Skip Nav

Personal Essay on How Dancing Helps Shyness

Why I Don't Let My Shyness Spoil My Love For Dancing

I'm your typical introvert. I cringe at the idea of being surrounded by swarms of people and fear small talk like it's the plague. If you ever see me in a public place, I probably have a book in front of me. A book is sort of my security blanket — except for when I'm at a party and the music turns on. I light up, and my urge to dance overcomes my usual instinct to run and hide!

Being shy has been a challenge. Honestly, dancing used to be my best-kept secret. During elementary school, I would dread parent-teacher conferences because my teacher would always say that I was too quiet. I would feel like such a disappointment. To ease the sting of criticism, I would close myself in my room and dance.

Within the four walls of my room, I danced without inhibition. On the other hand, I would be as stiff as a board when it came to dancing at family reunions. Latinxs know that not knowing how to dance is pretty much unacceptable in our culture. I used to be coaxed to dance and then teased for not loosening up enough. It was frustrating because I loved to dance! Just not in public.

ADVERTISEMENT

So how did I learn to dance in front of people? I gained confidence. Watching Selena's music videos motivated me to dance like never before. Being Latina meant that I had some rhythm, at least that's what I told myself. The reality of people watching me was not going to stop me from dancing to my favorite song ever again.

The day I showed my family my dancing abilities was the day I demonstrated a new side of me. While at a family party, my aunt pulled me out to dance cumbia. Instead of quivering in embarrassment, I smiled and followed her lead. Right there, I realized that the long-ago fear of looking ridiculous had vanished. My family members were quite impressed, and I was loyal to my true self.

As I've noted here, I'm not one who craves being the center of attention. But I usually stand out for being the silent one at the dinner table. The minute I start dancing, I'm no longer the timid one who stutters her words or struggles to keep the conversation going: I'm the one who surprises others with her dance moves. They can't believe that the girl who barely said a full sentence just a moment ago is now moving so effortlessly to the beat of the music. Truth be told, if I have to have an audience, I would rather have them see me dance than wait for me to say something.

Occasionally, I find myself stuck in the postdinner, postdancing, "let's talk to one another because there are a few of us left at the party" phase. There's nothing more than this that gives me anxiety. I think about what to say or how I should reply without sounding dull or unintelligent. For the most part, all the thinking takes up way too much time, and I end up saying very little. These moments are dreadful, and my only wish is to disappear.

How can I be so confident on the dance floor and yet be so insecure when it comes to talking to people? Because dancing is just like breathing; I hear the music and move. There's no pressure to be charming or to sound interesting. Thoughts on current events or trends are not necessary. That's not to say that I don't have any opinions on anything — I do — but my mind tends to go blank when attempting to communicate them to others. It must be why writing is my other passion. I get to say what I want without being interrupted.

I must say that the only time I'm annoyed is when my dancing partner tries to strike up a conversation. Small talk ruins my rhythm. People find this amusing, but I breathe and keep on dancing. It's such an anxiety reliever that I refuse to let anyone stand in the way of my fun.

I was once told by a professor in college never to let people silence me. Well, sometimes dancing is my way of communicating my happiness and passion for living.

Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds