About a month ago I watched the 2011 version of the movie Footloose. Something about this movie intrigued me.
I tend to the view the world around me, (people, places, and especially media), from an energetic level. What is the underlying energy of the thing? Is it supportive, destructive, draining, refreshing, authentic, deep, healing, warped, shallow? What is it, really?
This particular movie was imbued with several unsavory energies and strategic mind programming, kind of candy coated into a very cute, predictable, and decently cheesy storyline, but that was not surprising or intriguing.
The intriguing thing about this movie was that, for all my little criticisms, I could not turn it off! After sifting through the energetic nonsense, I was left with the beauty, energy, and open perspective of youth, the discovery of freedom, and dancing, amazing dancing! There was a whisper inside me. My cage was rattled. Shake shake shake! Get out of your cage!
I found myself reminiscing…reminded of another time, another me.
There was dancing then. And I was young and free.
I spent my college years getting degrees from two colleges in two different cities. I was steeped in brainwashed dreams of my future in Corporate America, the aspiring businesswoman. But that was all vaguely in the future. I really spent those college years having A LOT of fun. My most poignant and powerful memories are of the nights I spent out dancing. Not partying or getting intoxicated, just dancing. To be quite clear, I am not a good dancer. At all. But in the dark, with the music bumping, I let go and I moved.
I did not know it at the time, but for those hours on the dance floor, I was free, I was without burden, I was expressive, I was human.
And, I was a lot like the movie. Lots of unsavory energy existed in that twenty something young woman; there were many mind programs running through my being that needed to be rewritten, many candy coated toxic behavior patterns.
So now, here I am in my thirties, and I have discarded much of that unsavory energy through the inner work of brutally honest self-assessment and intentional rewiring of mental and behavioral patterns. The role of Mother has been the stimulus for much of my inner work. But, this role has also brought about a more serious, structured lifestyle.
I realized, begrudgingly, I am not having nearly as much fun as often as I did when I was young. It seems I have replaced an old burden with a new burden. Why is that?
Does the role of Mother come at such a cost?
There are meals to be made, diapers to be changed, noses to be wiped. There are lessons to be taught, laundry to be washed, bathrooms to be scrubbed, and car rides to different activities. If I am not careful, I provide myself with precious little time for fun, and I become a robot. A rather boring one too.
What about inner work and refinement? Do those come at the cost of losing one’s wild side?
Most of the activities society provides for us to ‘be wild’ are also deemed by that same society as ‘sinful’. You know, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Many of us, especially women, look back at our younger, wilder, freer years with a blushing shame, and hide it away, bury it as a phase of our lives. And hidden away in the skeleton closet, underneath all of our sinful secrets, is that little seed of raw, fun wildness.
Society has told us the two are connected, to be wild is to be sinful. You cannot be one without the other. We have come to believe that good mothers are calm and loving and nurturing. They never run out giving, they never lose their temper, and they never misbehave. They are never wild, because that would mean engaging in activities that are not appropriate for mothers. And we are bombarded with images and stories in the media of bad mothers, who do engage in these activities, and in the process destroy their families.
I think right now, we should blow this whole idea away.
I am a mother, and a damn good one. I am calm and loving and nurturing. And I run out of giving, I lose my temper, and I misbehave in the sense that I refuse to behave within the boundaries of what society tells me are my choices.
I want to be wild, and wild in a way that energizes and uplifts my family.
Perhaps it is a matter of prioritizing and defining fun, wildness, and freedom. Perhaps my ideas of these concepts have become too rigid, limiting and skewed.
For me personally, I love dancing, it is at the core of fun and play for me. It can be wild, liberating, expressive, and completely safe and family friendly. Dancing has diffused stress, rejuvenated my body, refreshed my mind, stoked the fire in my belly and awoken my playful, crazy inner child.
So. Now, I dance again. It has become a priority. I dance all the time. Not in the trendiest nightclub in the trendiest clothing, just in my living room in whatever clothes I happen to be wearing at the moment. Sometimes I dance with my children, sometimes I dance while I clean the kitchen.
Sometimes I dance alone. And then I really get crazy, and it is just amazing beyond what words can communicate.
I encourage you to find your healthy wild side, invite it into your life and keep your heart open to feeling it when it comes.
Put your kids to bed. Even put your spouse/partner to bed. Turn down the lights, and turn up the music (on your headphones).
Find your music that makes your body move, and let yourself move. Be sexy and strong and sassy and seductive and tribal and powerful and graceful and crazy and wild. Dance like no one is watching.
The suavest man to ever get spiritual, Alan Watts, gives some potent perspective here:
I thank you my friend M, for opening my eyes to this fantastic, amazing video. Get the kids for this one.
And, a little tribute to my unexpected inspiration. Put the young ones to bed for this one.