I learned good and learned hard that I had to keep them happy. KEEP THEM HAPPY. That was my mantra. Keep them all happy. Them = All of the adults around.
While I was at it, I figured I should probably expand that to kids, too — friends, peers, everyone. Keep them all happy. Keep them all happy by dancing. Why? To feel safe, protected, okay, enough.
Maybe as a kid, not having much control and needing help to survive — that was the way I went. I danced for the adults who seemed to have control. I danced and danced and danced — to keep them happy. And when I got attention, help, love for what appeared to be the dancing, I danced more. I thought dance = keep them happy = way to survive, to be loved. Perhaps the adults around me were dancing in their own lives. I’d bet now a lot of them were.
I began to dance so much, so often, so “well” — I forgot what it was like to not dance. I don’t think I questioned, considered that I might not need to dance. That maybe I would have been okay even if I wouldn’t have danced — that I would have made it through somehow, even without dancing.
Now I’m seeing more clearly, more and more, where I’m dancing. Where I’m performing. How much I continue to do it in many aspects of my life. And, perhaps, I’m starting to see that I don’t need to. That if I want to dance and/or keep anyone happy, the only person I need to do it for is myself.
I wonder how many of us are dancing unconsciously. Or maybe consciously. Maybe we’ve learned it so well it feels like it is who we are, though I’m seeing it’s just something we’ve learned really, really, really well. Which means it can be unlearned, it can be changed.