Dancing with strangers

I should probably start this post with a little bit of background information, for those of you who aren’t regular readers of my blog. And even if you are, you may not necessarily know this about me unless you’ve met me in person. I’m an introvert. I don’t consider myself to be outgoing at all. For a long time I thought that was kinda weird, I felt different to everybody else. I’m quite shy and I often don’t speak up in a large group of people, usually because I believe my opinions and anecdotes are inferior to everybody else’s. I do have low self-esteem and I’ve never been particularly confident in my abilities to do, well, anything.

Like most people, I spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think of me. Heck, I almost didn’t write this post because I thought ‘what if it makes me sound like a complete loser?’. But, as cliche as it sounds, isn’t life way too short to worry about what other people think of you? That’s one of the things I want to teach my daughter, to stay true to herself and not worry about what other people think. In order to do that, I have to lead by example.

I recently heard about a new weekly ‘group’, for lack of a better word, that had started meeting at my local community centre, called Dancejoy. The idea being, that you turn up and just dance for the fun of it. No instructor or anything like that. Just disco lights, happy tunes and like-minded people. Me? I love to dance. I’m not very good at it (oh, there I go again). But I love to dance.

Most mamas will know how hard it is to make ‘me time’ and I’m no exception. As much as I try to kid myself, tidying the house while Jasmine naps is NOT me time. Could Dancejoy be the answer I was looking for? The thing is, I don’t know many people around here, I don’t have anyone to go with. If I was going to go, I’d have to go by myself… and dance with strangers. Sober!

Wednesday evening rolled around and I filled up my water bottle, kissed my baby and fella goodbye and headed to the community centre. I’ll be honest, I felt physically sick. I thought about skipping the dance session and walking around our estate for an hour. I could go home and tell Stephen ‘Yeah, I had a great time’ and leave it at that. But I kept going.

Once I arrived, a little early, I bumped into two women who were stood outside the entrance. They were dressed head-to-toe in lycra and clutched nervously to their water bottles. It turned out they had gotten the wrong end of the stick. “It’s not a class, you know” one said to me. “I know” I replied. “There’s no instructor or anything.” “I know.”…. “and you’re still going to go in?!”

I thought about that question for a moment. Was I? Could I really go in there? By myself? And dance? With strangers?! “Yes, I’m going to go in… and you should too.” Now, not only was I sure that I did want to go in, I was also trying to talk two other people into going in too! Safety in numbers, I thought. Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk them round and they sloped off ‘for a run’ at the first opportunity. I was back to square one.

I took a deep breath, swung open the double doors and walked inside – the music already pounding. I took off my coat and put it to one side. In my head I was trying to work out how to go about making the change from looking like a rabbit-in-headlights to throwing disco shapes in the most inconspicuous way possible. I did what I always do whenever I’ve joined a new fitness class and I’m waiting for it to start, I drank about a litre of water from my bottle in about 15 seconds, in order to appear cool, calm and collected. “Yeah, look at me, just having a sip of water” *glug* “Totes relaxed.” *glug*. Eventually my inner-voice kicked in and did some straightalkin’. “Jenna, you can’t stand there drinking water all night, you came here to dance!” That b*tch be right. I did go there to dance.

I put down the bottle (at this point, regretting having not been clever enough to fill it with vodka) and walked to the centre of the hall. I then began to dance. With strangers. For the first few minutes I felt like I was going to collapse in a heap due to my self-consciousness. And then? That feeling stopped. I loosened up, both mentally and physically. I looked around the room and saw that everybody else was smiling and enjoying themselves. Nobody was judging anybody. They were just there to have fun and dance. Just like me.

The rest of that hour flew by as we all danced to songs from Elvis to Bruno Mars, without a care in the world. I left that hall grinning from ear-to-ear.

My point, and I do have one, is that I surprised myself. And you can too. We are all capable of doing things we think we cannot do. We are all so much braver than we think, you just have to give yourself the opportunities to prove it. We all deserve to have fun, in whatever shape or form that takes. Please make time for it, it’s important.

I may be an introvert. I may be shy and quiet. I may have self-esteem and confidence issues. But on Wednesday night, I went out by myself, and danced with strangers.

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  1. Avatar April 10, 2015 / 4:47 pm

    Glad you had fun my lovely. I did have to giggle at the idea when we got the email in at the office the other week but when I thought about it, I thought that it would actually be a fab thing to do. I heard it has been really busy! Good on you for going. I might join you one week ;-)
    x x | daisydaisyxxo

    • Avatar April 10, 2015 / 5:09 pm

      Thanks, Daisy. It's a strange concept and I struggled to get my head around it at first but it really was a lovely experience. It was very busy when I went, the lady running it seemed quite overwhelmed by the support for it. I can only see it getting bigger and bigger. Heh, would be awesome if you came too! xx

  2. Avatar April 10, 2015 / 9:08 pm

    Well done you!! I am shy and such an introvert too….The thought of that is my idea of hell but it would be one of those things when I got there I would have a fab time x

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:04 pm

      Oh the anticipation is definitely the worse bit!

      Once I got into it, it was all good. :) xx

  3. Avatar April 10, 2015 / 9:56 pm

    Wow well done Jenna you are amazing, I would have loved this I love dancing, but I know how shy you are and how much strength this will have taken you are amazing x

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:05 pm

      Haha, I'm not amazing Sarah – I was just desperate for some me time! ;)

      Thank you so much, gorgeous lady. xx

  4. Avatar April 11, 2015 / 8:59 am

    Well done you Jenna! I'm not sure I could have done something like that, even though I'm quite outgoing! Glad you had s great time and that you go again next week! :) x

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:06 pm

      Ah, thank you Nicola.

