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How Lip-Singing in Public Changed my Perspective on Life

During the pandemic, my friends and I realized we had all picked up the same odd, but freeing habit: lip-singing to our music while we wore masks. That’s right. On our way to class, when we were listening to music with masks on, we realized we had all begun lip-singing to our music because no one could see our mouths. We had all become so accustomed to this ritual that as pandemic guidelines changed and masks became optional, we shared a collective anxiety over unconsciously continuing this habit without a mask on.

Ever since the guidelines changed, I have been good about not lip-singing while out in public. I have slipped up a few times here and there, but overall, I had stopped aggressively lip-singing to the “Hairspray” soundtrack while strolling to class. However, recently, while I was out for a walk in London, where I am currently studying abroad, I found myself lip-singing to “Midnights” by Taylor Swift as if I was performing a stadium tour myself. And can I just say—it felt amazing. In fact, I felt such a euphoric rush that my walk turned into a lively skip as I vibrantly lip-singed to the bridge of “You’re on Your Own, Kid.”

After this, I went on to have an excellent day, and it wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized a huge reason my otherwise ordinary day of classes had been so exciting was because I had kicked it off with a personal concert for myself, and for the strangers who saw me. 

Why didn’t I start every day that way? I thought to myself. 

The answer hit me: other people. The reason I don’t usually start my day with a full blown personal concert and the reason that I felt I had to stop lip-singing when not wearing a mask is that I fear the perception of other people, and more specifically, the potentially negative perception of other people. 

I, like most people I know, am fueled by the constant knowledge that people watch, people care and people judge. I understand that this is a narcissistic way to view life, but let’s be honest, only the rarest of people truly live without thinking about the perception of other people. And what for? 

Do you observe other people? Of course! Do you people-watch strangers? Definitely. But, do you remember the little details of strangers, and more importantly, do you hold these little details against them? Absolutely not. If we aren’t judging strangers in that way, it’s safe to say that they aren’t judging us that way, either!

While I am abroad, I have the privilege of being in a city that is foreign to me and therefore, the people are foreign to me, as well. I will never see any of the people I pass on my morning commute or walks throughout London ever again. 

However, when I think about bringing this habit back into my life once I am back at college, I begin to worry. I worry about my friends perceiving me, but I also worry about the friends of my friends perceiving me, or complete strangers who I just happen to pass every day on my way to class. Perception can be absolutely debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Something that comforts me when I am distressed by perception is a morbid thought, but it is this: we will all be dead one day. That’s right. Every person is the same in the sense that everyone one day will die. None of us are special in that regard. Why do I bring this up? Well, the knowledge that we all die one day reminds me that until that day comes, I should enjoy my life, and enjoying life to the fullest means living despite the opinions of others. 

Since I lip-singed the first time, I haven’t been able to stop. Not only when I am walking around London, but I now do it when I clean dishes, get ready and even right now, while I write in a cafe booth. And the feeling has not stopped—when I lip-sing to my music, I feel a little freer, a little lighter and a little happier.

Even if you aren’t interested in lip-singing in public, you shouldn’t let people’s perceptions of you stop you from living your life. I’m reminded of another quote: “Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.” If you’ve stopped doing something because of what people say or think, I’d suggest doing that activity again with this quote in mind. What makes you happy is a valid source of contentment, and you shouldn’t feel the need to find other sources of happiness just because of what people think. And if all else fails, remember that we will all be buried in a grave one day, so make the change sooner rather than later.

I current serve as the Editor-in-Chief for the SLU Her Campus chapter! I love Nora Ephron movies, La Croix, and trips to the library! When I'm not writing, you can find me on long walks and daydreaming about having a column like Edith Crawley.