keeping me from inviting others to celebrate being alive with me.
All the fidgeting and branding and frustration and embarrassment and fear that would keep that door locked – it’s a big fuss that has nothing to do with the love that both constrains and compels me out that door.
When I pick up a camera, when I have a good shoot, I sense myself dancing again. I “unlock my bedroom door and dance” without thought for what I have to hold onto, what others are doing, or what I look like. I am overwhelmed by the sense that this is what I was meant for: offering others a glimpse into what they are meant for.
The dance is waiting, and it’s more incredible with two.