“Step in time, step in time, everybody step in time”
Last night I went to a club with some friends. This particular club featured salsa dancing and there were some amazing dancers there who just made salsa look too easy. Of course, unfortunately for me, I have two left feet. But I had decided to go to the club with my friends in an attempt to put myself out there, take a risk, and push the envelope a bit. Alright, so I was REALLY bad at the dancing (in typical Asperger fashion I have appalling motor coordination at times). But what was the worst that could happen? I could laugh at myself, my friends could laugh at me, and maybe a few people in the club would judge me. But SO what? In the grand scheme of themes, it doesn’t matter what any of these individuals think of me. It is doubtful I will ever see anyone from that club again, and if my friends are going to be mean to me just because of my lack of salsa dancing skills, then what kind of friends are they anyway?
Far from it, they were very good to me. One girl tried to show me some of the basic salsa back-and-forth movement, and while I would at times get out of step and struggle with adding too much improvisation, I was able to learn more than if I’d never taken a chance on going out in the first place. She was patient, she was smiling, and sometimes I just have to put my personal paranoia aside and remind myself “It’s not all about you. Just have fun. You are not the sole determiner of whether or not this other person has fun. Don’t burden yourself.”
I think it is helpful for Aspies to remind themselves this. Sometimes I think it can be easy to blame ourselves when things go wrong, even when they are clearly outside of our control. No, other people are not ALWAYS judging us, even if we say or do goofy things from time to time. Three years ago, if I had gone in a club er even gone dancing with anyone, I would have broken down in tears of frustration and would have had to leave. But three years on my dance skills may not be much better, but at least I am able to dance with a little bit more reckless abandon. Have fun. Push your limits. Let other people laugh at you and learn to laugh at yourself. Acting has taught me the same thing, and just like salsa dancing, acting continues to teach me the importance of letting go and taking a risk.