It seems like our desire to put ourselves out there decreases as we age. With our years of wisdom comes the fear of failing and making fools of ourselves. Why is it that with years of gained wisdom also comes the increased fear of looking foolish? 

Are the stakes higher? Debatable. But personally, I think we’ve just become more conscious of how we are perceived by others. As children, we don’t yet know how to care about what others think. Our sense of self awareness hasn’t set in just yet. 

A month ago, I spontaneously agreed to take my first K-pop dance class at Dance Joa. We learned the routine to MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix) by BTS through 8 classes over a 4 week period. First thing’s first, MIC Drop is so *not* a beginner’s dance! I danced for a few years during my preteen years, but it had been a good 13 years since I took a dance class. This was a whole new beast—5 minutes of intense choreography with 3 dance breaks. It was a challenge. My mind and body were so challenged and frustrated, but I haven’t had that much fun in so long. Peep my whole dance routine here. It was far from perfect, but I was feelin’ myself!

I also took pole dancing classes to get in touch with my inner sexuality and body awareness. I found it so strange and intriguing how many women were uncomfortable with the idea of embracing their sensuality in that way. To each their own, but no one’s ever looking at you as much as you believe they are—they’re so occupied fixating on themselves.

By opening myself up to the possibility of looking like a fool, I learned something completely outside of my comfort zone and gained such unique experiences. In a strange way, I think putting myself out there is my way of reclaiming control when life hits me with unexpected redirects. It reminds me that only I get to constantly evolve myself and what defines me.

Perhaps in an odd way, I’ve found that putting myself out there for everyone to judge is my own personal key to living as authentically as possible. A cheeky diss to societal expectations. I’ve gone through life strategically throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. The peaks of my personal happiness have sprouted from “do I dare?” moments. If it sticks, it’s absolutely euphoric. I never would’ve known that euphoria if I didn’t try. And hey, if it doesn’t stick and I fall on my face, at least I tried and I have no regrets.

One of my biggest fears in life is never having gone for it and looking back to regret what could’ve, should’ve, would’ve been if I just… tried. That’s why no matter how many times I make a fool of myself, I’ll always put myself out there and be the first to roll over and full belly laugh at myself if it goes wrong.

I have no shame, no chill, and no fear of looking foolish. And I really think that once you slowly start to let go of giving a fuck about what other people think of you, you’ll be able to live life a little lighter, freer, and happier.

Words by Jessica Wu

Photography by Jorge Ortega

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