Dance To Your Own Beat, Baby.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. – E.E.Cummings. 

(This is a post + pic by Jo Bradshaw of Minestrone Soul).

You can tell that I don’t read all that many grown-up books at the moment.

My daughters are three and seven, and I spend a good hour each day reading stories to them. We have a lovely book about a giraffe called ‘Giraffes can’t Dance’ by Giles Andreae (Purple Ronnie, anyone?). 

In it, Gerald the giraffe, who lives with a rollicking tribe of wild animals in Africa, is called by the mesmerising pull of a jungle party to dance at the annual ball.

Except he knows he can’t dance.

Not like the other animals, who are waltzing and tangoing away. Still, he’s brave. He timidly approaches the dance floor and…

Everyone laughs at him.

Poor Gerald tiptoes forlornly away from the party and all the others having fun. He just can’t do it. He’s not like them. He’ll never be able to dance. How’s Gerald feeling right now?

Broken, rejected, somehow inferior to everyone else?

Have you ever felt like that?

Felt that there’s this big ol’ mould out there that you just don’t – can’t fit into? I have.

As someone with a dozen simultaneous, buzzing passions jostling my attention. As someone who can’t handle more than 6 months in a full time desk job without feeling like a caged animal.

But here’s the thing about us multipassionate sparklers.

We’re not broken. Not flighty. Just different. 

We think different thoughts, and in work and play, we use our strengths and skills in a unique way. 

Lots of other people don’t understand. People who don’t have a soup of seemingly-unconnected ideas in their heads as soon as they get up in the morning. People who can stick with just one pursuit forever. People who like to conform, to be safe, to dance the tango and never give an inch.

They don’t understand at first because they are not like you.

Me. Us.

So, how do you get them to understand?

How do you get others to accept your multipassionate minestrone strands of sparkledom for what they are?

Show ‘em. 

Do what you do – what only YOU can do – in a way that is so unique and effective that they’ll get it. They’ll fall over themselves to understand because they’ll see the results as you work your magic.

How?

Well, do you want to know what Gerald did? As he yondered, dragging his sad, heavy hooves, away from the party into the moonlight, he looked up and saw how beautiful the moon was:

 “Then he found a little clearing
And he looked up a the sky,
‘The moon can be so beautiful,’
He whispered with a sigh.” 

‘Excuse me!’ Coughed a cricket
Who’d seen Gerald earlier on,
‘But sometimes when you’re different
You just need a different song.’

Gerald tunes into the music that he hears. The swaying grass, the light of the moon. He starts swaying too. The cricket breaks out his violin. Soon, Gerald is dancing. I mean REALLY dancing.

He heads back to the other animals and they witness Gerald’s beautiful, graceful, looping, balletic dance. Gerald is apparently transformed.

This is the real Gerald.

They are unanimous. Gerald rocks. They were wrong about him all along. They want to know how he dances so well. Do you see what Gerald did there in this little story?

He stopped trying to be like everyone else, and went and (with a little help) started listening. Listening in to his own song. He got grounded. He connected to himself.

Sometimes, to move forward, what we need to do is to take a few steps away. Away from the crowd. Back a bit. Turn down the noise and listen. 

Can YOU hear your own music? What’s a playin’? Share with me know below & please like, tweet, share this post! Thanks! Jo.

Jo Bradshaw is a multipassionate minestrone soul whose mission is to help others get out of the gloop of overwhelm and scatter and make their gifts really shine.

Jo is a brand designer, dot-joiner, copywriter and illustrator who also loves eco building, cooking and gardening. Find out more at www.minestronesoul.com or follow Jo on twitter: @minestronesoul.
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  1. says

    Fabulous post, lots of wisdom in this story :) It reminded me of a quote I love: “The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them”.

  2. says

    Possibly I read too many children’s books, but I bet you guys would love this quote too:
    “I hold the World Record for being me.” ~ Old Granny, Mr Gum & the Biscuit Billionaire by Andy Stanton.
    :)
    Jo

        • says

          Ha! I was just listening to Amanda Palmer’s Ukelele Anthem:

          “Sid Vicious played a 4-string fender bass guitar & couldn’t sing & everybody hated him except the ones that loved him…”

          good that you’re comfortable with the fact that having a strong point of view or battle cry can be polarising. And that you don’t need everybody to love you (loving yourself is the most important) Then finding those people who DO love all that you do :) and showing up for them.

  3. says

    Great post, couldn’t resist checking out ‘ dance to your own beat, baby.’ Love and get the bit about multi passions and it’s inspired my 276th heart tonight on my Heart a day blog – ‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out.’ – Dr Seuss
    except I’m a total Argentinian Tango addict lol xx

    • says

      Ohhh..love Dr Seuss! Thanks for sharing that Hazel…and I’m sure the Tango is amazing, if you can do it (I’m more of a giraffe in the Tango department) ;)
      Born to stand out indeed: in fact, you have a duty to do so.

  4. says

    What a great post, thank you!

    I am a female immigrant and I moved to New York many years ago with the hopes of bettering my life and earning my Green Card. That was who I needed to become.

    The E.E. Cummings quote really struck out to me — it took so much hard work, and just years of struggles to finally make it on my own. But, I did it. I finally did it, and I am successfully working, living in NY as the woman I always knew I needed to be.

    http://bibisingh.wordpress.com/

    • says

      Wow Bibi, you really are an inspiring tough cookie! Sticking to your guns is the key, isn’t it. And not listening to that negative chatter, whether it’s coming from the inside or the outside. We all need more people like you, and more crickets with violins.
      Go girl!

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