If you’re happy and you know it, flap your hands

by maximusaurus

Pain and pleasure.

Some say they’re twins, or two sides of the same coin. I prefer to think of them as two overexcited three-year olds sitting on either end of a seesaw. The harder child A comes slamming down like a sledgehammer swung by King Kong, the harder child B slams back.

For instance, I’ve talked about how fear affects me; how it’s like having ice water shot into my veins. Funny thing is, excitement has a similarly excessive effect, just in a positive direction.

I’ll be walking down the street or sitting at my computer, when suddenly a wild random thought appears. It might be a mental image of a giant monster soaring through the skies, weaving between missiles to the theme of one of my favourite songs. It might be coming up with a new idea for whatever story I’m working on.

Then, instead of ice water, its like I’ve been shot full of liquid electricity. I feel like I’m about to explode from all the energy surging through me. An almost uncontrollable urge comes over me to release some of this energy through physical movement. Before I know it, my hands are flapping, I’m jumping up and down, or I’ve just sprinted twenty meters. Sometimes all  three at the same time. And it feels amazing.

This has happened to me for as long as I can remember,  and while it was generally tolerated when I was a small child, it began to present a problem as I grew older and such displays of spontaneous hyperactivity became less socially acceptable. From late primary school and throughout high school I was frequently harassed about it, and as a result  spent years trying to repress it, a least in public. In private, I would shut myself in my room and thrash about madly to my favourite music, or just to exhilarating thoughts.

Then, when I moved away to University, I hit on an idea; I incorporated my compulsive hyperactivity attacks into a dance routine. I use the word “dance routine” lightly, like when I say my bedroom is “organized” or my addiction to green tea is “under control”. All it really is is me letting out the energy that’s pouring into me as music in the form of uncoordinated physical movements. There’s no moves, no pattern. Most of the time I’m not even thinking about what I’m doing, I just let go and do what feels good.

The end result is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dufNX4peGko (Note: I wasn’t even drunk, much less on drugs. And I didn’t know I was being filmed)

What I was completely unprepared for was how positively people responded to my “dancing”. I expected to be laughed at, but instead total strangers would approach me afterwards and tell me how much they liked it. I became well known for it, and even won an award. A habit I had once been bullied for became something I was respected for and could take pride in.

Those of you who know me will know that sometimes I still do a little hyperactive dance in mid conversation sometimes. Now you know why.

Moral of the story? Don’t censor your quirks; embrace them, because the right people will appreciate them.