Date archives "October 2013"

Walk Like No One is Watching

When I was seven, I was expelled from ballet class for lack of coordination and absence of rhythm. The ballet teacher wasn’t being cruel; she was being realistic.

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I have never been able to dance. I watch other people dance and it seems so effortless. But when I try it myself, I look like Elaine in the infamous Seinfeld episode featured above. Actually, she dances better than I do.

Needless to say, I seldom dance in public. I don’t dance in private either. Even alone, I am so self-conscious of how poorly I dance that I can’t enjoy it. It’s not just dancing. I have difficulty clapping to a beat. If there is a gene for rhythm, clearly, I am missing it. Only my foot stomping seems unimpaired.

That is why I love walking. For decades, I have walked to music, first to cassette tapes and now to MP3 music. When I walk, my body seems to know how to keep time to the music, or maybe it doesn’t, but I am so wrapped up in the sensations of movement and music that I don’t care. I swing my arms wide, I raise them up high, I wave them in slow circles. I may look ridiculous, but I love it.

Did I mention that I also sing while I walk?  My singing is almost as bad as my dancing. I never sing in public… unless I am walking. Then I sing loudly and gloriously. Sometimes I sing to the melody, sometimes I create harmony. Wearing headphones, I can’t hear the outside world, so I imagine they can’t hear me. This assumption is wrong, of course, as the many stares I receive bear witness. I have seen people smile at me. I have seen people pull their children closer as I pass, lest I be both dangerous and crazy. I don’t care. Nothing embarrasses me when I am walking.

I’ve given much thought recently to the concept of mindfulness, of being totally in the moment. I confess that I am not mindful in most aspects of life. Too frequently, I mentally multi-task, thinking of one thing even as I am doing something else. But not when I walk.

When I walk, I am totally in the moment. It is just me, the music and the sound. It is exhilarating to do something that you love mindfully. Though I am not religious, it is while I am walking that I feel most spiritual, most grateful to be alive.

So I am OK with my ballet teacher; I bear her no ill feeling. I may not experience the same joy as others do when I dance, but in my mind, I am always in tune and on beat when I walk. I walk joyfully. I walk exuberantly. I walk like no one is watching.

Acres of Diamonds in My Own Backyard

margit yearbook cropI am looking forward to my Girls High 45th reunion. Though I’ll be happy to see the girls with whom I was friends, that’s not what has enticed me to attend.

I knew very few of the 500+ girls in my class, but I have “met” many of them, so to speak, through a Facebook group we started 5 years ago, for our 40th reunion. I am attending the reunion because I want to meet them anew; they are really interesting women!

The Urban Dictionary describes “diamonds in the rough” as individuals who have hidden or exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, but who lack the final touches that would make them truly stand out in the crowd. That’s what I’ve decided we all were back then, in high school. We were diamonds in the rough.

At first glance, naturally occurring diamonds are quite ordinary. Their true beauty as jewels is only realized through the cutting and polishing process. That is what happened to us, I think, to my classmates and me.

Like diamonds that have been formed by years of immense pressure, we have been molded by our experiences and choices. We’ve matured, we’ve evolved, we’ve metamorphosed, and our facets have been exposed. Like diamonds, we have depth, we have strength, we are unique.

So that is why I am looking forward to my Girls High reunion. My hair will be cut and my nails will be done, but I won’t need any jewelry. I have acres of diamonds in my own backyard.