Dance Like No One Is Watching

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
I love that little mantra, although I wasted much of my life up to this point not living it. Some of my favorite people and personalities are those who seem to do just that: Dance like no one is watching. I find that I am drawn to those people the most, although oftentimes I don’t jump into the dance, but sit on the sidelines and admire them dancing.

I remember watching an interview of Carol Channing once when she seemed authentically stunned that someone would question something she did or said. Leaning in and batting her eyelashes, she sweetly replied, “Why, darling, would you care?” I love that! She wasn’t being haughty, just genuinely asking.
I think that I know why we care when we see people living their lives OUT LOUD. I think that secretly we want to know who gave them permission to be so unique. I mean… the gall of them really! It is like they didn’t get the memo that they are supposed to look, talk and act like the rest of the pack. What nerve! Who do they think they are? Don’t they know that if they separate themselves out, people will talk?
Can you tell I grew up in a small town? Actually small towns get a bad rap. I think they often have as many eclectic personalities as the bigger cities. I wasn’t one of those kids who danced to my own beat. I was too scared of being judged. Shoot, most people in my hometown (population 500) don’t even recall my parents having an “older daughter.” I ran under the radar…way under the radar. Back then, I was much more of an observer, a student of people, wanting to please and trying to keep my inner rebel and uniqueness to myself. It was during that time in my life that I started formulating my opinions and discovering that I liked people who were quirky. They were, and are, more interesting to me. Their stories are more intriguing to my always-busy imagination. Back then, like today, my friends were very diverse—I believe they make life’s music more beautiful.
Whether someone actually dances well or not so well isn’t really what is at issue here. I am a good dancer, and I always have been. However, some of my friends aren’t. I guess you are either born that way or you aren’t. And while you can teach people moves, I don’t think you can really teach them to dance. So, all the better that when they can’t dance, they dance anyway. That is the whole point isn’t it? That you are willing to just close your eyes and “bust a move” no matter “who” is in the room.
I have noticed that my “dancing friends” spend little time worrying about “arriving somewhere” and more time enjoying the journey. In a society where we can get wrapped up in titles and what kind of car we drive and the house we live in and the people we hang with, the dancers don’t care about such things. Yet success follows them around, showing up like a welcomed, but not necessarily invited, guest.
I have made a personal vow to be more like my dancing friends, to stop allowing issues like weight, judgment, and the “pack” to determine whether I dance. So, here at the halfway part of my life, I plan on “dancing like no one is watching.”

  1. Lisa says:

    Beautiful story and it’s something I’ll look at from time to time to remind myself to just LET GO! =) Thank you.

  2. Gary says:

    Your Bloggies this week have a Wonderful Theme Rene’…
    Much time of Life has been wasted trying to be something I wasn’t… usually driven by some media message of restlessness.
    I once commented to my Granny that I wondered if I would have a Happy Life, and I recall the answer well. She said:
    "Yes, if you learn who you are and just BE that."
    Your weekly writing "Dances" quite well in my mind.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa


    I think I will take your granny’s words and etch them. I know that I have the power to be the best "ME" the world has ever seen.. thanks!

  3. sharon says:

    Several years ago, I heard this story from a fellow church woman. She and her husband were stopped at the crossing by a very long freight train. Instead of sitting in the car being upset by the delay, they looked at each other, got out of the car and began to dance. I would never have thought of such a thing and my husband would be WAY too embarrassed to do such a thing. But every time I’m stuck waiting at a crossroad now, I think of them and smile totally pleased to know that they had the spunk to do it.

  4. Melissa says:

    My husband is a great dancer, I am not. However, metaphorically speaking,I think I ‘dance.’ At least I hope I do. In some ways I was freer when I was younger, but in other ways, I am less inhibited now–the older I get the more comfortable I get in my own skin. I recently read something that said "Why wait until you’re an old woman to wear purple?" I like that sentiment. In other words, embrace your inner child or inner old woman, whatever the case may be. Ultimately the goal here is to dance!


    PURPLE is my signature color 🙂  thanks for your reminder.

  5. Donna says:

    I am one of the ones who dance outloud. And sometimes it feels very lonely out here. But I knew from way back and I mean way back I didnt fit in the crowd. Then for a little while I tried to conform. The day it came to a head… it was rainning and a mother was scolding her kids for being out in the rain. And they looked horrified. My kids turned away for lack of words. And they felt so bad. I had to go, the rain was calling my name. And I brought my kids out with me and we danced in a circle. Within in a few moments the other mother reluctantly came out and let her kids come. I hugged her, even tho I didnt know her. and we laughed and had a good time. And from that day on, I dance to the same music, but with a different drummer. My kids are now 20 & 21 .And they will tell you their mother is different with a smile.


    I love your story thanks for sharing it. I hope you feel less lonley knowing that "I am a dancing"…. 🙂

  6. Elaine says:

    Awesome Rene!Thanks so much for that and you DANCE!

