The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Sex and the CU | Nobody cares what I do

Sex+and+the+CU+%7C+Nobody+cares+what+I+do
Natalie Schneider

Back in my youth, I was a hip-hop dance icon. I would pop and lock all over my high school’s football field day and night. It was glorious. Once I entered college, I strayed from dance and focused my efforts on engaging in organizations centered around my major.

The idea of becoming a functional member of society clouded my desire to bust a groove to the sweet ditties composed by American rapper Keith “Chief Keef” Cozart in my spare time. 

A switch flipped in my head when I saw a popular hip-hop group on campus was holding a pre-audition workshop. I decided to attend and I tried my best to look cool. I needed to dress like I was a really good dancer. Unfortunately, I discovered baggy sweatpants will not magically make you talented.

I felt humiliated as everyone around me seemed more experienced than I did. The choreography was difficult, fast-paced and I had lost my sparkle halfway into the two-hour workshop. My head hung low while Elliot Smith played in my ears on the way home for dramatic effect.

My mind convinced me people were thinking of my pitiful attempt to get involved and laughing with their friends. I felt like the talk of the town. I was the campus fool.

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    In an effort to refocus my career goals, I typed “jester or fool of some sort” into LinkedIn. At least I would use my talents to better my future, but apparently people don’t use jesters anymore.

    I didn’t belong anywhere. As I logged into Zoom to seek out advice from my best friend — my assigned therapist — she reminded me of something important. She told me no one probably cared about my dancing. As she elaborated on her point, it opened my eyes to something I believe a lot of people struggle with.

    Everyone thinks everyone is thinking of them. I wake up every morning to put on an outfit so I look presentable, but would the world end if I walked out of my apartment without makeup? The answer is — probably not. 

    So much of my time has been wasted trying to appease others. Am I so self-obsessed that I believe everyone is observing what I wear at all times? No, reader, you are not self-obsessed for thinking people are judging you for tying your shoe on your way to class. 

    If you get overly embarrassed by doing very basic human acts, you are like me and many others. Thinking about ordering at a restaurant makes me cringe, I curse the day I sneeze in class and I lay awake at night thinking about how loud I probably laughed earlier that day.

    I still get nervous and insecure at times, as many people do in the grand span of their lives, but I have learned to realize that no one really cares. Everyone is trying to survive and get through their days, so why would they care if you repeat an outfit? 

    When I walk down the street, I’m rarely focused on what the person passing me is doing, saying or what they’re wearing. My mind is busy thinking about topics ranging from the Pizzagate conspiracy theory to the upcoming release of “Kung Fu Panda 4.”

    I challenge myself and I encourage you, dear reader, to step outside of  your comfort zone and simply not care. Don’t let yourself fall apart, of course, but be authentic and real to who you are. 

    I ended the call with my therapist. Even though she told me she did not want to hang out with me socially, I still reflected on the session with a smile. From then on, I vowed to stay true to myself and put myself out there for any future endeavors.

    Yes, I was embarrassed by my dance performance, but I’m proud I went in the first place. 

    Reader, I hope this inspires you to embarrass yourself every once in a while and try new things. If someone judges you for that, tell them they’re ugly. 

     

    Until next time!

     

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    About the Contributor
    Lillie Salas, Features Editor
    Hello! My name is Lillie Salas, and I am a sophomore majoring in journalism. I have been working at The Daily Illini since my freshman year. I began as a staff writer in features and then had the opportunity to be promoted to features editor during my second semester. I am so honored to work with such an amazing staff and I look forward to working with the Champaign-Urbana community to share our stories. For any inquiries, contact me at my email below.
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