The other day I was driving my dog, Latte, home from the dog park and suddenly realized I was singing along with Ke$ha’s “Only Want to Dance With You.” As I approached a stoplight, I quickly stopped mouthing words and resumed my “Just a normal guy driving” pose — out of fear that nearby drivers would not only see my grooves, but might make fun of them. Then it struck me… When the heck did I stop feeling comfortable dancing and singing along to favorite music while in my car?
I remember back when I was just out of college, driving around my “little” Nissan and weighing over 450 pounds. Even though terribly aware of my weight and terrified that other people were judging me because of it, when I was in my car, I felt comfortable enough to crank up the tunes and move and dance as if I were in a music video. True story!
I even remember one time when I pulled up to a stoplight and was dancing and singing along with an old school Jody Watley song. There was a car full of young women at the light in front of me and I could see them turning around to see me flaunting my moves and grooves. Even though they were laughing, I didn’t feel like they were doing so in a mean way. So I just kept dancing and entertaining the crowd — until the light turned green and they drove on.
But I now realize that sometime between back in the day and the present, I became too self-aware and that I am currently seemingly afraid to dance or sing in my car (overtly anyway) — this even after taking off over 250 pounds of excess weight. Seems to me I should be much less self conscious now. And yet I’m more chicken than ever to let my freak flag fly when driving.
Don’t get me wrong. If it’s nighttime or if there aren’t a lot of cars around, I’m probably putting on a show when solo (or with Latte) in my car. But it makes me sad that my “ham gene” has somehow gone dark — or, at the very least, lessened over the years. And you know what? I’m going to work on getting braver, caring a little less and once again begin to sing and dance to the music as if no one is watching.
After all, life is for living, right? And being silly?
No matter what your size. No matter what your situation. Finding joy in the smallest moments can fuel our happiness factor, which then helps us in other areas of our lives — especially the challenging ones like successfully dieting or making another positive change.
So join me in making a fool of yourself, won’t you? I promise that if I see you performing a music video in your car, I’ll either dance along or burst into a round of applause. Because in my book, anyone feeling free enough to dance and sing in their car is living life to its fullest. And that’s a beautiful thing that I aspire to get back to. No matter which song is playing.