I had a super happy secret feeling that I couldn’t keep a secret anymore

This is a Guest Post by Sandy Lee, a new Cheese-It in my world. I love how raw and honest and courageous her thoughts are. Husband makes fun of me whenever I’m listening to someone talk about being an entrepreneur, living the dream, quality of life, sharing your passion, all that Oprah jazz — he closes his eyes, rocks back and forth, bites his lip, raises his hand, and repeatedly mutters “Amen,” insinuating that I’m channeling my Black Woman in Church. Well, I BWC’d all over Sandy’s words. Especially the we don’t laugh enough as adults and the reverting back to kid’ness reflections. AMEN. So appreciative of Sandy and her willingness to share herself!

Ten Reasons I Heart Fear Experiment℠


Hi, I’m Sandy and I’m turning 30 this year. And to be honest, I am kinda freaking out!! Whenever I log into work, it tells me that I am 29 years, 8 months and 3 days old … and day by day I am slowly approaching the big 3-0. I would be lying if I said that I had fulfilled all my goals or personal expectations of where I thought I would be and what kind of life I would have at the 30 year mark. I thought I would be married, with kids, a suburban house, and an amazing job as a super executive high power boss type… because for some reason, that’s what I thought happens after college.

But at the beginning of 2015, I am at a job that I just started in December and experiencing “new kid in school” feelings all over again. I rent an apartment, am single (but actively looking… and the other half is getting really good at this hide and seek thing) and don’t have kids. And yet, I feel more fulfilled in the past single month of 2015 than I have in the last few years… so how is that possible? Well, let me tell you about why I love #fearexperiment!!

  1. #fewerbackrolls

I just had a pretty amazing realization today. It has been one month of Fear Experiment (FE) and I am very excited to say that I have 1.5 – 2 fewer back rolls than when I started. Oh you read that last part correctly, apparently dancing around for 4 hours a week results in fewer back rolls… I feel like that would be something people would want to know!!! Gloria (our dance captain / bootcamp leader) guides us through lunges, push-ups, planks, sit-ups and a push-up plank hybrid move called the American Ninja Warrior. And that’s all before the actual dancing part starts!! While I am not very good at any of those workout moves, I do feel like I am improving and hopefully will graduate to regular push-ups!! Oooh and I have fewer back rolls!!! Thanks FE and Gloria!!!!!

  1. Laughing All The Time

When I started FE, I never realized how often I laugh every day. I don’t think I laughed nearly enough pre-FE. Every time I make a mistake while trying to remember the dance routine. Every time I notice that I am literally doing the routine at work, during work hours, around coworkers. Every time my new friends and I crack a joke or do a crazy dance move. Every time I hear the song to the routine. Every time I am dancing and I can’t remember the next step because of a total mind blank. I can’t help but let out a huge laugh. It seems like when you were a kid laughing happens all the time, but with all the seriousness of adulthood… laughter kind of dies. Being a part of FE has brought the laughter back into my daily life.

  1. Telling People I’m Going to be at the Park West

At this point, I should tell you a secret. I’ve always thought that it would be so fun to be a youtube star / singer / dancer / creative performer that has the opportunity to channel that creativity and talent every single day. However, my 9-5 job is definitely more of a typical office gig filled with cubicles and lots and lots of excel spreadsheets and paper. So having the chance to tell people (basically anyone that will listen) that I am going to be onstage at the Park West on March 28th… is something I’ve only dreamed of.

  1. Automatic Cool Points

Participating in FE has been a life changing experience for me only one month in. Another unexpected perk is that when I tell people about the idea of FE and the dance practices, people are automatically impressed. I mean I hope that my friends hang out with me because they think I’m fun and cool. But it’s also refreshing to hear from new friends or dates that they think my participation in FE is cool and something that they admired. People always ask how I found out about FE, how long the practices are, who else is participating and how they would be able to join too!!

