I was walking on the treadmill tonight while listening to my iPod. I have a playlist of up tempo songs great for walking. The song "Relax" came on from Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I thought about something I did when I was in my early 20s to this song...
Get your mind out of the gutter....
Before I tell you what I did, let me come clean and admit I was a serious disco queen. A total disco freak. I loved it all, especially the somewhat funky stuff like Depeche Mode, the Cure, Eurythmics, etc.. I also had a thing for Barry White, but who didn't?
One more thing before I tell you what I did to the song "Relax." Since I am confessing my dorky music tastes and seriously dating myself, let me say that I am a huge fan of Yanni. Yep. Oh, and John Tesh's sports anthems. And Enya. But I also like the Fray, Neon Trees, and My Chemical Romance if that helps.
Back to my story of courage...
I lived in Tampa when I was in my early 20s. I was going to college, was a waitress at a TGI Fridays and then a night audit manager at a hotel. I never had any money. I started driving a motorcycle because I could not afford a car (or a proper bike, mine was a piece of crap Honda 100 with one wobbly wheel). To make extra money, I entered dance contests. They were big in that day.
At first, I entered contests with some guy I met that night and we danced as a couple. Disco was great because, unlike ballroom or some other more coordinated dances, two people could do their own things and look like they were a pair. Dancing in a couple, we won about a 1/3 of the time. The total payout was usually $100, or $125 for the better competitions. Not bad!
I remember the first time I entered a dance contest without a guy. Just myself. The discotheque was packed. It was one of the nicer places in town, unlike the ABC Liquor Store bar I went to a lot because it was statistically easier to win the dance contests there (fewer people, drunker clientele). On this night, the place was nice ($150 prize, I think), the crowd was big and looked hip, and I could assume the competition would be tough.
So what made me think I could win against several pairs of dancers? What gave me the confidence to dance alone in front of a room full of judging eyes? I still don't know how I might have rationalized entering this contest. I talked myself into it - and, no, I was not drunk - and I entered as a single.
I got to pick my song and I selected "Relax" because of its great crescendos and thundering beat. Whenever any DJ put "Relax" on, I always danced to it - I knew every inflection point.
I danced my heart out - left it all out on the dance floor - no reservations.
I did not win.
After that night, I entered a few more contests on my own, I won only one (to the unlikely song, "Shock the Monkey" if I recall).
Thinking about it now - 25+ years later, I wonder where I got the courage to do it. Was I fearless then? Not at all - I can remember being filled with fear. But courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in the face of it.
I want to tap into that more courageous Lisa more often. And not just in a life-threatening situation, like a car accident. I want to be courageous and seemingly fearless when I don't need to be - like at the disco. It feels wowy, tingly. It's like ice cream AND the head freeze. The pain and pleasure of New Mexican green chiles. Lovely and overwhelming. I know the courageous Lisa is down here somewhere.
I bet you have your own story of the more courageous you. Reflect on that time and enjoy it again. Who were you being that you did that? What's going on in your life today that could use that YOU?
Food for thought. No go shake it.