Many of us have heard the adage: "Work like you don't need the money, Love like you've never been hurt and dance like no-one is watching."
There are many forms of the quote these days, and it's hard to find the 'true' source, some attributing it to Irish Proverbs and Mark Twain. Regardless, the heart of the message is one I find inspirational... live for the now and don't allow yourself to be held back by others.
Recently I've been having a few discussions with people along these lines. We've talked about how people feel a 'pressure' to fit in, which can cause some of them to behave differently. The outcome of this is that many adults wonder who they are, and what happened on their life journey to become someone they are not.
For people with Autism the pressure to fit in may be a heavier weight than the rest of us. The humming, pacing and flapping that many Autistic children do is often frowned upon by society. I'm fairly certain that Jono is completely unaware of the looks we sometimes get from people when out at the park or at the shops... I notice it though.
He usually hums when moving, walking should somehow be accompanied by noise... wether it just 'feels' good, or it's now an ingrained habit I am unsure, but one thing I am sure of I is that as he goes on in life people will ask him what he is doing, make fun of him for doing it and at times demand him to stop. People will be people.
Currently his brother and sister will mimic him at times, and he gets annoyed with them. Which again I am unsure, it may be that he realises they are 'making fun' of him... or that he doesn't want someone else doing it becuase it is 'his'... or perhaps he doesn't like it being brought to his notice. Until they bring it up though, he is largely 'unaware' that he is doing it.
So where does the dancing come into this? My daughter will dance along to a song, and suddenly notice people are watching and get embarrased and stop. She tells me she is worried what other people will think of her. I tell her don't worry, because they are all worrying what other people will think of them.
It's a big lesson to learn, especially for one who is only 6 years old.. but I hope she gets it, I want all my kids to get it. This is one lesson Jonathan can teach all of us.
He doesn't hold back. He doesn't feel judged. He isn't aware of others looks, and he is just comfortable being himself.
This week in your life,
Dance... like you are 'unaware'.
Update: The day after I wrote this, I had a 'sleepover' at my Mum's place, helping her with something. I left my place around 7pm, wearing a trackpants, long shirt and a fluffy polar fleece dressing gown, as I knew we wouldn't go out anywhere. On the way home the next morning, I stopped at a petrol station... and 'almost' took off the dressing gown so I could appear more normal. Then I remembered this, and left it on because it was warmer, who cares what people think!! It was a good feeling :)