  1. Rediscovering Dance

I mentioned this in my application and to the other FE8 group members, but when I was younger I took jazz classes. I really enjoyed the classes and have had a love affair with dance since. It has transformed from learning jazz in leotards as a 9 year old to more of a leisure activity. I still love the free Zumba classes at Millennium Park during the summers and hip hop classes at the gym. But the idea of learning a choreographed routine to then perform to a real live audience is something completely different from workout classes for fun. It’s mentally challenging to try to remember the routine and the sequence. It’s physically challenging to follow along in the beginning and to keep up with the movements. Sometimes arms and legs don’t cooperate as fast as my brain wants them to!! But it’s created a feeling of remembering what I loved so much about dance… it’s an expression of feeling through movement. Even when it’s challenging, it makes it even more rewarding when you do remember the routine and can follow along with music!!!

  1. Reverting Back to Kid Tendencies

This reminds me of an article I read in the past about playtime. As kids, we always set aside time to play and exercise our creativity alone or with others. And as we grow up, we forget and lose our playtime due to work or “relaxing” or responsibilities. Having designated time set aside for four hours during my week for dance practice feels like built-in playtime. It’s structured according to Gloria’s guidance, but feels very freeing. There are no expectations to be proper or professional or to act like an adult. It is a chance to take a break and move without being apologetic or restricted.

  1. Learning Something New

My personal motto is to take time every day to learn something new. It doesn’t have to be a big lesson, it can be a simple fact or a new song or something about a new person or culture. Participating in FE has made this easier for me to do… on dance practice days, I am already learning something new… the routine!!! But it could also mean learning how to do things a different way. Living every day with a new outlook is also an example of learning something new or how to do things differently.

  1. People – New Friends, Community, Facebook Activity

It’s hard to meet new friends outside of college. I have made awesome friends through meetup but in general it is very difficult. It’s challenging to find others with similar interests, positive outlooks, and yet different backgrounds. But FE somehow has all of that!!! I trekked an hour and 15 minutes in the blizzard conditions to watch the Super Bowl with fellow dancers, I checked out the hottest tiki bar in Logan Square and laughed my butt off at Zanies afterward and its only been one month!! Every person I have met has a mindset of creating positive change and self-improvement that is inspiring and motivating to be around. The larger sense of community even on Facebook is really felt. And I feel like my Facebook feed has changed significantly with more positive and funny quotes. FE alumni seem so supportive and encouraging which only adds to the idea of this cool, creative community.

  1. How to Live Fearlessly

Never would I have thought that signing up for something called Fear Experiment would inspire me to live fearlessly. As soon as I found out that I was accepted, I decided to take it upon myself to push outside of my comfort zone. When I applied for FE, I had just gone through a really hard breakup, quit a job, and felt so fearful of change and failure. Only when I decided to let go of that fear, did I feel stronger and more confident. I know I have held myself back in a lot of things in life because of that same fear of change and failure. I hope I can take the challenge of living fearlessly beyond just FE and throughout the rest of my life.

  1. Finding Secret Happiness

Over the years, as the daily amount of laughter decreased so did my inner happiness. I realized toward the end of last year that I used to smile and laugh so much more than I had recently. Maybe it’s because of frustrations from dating or feeling unfulfilled in past jobs or missing a passion in life. In any case, my inner happiness suffered a lot. It didn’t dawn on me how much until I started getting to know new friends from FE, going to practices, having so much fun dancing like a kid and not having to be proper or professional. It’s hard to be proper and professional when you’re channeling a wacky waving inflatable tube man. I feel like I had a super happy secret feeling that I couldn’t keep a secret anymore. I feel like I have to share the secret happiness and that it manifests in ways I never imagined with family and friends. In the past, there are times that love and happiness felt like a give and take process. I give love to only the people that show me love (I take love from them) and it felt very cyclical and at times one-sided. Sometimes those you love, don’t love you back in the same way or the way you expect. And now it seems to have evolved into a more universal idea. Giving love to everyone in the universe results in a fuller feeling of happiness and being able to experience more love even from strangers.

There ya have it. All the reasons that I love Fear Experiment!!!! But don’t just believe me, see it for yourself. Literally. Treat yo self and buy a ticket to see Fear Experiment with your own eyes on March 28that the Park West, you should invite your friends too cuz you wouldn’t want to deprive them of the experience.

And say hi, I want to be friends with you…

I’ll be the one nervously smiling and laughing and sincerely praying that I don’t fall off the stage!!!