[For reference I am coming to you from the United States, specifically California where I have spent almost all of my years.]
[The word “weird” can be replaced with abnormal, uncommon, strange, or whatever works for you.]
It seems we live in a culture that disapproves of the movement of our body in a free, expressive, curious manner in public settings. If you need an example, step outside your door and dance, wiggle, lift your arms above your head or out to your side, put your hands on the ground, squat close to the ground, or climb something. You might receive one of the following reactions from people in the vicinity: strange looks, pointing, confusion, or avoidance. I’ve gotten them all since I’ve started my movement journey which has taken me outside to parks and forests.
Most of my life I have been on the other side of this. I was once one that was intimidated by others who would openly move in my presence. If I was in a pack, we would often talk down and make fun of these people. “Damn hippies.” It’s weird to engage in this behavior, and all of the people I was surrounded by growing up used this terminology.
Over time what this did to me was make me freakishly scared of moving my body in public outside of the norm, walking and sitting, for fear of judgement and disapproval.
Why is it Weird?
Culturally, I assume that it is because adults do not engage in such behavior. Adults are too busy, too old, too sophisticated, too… Adulty (yeah… adulty). So if someone is engaging in this behavior, they are not an adult. They must not have a job, or they must do drugs, or they must go to burning man.
Another cultural thing we like to do is promote stillness from a young age. Youth are rewarded for sitting still in class and punished for the urge to move. After years and years of having this hammered in, sedentary behavior is the norm and movement vilified. A personal example (which I believe may be personal to most) shows how sedentary behavior is normalized and play or movement is made the villain in the development of an individual. As I aged from primary school to secondary school, a common ‘coming of age’ sign was that we did not play anymore. We are trying to become more adult-like, so play is buried with the unacceptable. In our free time we walk around and BS with our friends, drive in our cars, or walk around. There’s the common joke made of the kid who runs to class.
Those who continue to move in this setting are labeled outside the norm. In my situation it was kids who played hacky sack, juggled, or even those who rode a bike.
This presents a real problem. If movement is not a norm then we are actively avoiding it. To avoid movement is to turn off a part of the human experience that lead us to where we are now. Fighting, dancing, climbing, balancing, moving low to the ground, expressing – how does the mind, body, and spirit respond when it does not receive a nutrient that it has received for so long?
I challenge you to ask yourself, “why is it weird to move in a public setting?”
As sedentary culture continues to permeate – and the diseases that come with it grow in numbers – this is an important question to consider.
I have had to dig deep with this question myself. The deeper I dig, the more I have realized that there is nothing to be found.
With Love and Curiosity,