  7. Blair says:

    Woo Hooooo!!! That’s what I’m talking about! Life is too short to waste time Not Living it. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve recently made a conscious decision to LIVE my life,(same idea as the "drive it like it’s stolen" phrase) not just go along like a good, quiet passenger and I can’t even express how happy I have become (though I do kick myself every now and then for not Always living like this) 🙂
    I am not a good dancer, but I Love To Dance. I think I’ll use the "Dance Like Noone is Watching" phrase as inspriration for my craft project this weekend. I need a sign to hang in my kitchen to remind myself of this every day.
    Once again, I LOVE your blog and I’m pretty sure that you are my new online BFF! 😉

    Blair~  What an honor ( BFF)  I will take it!

    I love the line "drive it like it is stollen"… SWEET!

  8. Blair says:

    Woo Hooooo!!! That’s what I’m talking about! Life is too short to waste time Not Living it. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve recently made a conscious decision to LIVE my life,(same idea as the "drive it like it’s stolen" phrase) not just go along like a good, quiet passenger and I can’t even express how happy I have become (though I do kick myself every now and then for not Always living like this) 🙂
    I am not a good dancer, but I Love To Dance. I think I’ll use the "Dance Like Noone is Watching" phrase as inspriration for my craft project this weekend. I need a sign to hang in my kitchen to remind myself of this every day.
    Once again, I LOVE your blog and I’m pretty sure that you are my new online BFF! 😉

  9. I am you, in reverse. I grew up in a town of 800. I was always different. I marched to the beat of a different drummer. I danced through life not caring who was watching because I had to be me! I was known as quirky, funny, and somewhat irresponsible because girls just wanna have fun! I find myself at 50-something, realizing that somewhere along the way, in a very responsible job (medicine), with a very responsible life (husband and 3 kids), I have lost the joy of who I am! I have let the cares of life weigh me down and the to-do/ought-to-do list taking the place of the joy of the moment and discovering new things! I used to be a lot more fun than I am now! Thanks for the reminder of what I’ve lost! Now….I’d better get dancing!


  10. Dalyn says:

    Most excellent perspective. We have alot more in common than you think Renee *U*



  11. Carrie says:

    Hey Rene–

    Dancing with you and MaryJane was one of my favorite parts of my visit!! It was so nice to have our feet in the grass and the sun on our backs…glorious!

    I think that reaching this point in our lives helps us to let go of the need to be just like everyone else. Now that I have teens I am much more aware of the pressure of conforming…they just hate sticking out! And they get embarrassed by me because I don’t care so much about that anymore. I’m tired of trying to be what everyone thinks I should be. I, too, went "under the radar" horribly afraid that someone would notice me. How lonely!

    Thanks, again, for a reminder of why we’re on this journey!

    Carrie M


    Dancing was the highlight, wasnt it? I couldnt think of a more perfect ending to our farmgirl weekend. I wish that I would have gotten to spend more time with you. However, my Prosserfarmgirls want to adopt you…. 🙂

  12. Connie says:

    Thank you, Thank you for the great reminder.

  13. suzy says:

    I love your story! Not too long ago I was in the grocery store and a little girl about 5 or 6 , just broke into song and started dancing down the isle. I was so glad her mother didn’t tell her to stop. It put a smile on alot of faces. I think we all should feel free to break loose every now and then.I’ve gotta get busy making pickles out of my cucumber crop , I think I’ll put on some music and dance around the kitchen ! Suzy (Texas)

  14. Reba says:

    Always dancing either out loud or silently to myself!! Life is just too short to do it any other way.

  15. Diana says:

    You go girl. I to spent to much of my younger years worrying about fitting in, being accepted, being just like everyone else. Thank goodness I finally got over it and opened the door to let my quirky, artistic child out of the box never to return. Its a lot more fun being quirky and dancing to my own drummer.

    Diana C

  16. jami says:

    To sum up the fabulous weekend with dancing was sheer genious (on your part, of course). We each became a part of the whole in our own little way while dancing on the grass that tickled our toes. Woo-hooing with a sunburned nose and sweat dripping down my back was where I could culmanate my dream of coming to Farm Fair. Thanks for all the hard work and memories you’ve blessed me with.

  17. Sharon Penner says:


    I am enjoying your writing so much! You definitely have a very special gift. Each of your writings speaks to me and I can hardly wait to read the next one.

    Sharon Penner


    Thank You Sharon!  How special.

  18. Karen says:

    I sooooo relate to this post! I think the world would be so boring without eccentric people! I have so many eccentric friends, I think I am one, well, yes, I AM one lol. I just love that people do things just because that’s the way they are, and not because it’s cool or they think someone’s watching. AND I relate to the weight thing, too, at times get really self-conscious, but then something happens and I start talking and laughing, and pretty soon, I don’t care so much about stuff like that. I have a ton of skinny friends (hmmm, a TON of skinny friends, is that an oxy-moron?) who love me anyway! Karen

  19. Darlene says:

    Thanks for the great story!! I am one of those odd folks who LOVES to dance outloud too!! I never quite fit in with most people but love to meet people, friends say I have unique qualities but hey I just LOVE LIFE AND LIVING!! and being ME!! ALL ME!!
    Will keep reading all your stories!!
    farmgal hugs!!

