Soul Stories: on being outgoing.

Talking and opening champagne. Yep.

I'm always in a great mood after ballet. It might be the endorphins, but I secretly think it has something to do with having great teachers. Teaching adult ballet seems to bring out the funny in people, and there are so many wonderfully hilarious moments in trying to look graceful when you are not.

Last night was no exception and we ended class on a high note as the teacher summed up our practice. "Movement is life," she said. "That's what dance is! It's not just standing still… and if it was, I'd have jumped off a bridge a long time ago." She talked a little about the importance of dancing with other people, how it's not a solitary sport, how it has a lot to do with the energy of other dancers around you.

And it got me thinking about this moment I had two weeks ago at the Happy Cog 80's party at SXSW. It was late in the evening and most of the members of the Arc crowd were playing pool in the corner or sitting on the couches. I felt like dancing, so I made my way over to the dance floor where there was a whole bunch of strangers dancing their hearts out.

I spotted Tyler and Tim on the sidelines.

"Watch this!" I said. "I'm going to go over to a random group of people and make my way into their group by dancing like them!"

First I approached a group of people with their fists in the air and so I lifted my hand towards the sky, sang along to the lyrics and permeated the circle immediately. They all smiled and welcomed me and after a few minutes, I did the same thing with another random group of dancers. It was one of those magical nights, when you really feel you can do anything. You're on the same frequency as the other happy people around you and you're all just noisily buzzing with sameness.

A little while later I did a little ballet routine on the stage and followed it up with some air guitar with complete strangers. It reminded me of the night that Maddy, Katie and I started a dance party from scratch at our favorite bar in Paris. And it really, really made me miss them.

Because the truth is that the majority of people I spend my time around these days are introverts. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with introverts! But. Sometimes I feel like the only one who wants to dance, the only one who wants to make conversation… and sometimes I resent that the social load falls on my shoulders a little too often.

Last night as I took the subway home from ballet, I thought about what I love about some of my more outgoing friends. They are loud, but not obnoxious. They are spirited without being patronizing. And they are enthusiastic without the slightest bit of irony. This enthusiasm stems from the realization that life is awesome and that people are awesome.

These friends enter a room and lift everyone with them. These friends are bold and want to discuss everything with their hands flapping and can't believe there are only 24 hours in a day. They are exhausting and I need to eat four breakfasts just to keep up with their energy, but I am so grateful for them.

Because the truth is, that I, too, am amazed by life almost every single day. I am intrigued by people's stories and by the possibilities that we all have. I can't believe that I told my brother and sister I might become a runner on December 26 and three months later, I'm running 10 miles a week. I can't believe that I wanted to live in France and it happened-- three times! I can't believe that I traveled to India for a wedding and that I'm going to be having my own in a few months. Life is strange and sometimes limiting, but very often it's a huge, gaping room, waiting to be filled with beautiful things.

It's hard to write these kinds of sentences because they don't sound genuine. Adoring life is hard for some people to hear about, and so I tend to keep my enthusiasm to a minimum around people who could squash it. Sometimes I am so tired, exhausted even, because it is draining work finding joy everywhere you can. But it's worth it; it's worth being this person that I am and it's worth looking for other outgoing souls so that we can connect and get energized and have great times.

Now go have a happy weekend! Snuggle some puppies, perhaps!


Meg said...

I love you, Jen. This post is super genuine. I guess it helps knowing you in real life. :) Happy Weekend.

Britt said...

Agreed. This is one of the more genuine blog posts I've read lately. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. Off to snuggle Nilla! ;)

Jen said...

Thanks, guys! This was actually one I was very nervous about posting, so now I'm glad I did. :)

Maddy said...

"A little while later I did a little ballet routine on the stage" - Jen that is going to keep me snorting with laughter all weekend - thanks bella :) You're amazing - love you, miss you big time lady X