Tommy Franklin: “Don’t take sweat too seriously”
A Runtastic Social Media Campaign with Tommy Franklin
The Runtastic team met up with YouTube sensation Tommy Franklin – the “Ambassador of Smiles” – and asked him about his passion for dancing, what makes him happy and why we should all not take sweat too seriously!
But first, ask yourself the following question: When was the last time you danced your heart out like nobody was watching? Most likely it’s been a pretty long time. Dancing is part of Tommy Franklin’s existence. He doesn’t think about, he just does it because he loves it.
© Kevin Rieseneder Photography & Film
Runtastic: Hello Tommy, Welcome at Runtastic, thanks a lot for coming! You’ve been an internet sensation in Australia and a finalist on “Australia’s Got Talent”. For all the people who have never heard about you, who do YOU think Tommy Franklin is?
Tommy Franklin: Well, hello to you too, Runtastic! What is Tommy Franklin!? That’s an interesting and complex though maybe simple question to answer. Ha! It’s strange to write about one’s self like this… I’m a man that walks with a limp though dances with wings. I think I’m just a regular guy who’s extremely passionate, a person that just wants to experience & create joy. I could probably go on a rant right now though I won’t. I think I’ll leave it at that…
© “Flowers” by Julia Rose
Runtastic: There were also some quite dark moments in your life. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and what made you go from this dark place to the place you are now?
Tommy Franklin: When I was younger and in my teens, I was very lonely and confused with life. I didn’t have any dreams or direction and I was quite angry. Drugs were my main source of escaping the pressures of modern day living as I didn’t see any other option. Self-destruction was my main goal; simply to forget about the anxiety I felt towards my future, to forget about the pain of my past and my day-to-day problems. I did enjoy rebelling, “being bad” at times, but it didn’t always feel right and I mainly did it to fit in and to belong to something. It wasn’t until I got hit by a car on my skateboard and couldn’t walk for 8 months that I found those things in a humble little youth group near the place I grew up on the Central Coast in New South Wales, Australia. My mum took months off work to wash, feed and clothe this little wannabe gangster. She found my stash and she threatened to kick me out of home that instant. She was very serious. I couldn’t walk and didn’t want to be homeless. From that day on, I quit the drugs and haven’t been blind drunk in more than 12 years. But I had to find a new addiction as I’m a very addictive person. If I do something, I like to go all out, I don’t really like to do things in halves. To be where I am now, I had to forgive. One thing I know is you will never forget though you can always forgive. I had to decide whether to stay in the cage I created for myself or bust out of it and fly. I needed to cough up my hate, bitterness and rage I felt towards myself and others. I had to be vulnerable. I had to let people in. I had to trust and most importantly I had to cry, I had a lot of pain I had been bottling up for a lot of years and I was tired of “trying” to self-medicate because it never worked and seemed to always cause me more harm than good. I decided to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, as long as I wasn’t hurting myself or anyone else. People were going to judge me regardless. I had to change my mindset; what people think of me is none of my business. My purest memory of joy is dancing with my mum, dad and sister at home when I was really little, like 10 years old or something like that? I knew dancing made me happy, so I decided to take pure happiness seriously and so I started dancing all the time.
© Kevin Rieseneder Photography & Film
Runtastic: So this skateboard accident has pretty much changed your life? Do you have any specific goals for your future now? If yes, what are they?
Tommy Franklin: I have many dreams and many goals, too many to count. No one knows what tomorrow may bring, though I think to narrow it down, I would like to be happy!
Runtastic: You have invented a new workout activity called “DALKING.” Can you tell us a little bit more about it? What is “DALKING”?
Tommy Franklin: Good question!!! Well, DALKING stands for “dance walking.” No offence to you Runtastic, but I’m not a huge fan of running. My body really doesn’t like it. A lot of people may laugh at that comment. No seriously though, I have had many operations in my life. I dislocated my left knee seven times over the space of three years, and the skateboard accident left me with my right kneecap half the width of my left kneecap, with bolts and screws attached.
That’s where DALKING comes in. Put your favourite tunes in and get a full-flow, full-fun, full-body workout. Unfortunately, I can’t run hard and fast like most, though I’d like to think I can dance harder and faster than most. I have also found DALKING is the best workout I can have with minimal impact on my joints. DALKING for me is the epitome of fun, fitness and freedom.
Runtastic: What does Health & Fitness mean to you? How is it related to what you are doing?
Tommy Franklin: I’d like to say a quote that I know all the yogis and gym junkies would agree with me on this one. THE MORE YOU MOVE, THE BETTER YOU FEEL. THE MORE YOU SWEAT, THE HAPPIER YOU ARE. Speaking from personal experience, health and fitness is key to a happier life, and in my opinion, a happier life is a better one. I love eating healthy! I know we as humans struggle from time to time doing the right thing though. I really, really love being fit and healthy. It makes it a lot easier if you want to sweat on the dance floor aka sidewalk for hours on end 🙂
Runtastic: You are a very inspiring person. That said, who or what inspires YOU?
Tommy Franklin: We all play our part, from the cleaner to the CEO. We all have something to bring to the table, no matter how qualified or unqualified you or others deem you to be. We all have gold under our dirt. There was a time that I wanted to throw my life away. The day I didn’t really care if I lived anymore, I almost got my wish come true. As much as I didn’t want to stick around anymore, I’m glad that I did. Strangers gave me happiness, and people came into my life and showed me kindness. Outside of my family, I felt love and acceptance which gave me a warmth inside and sticking around didn’t seem so bad after all. This is what I like to pass forward. To bring a smile. I know what it’s like to be miserable and have a random person put a smile on your dial. My new motto is to change the world one smile at a time. To know that I can be the positive difference in someone’s day is pretty awesome. I could be gone tomorrow, so I’m gonna live it like its my last. This is what inspires me.
© Kevin Rieseneder Photography & Film
Runtastic: If you could give any advice to people who find it hard to let go or to start dancing in the streets like no one is watching, what would it be?
Tommy Franklin: That is such a loaded question. OK, the first thing is that not everyone wants to dance, so you can’t force them to. Second, people think they can’t dance, though if you can cook, clean, drive or tie shoelaces, you can dance. Dancing is simply movement. It’s not all about good movement; it is simply about moving. The third thing is that some people don’t like being looked at!? Like it or not, people look at you the second you leave your house and people continue to look at you and think whatever they want of you, by the way, until you return to wherever it is you sleep. It is you that creates the fear of people’s thoughts in your head, and if people want to yell abuse or say this that and the other, then let them!? Lovers will always love and haters will always hate, but it’s the haters that keep walking and it’s the lovers that are here to stay. (Sigh)
Runtastic: If you had one wish:
Tommy Franklin: For people to work together for a better world.
Runtastic: Anything you want to add…
Tommy Franklin: Find what you’re passionate about and incorporate it into your life as much as possible. Passion should be the engine of your actions. Be real with yourself and others, even if it means a tear rolling down your face. I could say a lot more though I’m gonna stop now.
Thanks heaps Runtastic. See you soon beautiful people. BIGGEST LOVE!
Name: Tommy Franklin
Location: Byron Bay, Australia
Profession: Ambassador of Smiles
Motto: “I want to change the world one smile at a time!”