  20. Erica says:

    I just had my 40th birthday, and I feel like I too now can finally dance away. I wish I had felt this way a lot sooner than now – all the worrying and self-consciousness I could have avoided! Thanks for the blog, and the sentiments….

  21. Kathy A says:

    Farm Fair was so much fun. Meeting our Carrie and spending time with everyone was a dance ready to happen. Dancing on the grass was such a great experience with MaryJane and everyone on Sunday. Rob made the statement that you girls were having so much fun and sharing girl time.
    Thanks for all you hard work. What a great time.

  22. Valynne says:

    Dear Rene,
    This is the first time I have read your blog (ever struggling to embrace technology, truth be told) and I am really appreciating where you are coming from. Sorry to have missed the dancing on Sunday…Paul saw the bus pull up and before I knew it we were on it. Perhaps three days of practically all women had him a bit overwhelmed : ) It wasn’t until we were back at American Country B&B that I realized I would not be able to say my goodbyes as our wonderful weekend was coming to an end (it simply hadn’t occurred to me until then). So, I am happy to see that it is not really goodbye since there are blogs and forums and e-mails and all kinds of opportunities to keep in touch. Thank you Rene, for all of your hard work. The Farm Fair was exactly what this mountain girl needed.

  23. sally sumerlin says:

    Apart from wanting to party with Willie Nelson, I’d love to dance with one of the most special persons in my life. Your writings inspire people to become what they had hidden within themselves. Looking forward to seeing you again real soon, I love you little girl.

  24. carol branum says:

    hi rene,yesterday i was visiting one of my friends,she said there was a guy on amercian idol or whos got talent last week that was just an old hillbilly farmer type and they asked him about being a chicken catcher on his job title, they asked him and he said oh about 9 thous chickens and they all laughed,she said when he sang he sang,if tomorrow never comes by garth brooks, she said ,ya know carol, he is authinic,i cant spell it but her comment was, hes authinic, you know thats what you are, is authinic,your just yourself,you dont care what people think,then she says, i bet youve really got some talent,just like that guy, youve got a hiddin talent….kinda made me feel good…..just wanted to throw that thought in…i am a squaredancer by the way and if you have never done it,you just dont know what you are missing,i balked a first,and one of my clients just kept after me,what a blessing it turned out to be…i went to cancun mex with 97 square dancers,all older than me ,and squaredanced on stage on the cruise ship,it was so much fun…i have outfits and pedicoats in every color,and no one will ever make fun of me for it again,it is not corny at all,it is a terrific blessing,when my salon burned in 2005,the squaredancers all fed me and took care of me,they are wonderful people,and it is fun girls,i mean a load of fun…untill next time,the missouri farmers daughter,carol branum,lamar mo.


    I think you hit the nail on the head. At some point we need to say, "I am done apologizing" for being me. Why should we! Dance away girlfriend!!!!! I will be admiring the "moves"….

  25. Charlotte says:

    Ok, again….how do you do it? It is like your blog is calling my name. I am a type A – Driver Driver personality and my husband on the other hand a type Z – laid back personality. When we met and fell in love, people couldn’t believe it. I said he made me laugh and dance, and he said, I brought him perspective. My daughter, thankfully, now has a happy mix of both! And, my husband and I – well, we learn to cross over the lines on both sides quite often and live outside of our comfort zones! Thanks again for the fun read!!!

  26. Sandra says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. From one small town girl to another, I got it. Now I just need the courage to bust that move.

    Here’s sending you courage. Or well, Maybe just a blind fold and some dance steps..LOL  dance away!

  27. Wow! You just lifted my spirits! You have articulated my thoughts that I couldn’t. and ohhh how refreshing!



    Thank you~ We are one anothers music.. are we not?

  28. Lorna Jean says:

    Hi everyone,

    I just stumbled on to MaryJanes, for the first time, today. Wow. I guess it’s true, the saying, everyone has a twin.

    I grew up on a dairy farm, went to work, came back home, and bought a small, 15 acre, farm, to start a family. I love my little family and our little farm. I have always had the idea that we could make our farm into a vehicle that sustains us and those we love. Our farm may be small; but, our hearts and dreams are big.

    Having grown up on a dairy farm, with grand parents, great grandparents, and 1st through 5th cousins, living together, I have been privledged to learn how to do things like: milk cows, sew, shear sheep, spin wool, make cheese, can, and bail hay. This early education combined with what I’ve learned from the corporate world, leads me to ask, the question, "Where do I start?"

    I would love to hear some of your stories, insights, suggestions, and warnings.

    Lorna Jean

    Lorna Jean,

    Make sure to check out of Farmgirl Conection at an click on the link that says "Chat with other farmgirls". There are lots of us and lots an lots of stories…

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