So, I’ve been taking dance classes at The Grizzly Rose for the past few weeks. The first week a very nice guy named Randy introduced himself and took me out on the floor to spin me around a bit. He’s quite a good dancer and explained that he helps the instructor out here and there. We’ve danced several times since then and he’s a really good, patient lead and I’m learning a ton from him.
The other night we got to talking before class and had one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had in a long time. We started talking about clichés and how Randy is all about cracking them wide open and exposing the truth below them.
Example: “Time heals all wounds.” According to Randy, and I agree, time couldn’t give a shit about your wounds. That statements is one made from one person to another as a way to say, “I feel your pain and I sympathize.” This gives the speaker of this cliché the satisfaction that they’ve said something meaningful and helpful but without really having to provide any support or help to the person they’re talking to. It’s basically a “cover your ass” statement made to look like you’re being supportive when, really, you just don’t want to get involved.
Example: “You can’t change a leopards spots.” Well, technically, no, you can’t change a leopards spots. But this statement implies that a person can’t change, which is completely false. People change all the time. What you can’t do is change a person yourself. They have to want to change and to put in the effort and time to make those changes. And all of that has to come from a place of self-awareness and desire to do the work.
Example: “Step outside your comfort zone.” Randy believes that no one really ever does this, but they, rather, push the boundaries of their comfort zone in an effort to grow and learn. He argues that completely stepping out of your comfort zone results in a retraction out of fear and insecurity. We spent a long time discussing how comfort and stability isn’t a bad thing and that it’s what everyone is really looking for. Think about it…every decision you’ve made that felt like you were stepping outside of your comfort zone actually came from an initial place of comfort no matter how small.
Example: “Relationships are a give and a take.” Yeah, how’s that working out for you? Perhaps if people approached relationships as a give/give situation they would realize the fulfillment that comes from giving. See, giving to other people (my time, my support, my love, etc.) fills me up and makes me happy while doing the same for them. Which, in essence, means I’m giving and taking at the same time but in an unselfish manner. Interesting how that works.
Example: “Think outside the box.” Randy argues that no one ever does this. He argues that what people do, instead, is look at the box and reconfigure and stretch it. He used the Wright Brothers as an example. The box was flying, something birds were already doing. They reconfigured the box to include a vessel for human flight.
The whole point of this post is this…you never know who you’re going to meet where and what you might have to talk about beyond the surface-level, mundane stuff. Conversations about where to place my arms during a turn or what foot to start a dance on certainly didn’t prepare me to have this kind of deep, interesting, insightful conversation with Randy. Which brings me to my new favorite quote:
Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe. – Neil Gaiman