I stand on the edge of the dance floor watching couples glide, spin, and groove as they dance the West Coast Swing. The tempo of the music is fast, but the beating of my heart is faster. I want to dance, but I'm afraid I'm not good enough.
我站在舞池邊,看著人們一對一對地在跳西海岸搖擺舞,他們滑動舞步、旋轉著、享受著。音樂節奏很快,但我的心跳更快。我想跳舞,又擔心跳得不好。

The song ends, and as another begins, a white-haired gentleman with a rakish smile offers me his hand and pulls me onto the floor, waving away my protests that I'm only a beginner.
一首樂曲結束,另一首開始了,一位淺色頭發的紳士面帶微笑向我伸出手,把我拉進舞池,我作為初學者的恐懼一掃而光了。

Okay. If he can do this, so can I.
好吧,如果他能跳,那我也能跳。

I manage to find a respectable groove, but whenever he tries to lead me in anything other than the basic steps, I stumble. All I can do is smile a lot and apologize even more.
我終于覺著自己跳得不錯了,但他帶著我跳基本舞步之外的動作時,我就會絆到。我所能做的就是多微笑,但更多的還是道歉。

After I've mumbled sorry for the tenth time, he laughs and says, "It's okay. You're blonde."
我第十次喃喃地道歉之后,他笑著說:“沒關系,你的金發很漂亮。”

Huh? It's delivered like a compliment, and I decide to take it as one; if I can't be graceful, I can at least be gracious. But later, after the shoes have come off and I'm in my own quiet room, his words keep dancing through my head. They start wearing a different kind of groove, leading to questions like:
嗯?聽起來像恭維我,我決定就當成是恭維吧。如果我不能跳得很優雅,至少可以彬彬有禮。但后來我脫掉鞋安靜地坐在自己屋里時,他的話一直縈繞在我的腦海。我開始覺著那些話有些言外之意,使我想到了幾個問題:

Do I act blonde? If you believe the stereotype, blondes are assumed to be helpless, shallow, unambitious or naive. Now I know these traits have nothing to do with hair color. Still, something in this idea strikes a nerve.
我表現得像金發美女嗎?如果你相信老一套的說法,就知道金發美女被認為無助、膚淺、要求不高或者幼稚,現在我知道了這些特點都和頭發顏色沒關系。但總會有些東西說到你心里。

Why do I apologize so much? In what ways do I minimize myself and my efforts?
為什么我要說那么多道歉的話?我是怎么把自己和自己的努力說得什么都不是的?

How seriously do I take myself?
我有很認真地看待自己嗎?

In an effort to answer these questions, I promptly dye my hair brown and begin collecting data. I discover that I feel plainer, duller, and more average with darker hair. I also feel more thoughtful, more discerning, more earnest. In the words of Oscar Wilde, "Life is too important to be taken seriously."
為了找到答案,我立刻把頭發染成棕色,開始搜集答案。我發現深色頭發使我感覺自己更平凡、沉悶、普通。我也感覺自己更睿智、更有眼光、也更真誠了。正如奧斯卡·王爾德所說:“生活太重要,不容你不認真對待。”

I suspect that what I want is not to be taken seriously, but to feel important. I forget about my hair color and focus instead on the ways I matter. And I define which things matter most to me.
我想我真正想要的不是讓別人拿我當回事,而是要自己感覺自己重要。我不去想頭發的顏色,而是關注自己的重要性。我認定了什么對我來說才是最重要的。

As a result of my burgeoning self-importance, I am better able to recognize those around me who sincerely support me.
由于感覺自己很重要的信念迅速增長,我能更好地判斷出身邊誰是真心支持我的。

Based on my (admittedly unscientific) findings, here’s how you too can identify the people in your life who believe you are important:
根據我的發現(當然不具有科學性),通過以下幾點你也能確定生活中誰覺得你很重要:

They listen when you talk.
你說話時他們會傾聽。

They don't laugh when you tell them a wild idea.
你說出一個瘋狂的想法時他們不會嘲笑你。

They seek you out for advice.
他們向你征求意見。

When they introduce you to someone, they make a point of saying what you do or mentioning your passion.
他們把你介紹給別人時會強調你是做什么的或提到你的熱情所在。

They understand that we're all learning, so they patiently encourage you to begin again, and again, and again.
他們明白我們都在學習階段,所以會耐心地鼓勵你一遍一遍地重新開始。

They don't mind when you occasionally step on their toes.
你偶爾踩到他們腳時他們不會介意。

They love you no matter what you look like.
無論你什么樣他們都喜歡你。

Back on the dance floor, the same man grabs me again. Three months have passed and I have advanced. I finally know the steps and can hold my own.
再去跳舞時,還是那個男人邀請我。三個月過去了,我已經有所提高了。我終于知道怎么跳了,也能控制自己的步伐了。

"Okay, now you've got to work it," he says. "Give me some attitude."
他說:“很好,現在你可得努力了。讓我看到你的態度。”

I smile, not missing a beat. He's right. This is seriously fun.
我笑了笑,沒有跳錯一個拍子。他說得對,跳舞真的很有趣。

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