aside Try Everything

My son loves to perform. For as long as he’s been able, he’s been singing and dancing his way into the hearts of family, friends and even strangers. He loves to freely express himself – something his mother and I have always encouraged.

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Performing under the spotlight.

While on our way to a birthday party for his twin 4-year-old cousins last weekend, he asked if he would be able to dress up in Maya’s princess outfits. I told him I didn’t know who was going to be there, if the dresses were going to be out, or if there were going to be too many other children. I told him if it was an option that, of course, he could. He responded quite matter of fact with, “If someone makes fun of me, you will protect me, right?”

I will protect him. To the best of my abilities. For the rest of my life.

What’s insane to me is that my son, this beautiful 5-year-old little boy, is worried about that. That he has to think about people coming at him because he does not do the same as them.

When I was 4, my aunts took pictures of me outside naked smelling flowers. I used to run around the house calling myself Dennis Michael Jackson because I loved to perform and dance all over the place (much like my son). Somewhere along the way, I lost that. I lost the free-spirited attitude my son commands so surely. Almost all of us have lost that.

As we grow up, we start to worry about what others think and what society deems socially acceptable and unacceptable, and before we realize it, our path changes. It’s easy to follow the same path as everyone else. It’s easy to stand in the crowd and point out the differences and failures of another.

We all need to do a little more thinking for ourselves. Stop going with the crowd. Remember this: The majority of the world is miserable. Why do you want to do what the majority of the world is doing?

Before you jump to conclusions or share gossip about someone, remember your 5-year-old self. Doing anything because of someone else is not a reason why. It is laziness. It is fear of not being accepted for being different.

I am different. I am not here to judge anyone (unless it’s on reps in a workout) because I’m not qualified. I’m still learning every day, and so much of that I learn from my son.

His latest favorite song is Try Everything by Shakira (featured in the movie Zootopia). After listening to his song in the car on the way to school five times yesterday, some of the lyrics hit home with me:

Look how far you’ve come, you filled your heart with love
Baby you’ve done enough, take a deep breath
Don’t beat yourself up, don’t need to run so fast
Sometimes we come last, but we did our best
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I’ll keep on making those new mistakes
I’ll keep on making them every day
Those new mistakes

These words are fitting for everyone. I have made mistakes in my life. I will make mistakes in the future.

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Jamming out on the way to school.

I am not perfect, but I work hard at what I do and I always have. I have heard that I yell too much, that I encourage too enthusiastically, that I am too intense, or that I’m an asshole. All of those may be true, but I would rather be different for giving my heart completely to what I do than to be thought of as not caring enough.

The point is this: It’s ok to be different. It’s more than ok to be different. It’s awesome! If we were all the same, Earth would be a pretty boring place.

Stop trying to figure out how to appear. Be unabashedly you and do what you love – not what someone tells you to love or believe.

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