While driving toward home the other evening, I rolled my window down and let my left hand do a little port de bras in the wind. With the breeze pushing gently against the strength of my body, it felt like a part of my body was moving through heavy water as my arm and fingers danced in the warm pressurized air outside my car window along the quiet two-lane road near home. It brought me so much joy, lifting my arm up and down, to the side and back. In slow motion. Opening and closing my fingers and bringing my palm up toward the hood of my car as I drove on in silence. With no music or outside noises and only the company of my own thoughts, I felt alive as my arm danced in the wind. After several minutes, I saw a car approach from behind to pass me. And for a split second, I caught myself pulling my arm back inside my vehicle, a ping of embarrassment settling in realizing that the people in the other car might have seen my arm having a dance party outside the car and what thoughts they might think… That’s a silly girl. She’s weird. What is she even doing?!
In that split second of wanting to shrink away in my seat and avoid eye contact with the passing car, I also heard a thought in my head say, “….let your arm dance in the wind, Naomi. Who freaking cares?” The car hadn’t even fully passed me yet before my arm was back outside doing its thing. I took a brief moment to acknowledge those festering feelings that tend to bubble up at times where I’m worrying about things outside my control and instead, chose to focus less on that and more on me – with my arm peacefully gliding in the wind outside my car window.
It’s probably always going to be a thing. Me, wondering what people will say and think, to some degree. I’ve done a lot of mental work to find the confidence over the years to not care so much… And I’m really proud of that growth and self-love I’ve leaned into. But sometimes, I still care. I feel especially vulnerable right now with my first book just days away from being accessible to all. There was a time when I told myself I’d never open up publicly about many of the topics I opened up about in my book (dealing with the internet, growing my family, my struggles and heartache with unhealthy friendships and body issues over the years to name a few)… because I wasn’t sure I could handle the stress of the world weighing in, possibly misconstruing my experiences or discrediting things I hold close to my heart. But as I have felt such a pull in recent years to get more vulnerable, to pull back some of the layers I’ve built up in a effort to protect myself from the “they might think…” or the “what ifs…” And when I do, I’m reminded of the beauty in being me. In owning the way I approach this one life I have to live. In understanding that I cannot control what anyone takes away from my book, or my words, or even witnessing my hand dancing in the wind outside my car window.
If you haven’t before had a single arm dance party outside your moving vehicle as you drive toward the sunset, might I recommend? And if that’s not your thing, might I recommend finding whatever is your thing, and going for it. Whatever your form of arm-outside-the-car-window-dancing-in-silence might be, let your arm dance. Even if another car passes. Especially if another car passes.