by Michelle Oram

From a very young age, I knew I was different. I listened to the music of Nature, sang with birds, danced with the wind, sat quietly and dreamt with the Moon. Some kids would bully and make fun of me, which only forced me to not be like them.

Imagine how liberating and fun life would be if we tattooed our minds with this quote? “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening.  Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on earth.” Mark Twain

Our hearts know the power and the ecstasy of these words, but our mind is always fearful of being ridiculed. I am one of those scary people who still in my 60’s dance uncontrollably to my favorite songs.  It started in second grade behind closed doors in my bedroom.  I would play my favorite music and let my feet be one with the drums.

I have fooled many people while dancing. They would say, “You must be a professional dancer!” and I would respond, “No, just letting my feet do the talking.” I have been left on the dance floor by many men who could not handle my lack of inhibitions and my body’s oneness with the beat and groove of the band. And to my surprise, I have been an inspiration to many women whose bodies were convulsing to get up and dance and needed that little bit of a tug.  When the song was over they would thank me for getting the party started.

It is no surprise that one of my favorite children’s books is Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae.  I am delighted to share this book as part of the Milford Readers and Writers Festival on Friday, September 28 at 10:30am at the Pike County Library. We are pleased to offer our youngest generation of readers a chance to participate in our festival. Join me in a children’s interactive music, art, dance and theatre book reading experience.

The book, set in the jungle, deals with not being scared of being different. The cricket helps Gerald the Giraffe to open his heart to what he loves, and embrace his uniqueness by telling him, “But sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.”

Learning something new can be extremely challenging but if we keep practicing, the rewards are great. The harder the struggle the greater the rewards.

Giraffe’s Can’t Dance teaches us that life is a dance, so do it joyfully. Believe in yourself, nurture yourself and keep on trying as Gerald the Giraffe learns, “We all can dance, when we find music that we love.”