How to Overcome Past Disappointments to Have a Fun and Meaningful Life!
What is that saying? "Go Big or Go Home". So here we go with me being totally transparent. I was raised Southern Baptist. My dad was the Youth Pastor in a very large, prominent Southern Baptist Church in our hometown. Do you know why the Southern Baptist don't believe in Premarital Sex?...... Because it could lead to dancing! Ok, so obviously that is a joke and sorry to all the special people in my life that this might offend. But I say it because I sometimes feel like I literally lived the Footloose movie. Which is also a little comical because I was banned as a teenager from going to see that movie. I was also banned from seeing the movie Dirty Dancing. I was banned from listening to any secular music. My Christian school did not allow us to have a Prom.
So this brings me to a very important part of this story. When I turned sixteen and was finally allowed to date, I happened to meet a boy from one of our large public schools. We began dating in February. I was totally smitten. A few months goes by and he starts planning for his Prom. "Oh No", I thought, my dad will never let me go. And of course when I asked, the answer was a quick "No". So I break this news to the boyfriend. His mother though insisted that he would go to his Junior Prom with a date, limo, fancy dinner, corsage and all the works with or without me. I was so bummed. My boyfriend was too. He quickly came up with a plan to take the foreign exchange student from Peru to make it special for her with an America Prom. So Prom night rolls around and I am sad that I'm missing out. But I was glad my boyfriend was making things nice for someone. I knew they were just friends and there was nothing to worry about. Plus we had barely dated 2 months, so I don't think I was too emotionally invested quite yet.
Fast forward one year later and the Spring rolls around and it is time to cross this bridge of Prom once again. I was still dating this boyfriend and things were very serious. Again his mother demands that he will go to his Senior Prom with a date, limo, fancy dinner, corsage, etc. You get the picture. Except this time, I'm not so laid back about it. There is no Foreign Exchange student to take and I'm not having this whole other girl getting to go on a very special date with my man. So I kindly and respectfully asked my dad if he would reconsider allowing me to go this year. I do feel that maybe my dad had a soft spot for me on this subject. I do believe he thought he was having to be harder on me about this subject than he really wanted to. But you have to picture the fact that he was the YOUTH PASTOR of a church that did not believe it was good or wholesome to dance. He did honor me by at least asking some of his peers and leadership of the church to consider making an exception. So this is where we can get the picture of some scenes of Footloose in our minds. While I didn't have to go to a community Town Hall Meeting to make a case and presentation on why the students at GCS should be allowed to dance, my dad did have to sit around a boardroom table at the church with our school administrator, some deacons from the church and some other staff members and plead my cause.
It was a valiant effort on my dad's part. But unfortunately he did not succeed. Oh, I can not even explain my disappointment, a little bit of anger and a whole host of emotions. My one friend even suggested that I spend the night at her house on Prom night, sneak a dress and more importantly sneak to the Prom. Her dad was also on staff at the church and I very wisely realized that it was not the best idea. I would surely get caught. So I opted not to go this route. I was just going to have to grin and bear it for the evening. The boyfriend invited some super pretty girl to Prom and this was the first year that his school hosted an After Prom meaning he would be with her ALL night. I was so sad the entire night.
I eventually had a very terrible break up with this boy months later. It was beyond painful. At some point I'll share more on this, but for now I'd like to get into what I have learned from this life experience. I'd like to give some nuggets of information that might help you push past disappointments.
1.) Don't Let Your Past Dictate Your Future.
We will all suffer disappointments in life. Some to more degrees than other. But if we let things that we didn't get to do, or wrongs done to us by others, or even mistakes we made hold us back, we can really never see our full potential in life.
2.) Forgive People
I have come to realize that many times when people let you down, it is sometimes because of their own issues or insecurities. Some times, like in my dad's case in 1987, he really had to follow a certain set of rules and guidelines. He may have wanted to let me go to the Prom, but he just couldn't. I can't still be mad at my dad. Even though my mom does say that I'll never let him live that down.
3.) Be Authentic to Yourself While Still Being Respectful to Other's Belief System
This one I think is really important. I have learned in life to speak up for myself, be true to myself, and live my life with minimal concern for what people might think. But there is a balance when you must honor what the people in your life hold dear to them. I've come a long way from my legalistic upbringing. I dance... like all the time when there is chance. I listen to secular music. My favs are Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Prince, anything Rap and Hip Hop. For a time, my guilty pleasure was Fifty Cent! I don't necessarily think it's wrong to drink. But here is the thing. There are many people in my life that still think these things are somehow very "wrong". I do not flaunt my new found liberation and freedom. I respect their beliefs.
I remember the first time I went to an event with dancing and there was this new dance called The Electric Slide. How how much fun it was to learn that dance and enjoy having fun with friends. Now I get the distinct pleasure in what I do for my business to watch people enjoy life and celebrate wonderful occasions. On the year my brother turned 40, we had a big surprise party for him. Somewhere in the middle of the DJ time of the party, I asked the DJ to play Footloose and I called my mom, dad and my brother to the dance floor. It was just the four of us dancing our booties off and laughing that we survived our "Footloose" days. A few years later I threw my Mom and Dad a 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. As part of the festivities, I had my brother do a Mother/Son dance with my Mom. And I did a Father/Daughter dance with my Dad. Something I was not able to do with him at my wedding. It was so special. Now I'm living footloose and fancy free. My favorite dance song may be Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody". Right now I'm totally jamming with N.E.R.D's "Lemon". And you best believe if "The Wobble" starts playing, I'm gonna be on the dance floor! Come and join me sometime.