      I bet you could! You have the bravery to be a vlogger, that takes more guts in my eyes. :) xx

  5. Avatar April 11, 2015 / 11:56 am

    Well done! My god it makes me feel sick at the thought of doing that without a drink in my hand (I'm not talking water!!!) !! I imagine it to be good fun though once you relax into it! Xx

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:07 pm

      Thanks, Hayley.

      Haha, I had never danced without being a little tipsy before either (or at the very least with other people I know). It definitely got easier as the hour went on. :) xx

  6. Avatar April 11, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    And THIS is why I love you Jenna me gal! I wish I lived nearer this sounds like something I would love! I have such a smile on my face right now! x

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:08 pm

      Oh that's so lovely, Kate. :) Thank you.

      I wish you lived closer too and then we could go together. xx

  7. Avatar April 12, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Oh Jenna, you are so wonderful. I love the way you write. You always make me smile and chuckle. You are so awesome for going and I am really glad you had fun and left grinning from ear to ear. You are an inspiration. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:08 pm

      Shucks, Mrs H. You certainly know how to make this girl blush! :)

      Thank you for your kinds words. xxx

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:09 pm

      Haha, I didn't think I was brave enough either but you'd be surprised. :) Thanks for popping by. xx

  8. Avatar April 12, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    You are so brave, well done for putting that water bottle down and getting on the dance floor!! These classes are such are such a fab idea, what a great way to meet people! It sounds like clubbing (is that even whats its called now!?) but without the alcohol!

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:10 pm

      Thank you, Becky. I'm pretty sure I was close to just standing there and just drinking water for an hour. It really is a great idea and the ladies who run it really do just want people to enjoy themselves. It was like clubbing… without the alcohol AND sleazy men. :) xx

  9. Avatar April 12, 2015 / 10:22 pm

    Amazing Jenna! I love this post and love that you did it, I would have been so nervous but it does sound like the most fun. So glad that you could put your insecurities side and enjoy it, you just have felt so invigorated after it, what a great idea! xx

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:11 pm

      Thank you so much, Hayley. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Invigorated is definitely the right word for how I felt afterwards. I was buzzing. :) xx

  10. Avatar April 13, 2015 / 4:19 pm

    Wow I love to dance too. Fair play to you for doing it, I wonder if they have anything like that by me although I dont know if I would have the confidence to do it but you go girl. I found your blog through #mummymonday xx

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      Why hello, fellow boogie-er! :)

      Definitely give it a go if there's something like it near you, everybody is there for the same reason and it's a very nice atmosphere. xx

  11. Avatar April 13, 2015 / 7:55 pm

    Wow that's amazing. What a brilliant idea. Love it.

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:13 pm

      Thanks, Karen – I think it's a genius idea. :) xx

  12. Avatar April 14, 2015 / 9:47 am

    Wow I want to come too! I miss dancing so much! GO YOU! Thats a huge thing to do when you're not with anyone or don't have an instructor to fall back on for confidence. Wow, you're a brave and clever lady xx Jess x

    • Avatar April 15, 2015 / 4:13 pm

      I definitely missed dancing too. :)

      Thank you, Jess. xxx

  13. Avatar April 16, 2015 / 2:04 pm

    Wow, what a fab idea and well done you!!! Can imagine the transition from arriving to starting to dance being a bit awkward but sounds so fun. The dancing is usually one of my fave parts about a night out!! Thanks for linking up #MummyMonday host xx

    • Avatar April 16, 2015 / 4:01 pm

      Thank you, hun! :)

      Haha, yes it was a very awkward transition from arriving to dancing but I managed it and it got a lot easier after that. Dancing is my favourite part of a night out too but it's usually alcohol induced! ;) xx

  14. Avatar April 16, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    Aaah Jenna!!!! I LOVE this!!! I wish I lived closer to you — I'd have come with you. I LOVE dancing. Particularly with strangers!! Often at festivals, I'll end up dancing with a group of randoms (and having the BEST time). Well done for conquering your fear pet. Good for you xx

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    • Avatar April 16, 2015 / 4:03 pm

      Hehe, thanks Caro! :) Aww, I wished you lived closer too – I'd love a dancing buddy. Dancing at festivals with strangers I can do – but only when alcohol is involved. If you can do it without the booze then you are far braver than me! :) xx

  15. Avatar April 16, 2015 / 9:37 pm

    jenna you go girl!! i love to dance but i have to be completely pissed or messing about with the girls to start this sounds like such a crazy but cool idea love it! x

    • Avatar April 17, 2015 / 10:22 am

      Heh, thanks Amy. I am exactly the same! I really surprised myself by doing it without being under the influence or with anyone I knew. It was a really good night. xx

    • Avatar May 14, 2015 / 12:00 pm

      Thanks so much, I really had a great time. :) x

  16. Avatar September 26, 2015 / 8:08 am

    Just seen this post for the first time after you mentioned Dancejoy in your latest Happy Days post and I just LOVE this. I’m an introvert too, I understand exactly where you’re coming from! Dancejoy sounds amazing – wish they had one near me. I love dancing but nights out are seldom these days so this would be a great way to do some! Well done for taking the plunge xx

    • Jenna September 26, 2015 / 9:21 pm

      It is such a good idea and if I ever moved somewhere else I think I’d have to start one. I think it could really do well all over the country. It’s lovely to just have an hour a week where I can leave the girl in her dad’s capable hands while I go out for a boogie. I still get nervous each time but within 10 minutes I’m enjoying myself so much I forget what it was I was worried about. xx

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