Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Daily Flair: Learning the "Beat It" Moves

This morning, my neighbor and I learned the choreography for Michael Jackson's "Beat It." We had my laptop propped for maximum visibility and water glasses filled for potential dehydration. We adjusted our workout clothes so they wouldn't inhibit our moves.

We learned the whole dance from a youtube video. This is no small thing.

I'm not sayin' I can do it well, or in any way resembling MJ, but I did learn it.

Why did we do it? I have no idea. But it counts as my flair for the day.

Living with flair means I'm doing something a little ridiculous, a little "out there," a little beyond what's expected or appropriate every day. Something about dancing this morning reminded me that joy often lies dormant, waiting to be unearthed and brought forth. What made learning dance moves so joyful? What is it about the spontaneous, the supremely useless, and the silly that lets the joy in?

Whatever it was, I needed it.

Flair signals embellishment. I want to embellish the day; I want to celebrate it and set it in the right light. Doing my MJ moves (the thrusts, the snaps, the round kicks) made things shimmer this morning. But it really wasn't, in terms of productivity or market value, useful.

But the day felt hopeful, not because I scrubbed a kitchen floor, but because I danced on it, hard, for no reason at all. And then I told all the neighbors about it.

Flair needs company. Dancing with my friend, banging into her when I mirrored the moves incorrectly, made us giggle like preschoolers. We weren't talking about anything. We weren't processing all the dysfunction in our lives or in the world. We were just trying to learn this dance. . . together. And we did it. We participated, somehow, in some larger dance: we are wives and mothers, aging and aching often both internally and externally, with enormous amounts to accomplish in any given day. Who has time to learn a dance from the 1980's?

And yet, we danced. That was the perfect flair for the day.


Charity said...

Heather, you rock! I miss you!

Laurie said...

Fun, fun, fun! Welcome to the fun, fun, fun world of blogging too! You have something to say and I'm glad I get to listen! Thanks for encouraging me this morning. You brought hope. Love you.

Nancy said...

Some days, I follow blog links for no particular reason and I strike gold. Today is one of those days. This essay made me smile way down deep inside. Now I'm going to forward it to my best friend--our husbands refer to us as Lucy and Ethel. We danced together in feather boas at each of our daughter's weddings. Now I think we need to learn to dance like MJ.

Following now (and not just because I clicked on your book and saw that you teach at Penn State--Hail to the Lion!) Blessings.

April said...

I totally love this philosophy!


heather, my hubby led me to your blog.  am glad he did. thank you for your honesty and simplicity. now following you :)

LivewithFlair said...


NotSoNormalMum said...

Wonderful. Love this. I love your attitude. I need to give myself time to dance in my kitchen (being British its a big small for MJ, but i have a fab conservatory instead!) and with my kids, who adore it. Just 10 mins a day brings out the joy that is in there, lying dormant like you say. Its as if dancing and music blows off the daily grind dust and dirt and lets the beauty inside be expressed. PS I found you through Robin at PDL. x

Me said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. A few months ago, I began singing and dancing to the Muzak while in the supermarket aisles. I have no idea why--I'm fairly shy and self-conscious about my singing and dancing (no ear, no memory for lyrics, no rhythm). But, it made my teenage son laugh with embarrassment, and maybe that was enough. I suddenly realized how liberated and happy I felt and wanted to chase that feeling again and again. In that moment, I had become one of "those" older women who have learned to enjoy even the supposedly mundance moments in life and toss off the cares of "what people might think"--to live with flair as you describe. All those times I resented people who sang openly and tunelessly in public--I now joined them. And my son could watch his uptight mother cut loose by cutting a linoleum floor and fumbling with lyrics she hadn't heard in years. It was beautiful.
He tells people all the time that I dance and sing in supermarkets to humilate him and I proceed with a demonstration. Life is good.