As soon as I legally turned 18, we were inseparable. She didn’t have a name – I only referred to her as my beau. When people asked about her, I wasn’t embarrassed to tell them the facts. She was a 1994 white Buick Century with faded navy blue interior, and she was all mine.
I could tell I made her feel young and alive again. Whenever we were cruising and saw a doubleganger (Israeli version of doppelganger), I always nodded politely to the 87 year old man behind the wheel, as we steered our land-boats with love – and then cut in front of him with ease as we sped away blasting the latest 5 songs the South Jersey radio station chose to play on repeat.
After a standard Saturday at the mall with my best friend, Emma, we rolled to a red light just as our jam came on. At that moment in time, it was Beyonce ft Sean Paul, Baby Boy – and we were feeling it!
And so, we all started to shake, myself, Emma & the beau – pumping bodies, jiggling skin, bouncing wheels - letting loose! We were no longer in the front seat of a car - we were on stage with Bey and Seana Paul, with hot pants, bling and booty bumping.
All of a sudden, I heard a beep. And then another, but I was so in the moment that I refused to face this distraction to my creative movement. I was in the ZOne. I kept hearing the beeps but nobody and nothing could stop me from this driver seat dance party - especially because it was probably just another 87 year old man wanting to exchange automotive appreciation.
As I had just discovered how low I could go, I caught a glimpse of Emma’s face, which seconds earlier was free - and was now completely frozen. I managed to stop gyrating and turned to meet her gaze, where I was greeted by.....my dad and big brother laughing beyond oblivion as they tried to imitate my sweet moves in their own ride, which had coincidentally pulled up directly next to us into what had just turned into the LONGEST RED LIGHT OF MY LIFE.
My face turned ‘red light’, and all I could do was pray for green, as I revved the gas pedal ready to push as hard as I possibly could. My moment of freedom had just turned into one of utter embarrassment, my family having witnessed a moment of pure ME.
I realized a few things about myself after that moment. I realized that that moment was one of the most open and vulnerable I had been in front of my family, whether I meant it to be or not. I had always been the average teenager, giving one word answers, doing everything in secret, and never feeling like I could really be myself - whoever that was at the time.
Only in hindsight was I able to realize that the mixture of my pure letting go and literally not giving a f*ck – expressing my silliness and self through furious front seat dancing- caused adrenaline to pump through my veins and bring a moment of pure release, pure laughter, where I simply just felt like me - despite how embarrassing and unexpected it was.
From that one embarrassing moment, I pondered the following four tips to keep in mind everyday to remember how to really let it go - and help you feel like YOU every damn day.
1. Move to Your Own Rhythm
Sure, Bey and Sean can always get me shaking, though sometimes it's full on booty and sometimes just a tapping toe. What remains constant is that, as humans, we are always in motion, even if we're sitting still. In fact, life is an ever flowing current of movement; though some days we move faster, some days we move slower.
What's important is that we move - and do so according to our own beat. Like music, there are loads of tunes. Tunes we love to play on repeat and tunes that are right for a specific moment. It's okay to figure out which tune feels right for you at any given time. It's okay to allow yourself to sync within your own rhythm and create your own version of groove - instead of feeling the need to tune into everyone else's.
2. Stay Focused
I’m not sure why I didn’t turn with that original beep – but I was so into my moment of movement that I chose not to allow anything to distract me. In order to really let it go we must remain in our zone and see it through with intention. Thanks to the overwhelming amount of distraction we carry around in our hands every day (our phones), staying focused requires way more effort than we may think.
BUT, in order to fully feel into ourselves, we have to create space within our own minds and practice blocking distraction. We have to mindfully take the time to stay focused on ourselves. And no, that's not selfish, it's just being smart to better your self.
3. Get Silly
Full disclosure people - this wasn’t the last time my dad caught me in my glory of dance. Though that first colossal car experience was embarrassing as hell, he understood me better after getting a glimpse of pure "me." As humans, we so often feel the need to fit inside that box - you know the one that pressures you to act "cool" or strive for "perfect" - but WHY should we fake it? Let's just agree that we're all cool and that no one is perfect, and that we all deserve to live our best lives.
When we take ourselves too seriously, we miss out on all the fun of letting go and living life. Connecting with that little playful person who lives inside us - our inner child - allows us to let loose doing what we love. No matter how silly you may feel, getting silly is the right kind of move towards basking in your you-ness.
4. Lighten Up
I could spend the next 97 hours sharing embarrassing life moments with you. I've reached a point where I'm aware there are things I can control and things I simply can’t. Embarrassment happens, and they say it’s better to bend than to break. Bending means letting it go, and rather than fighting the embarrassment, just accept it.
All we can control in those uncontrolled situations is our reaction to that situation. If we're able to accept what happened, and re-frame it as a way to grow, then we can also appreciate and shine in the moment - no matter how embarrassingly awful it may seem at the time. Getting comfortable in all that awkwardness just helps us flow in the harmony we call life, and gives us some hysterical stories to share too :)
In the end, that moment of embarrassment just taught me not to take myself so seriously or worry about what others might say. Sure, my dad and brother got a good laugh, and still tease me about it whenever someone mentions malls or red lights - but I learned a valuable lesson.
I'd rather live my life in the present, follow my own rhythm and stay focused on what makes me feel the most free. I'd rather live life light and keep away from the heaviness that can so easily weigh me down - and I hope my story might inspire you to let it go and bask in the glory of your you-ness too.
And just in case you need some extra 'let it go' inspo, maybe this beat will make your booty shake too, or at least give you a Bey blast from the past :)
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