I want to be like Rowley’s mum. This is Rowley and his mum:
I want to be the kind of fun mum who does daggy dancing with her kids, even badly choreographed dancing, in public. Especially in public. I don’t want to be self-conscious about my body, or my dance moves, or what I look like from behind in that skirt. What I want to be conscious of is my children. About making them laugh, sharing their joy, and teaching them – through my example – that there is more to this life than keeping our cool.
Lately the kids and I have been dancing to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. At the chorus, we shake it like a polaroid picture (remember?). We love Taylor’s video. Madeleine says “I no like this” at the ballerinas and “I like this one” at the hip hop bits. And we both laugh when Taylor gets her dance moves wrong.
Let’s be honest. Taylor Swift is young and slim and gorgeous and just looks kind of “cute and goofy” when she stuffs up her dance moves. I definitely look more like Rowley’s mum. But at what point did that start bothering me? When Madeleine dances, it is with the total abandon and the pure joy of leaping about to music that only a toddler can bring. Harry dancing is a giant butterball that wiggles and bounces and bobs his head when the music comes on, a smile of delight on his face and, more often than not, a glob of dribble making its way over his chin.
I want that to be me (minus the dribble). Music. Joy. Love.
Last week I took Em for a mani-pedi and we were chatting about being self-conscious. It’s super pertinent for Em, since she’s 16 and right in the thick of adolescence and peer pressure and “being cool” (not that she’d call it any of those things because that definitely wouldn’t be cool) and all that jazz. We were thinking about how sometimes, by worrying how we appear to others, we actually draw attention to our insecurities. Whereas if we really OWN what we’re doing, even if that thing is daggy like being a traffic monitor or dancing really badly (I’m back on Diary of a Wimpy Kid now), people kind of respect that.
A while ago I read an interview with Michael Richards, the man who played Kramer in Seinfeld. He said something along the lines of how in developing the Kramer character, he decided to deliver all of his lines as though Kramer somehow, mysteriously, knew it all. That approach instantly transformed Kramer from being a bit of a dim-witted idiot into an eccentric doofus who, nevertheless, frequently managed to convince people to go along with his crazy schemes. And Kramer almost always got the girl. The rest is television history.
Which is all a LOT of pop culture references to say, let’s shake it off! Let’s dance like nobody is watching. Hey everybody, let’s OWN this life, shall we?
(Images are all screen-grabs from the Shake It Off video on YouTube)