#111: The Dance


Today I’m going to discuss dancing, the process of dancing, and what it’s like to dance. Today (the day I’m writing this, not the day it’s published) is the day of the junior high, upper school dance at work. When I was a kid, school dances were huge events featuring fundraisers, raffles, food, drink, loud music, and lots of forced and uncomfortable socialization. That’s what being in school as a kid is mostly like, actually.

Being a bit of a class clown myself, I loved to draw attention to myself as a kid, knowing that it would be mostly positive because I was young and full of energy. People would applaud me for being brave and outgoing, when in reality, I did it because I liked to please people (and still do, ultimately). I danced at weddings all over the place, taking over the dance floor with terrible, god awful renditions of the cha cha slide and cotton-eyed Joe. This is who I was, and it almost feels weird to look back on that self, knowing who I would become in the years to come.

When I was much younger, in junior high school, I liked to dance at home to the songs I liked. Not frequently, but occasionally. I remember learning how to dance from Dance Dance Revolution, actually, because the game taught me that just moving your legs back and forth a lot can bear resemblance to a dance if you try hard enough. And I was initially pretty good at that game series, especially the Mario-themed one for the Gamecube. I was also a fan of Rock Band and other rhythm-based games, but unfortunately I never really succeeded in becoming a musical artist. Being a teenager is all about trying new things over and over, hoping that something sticks, but very few things did. Especially not dancing, now that I’m much older than then!

#96: The Sleepover

animal cat face close up feline

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have a sleepover coming up with some of my good friends, and it’s time to write about it. Another wonderful, positive aspect of my life.

When I was especially young, I loved having sleepovers. They were something to look forward to during the week, motivating me to make it through school and karate and baseball because, at the end of it all, I’d be staying up late and playing video games with some of my best friends at home. As a teenager, nothing was better than this. I cherished my friends and kept them close to me, as they were an important source of happiness in my life.

Nowadays, as a more mature (but not entirely mature) adult, I still have sleepovers with friends. They’re not the same, obviously; we don’t gossip about school or play Rock Band 2 any more, but parts of them are similar. The friends are the same, despite the long distance between us nowadays. We buy lots of snacks to fill our stomachs with terrible nutritious value, we bring whatever gaming consoles, controllers, and accessories are necessary to play the best multiplayer games, and we reminisce about old times, even though we are still in our early twenties. It’s never too early to be nostalgic, right? I hope these never end.

Sleepovers help me stretch my hosting muscles, too. Whenever friends visit Stamford, I feel especially motivated to make sure the apartment looks spic and span. They haven’t met Angus yet, but eventually, one of these days, they’ll have the opportunity to have our little old man park his butt in their laps, his favorite pastime when meeting new people. He recently met the family, and I’m excited for him to have the chance to introduce himself to others.

teenaging (updated)

teenaging is when the neighborhood seemed most alive
those days were once spirited and bright,
minutes and seconds passed like hours, and even
the afterlife beyond age twelve had frightened us
from our irresistible capacity for curiosity,
and so i stood atop the roof during daylight,
with my self-abandoned friends and cousins
when there was homework due,
screaming anxiously to be wild and free
for unbelievable causes we’d heard on tv
or read online during bookish weekdays,
or developed as a function of being that age,
the brick walls we created at thirteen collapsed
when we were sixteen and we craved maturity,
the night goaded us, looming dangerously above the blacktop
adolescence brightened the same scenery we’d despise later
the lonely cause of labor brought temporary pain and power
the kind i remember each today and tomorrow
during the era of self-sufficiency
teenaging is when you’re an adult searching for some nostalgic solace
the kind you can’t escape from and seek as a formality
in my dreams it’s the utopian rooftop from the aughts
and the friends and cousins of previous decades together
the ones who joined me in parading down the cul de sac
teenaging is when you’re faceless at thirty in the playground
and you’re waiting for innocence to reappear,
beyond solitary imagination
i remember teenaging because it managed
an unhealthy balance of bliss and sorrow
exposed by suburban parental guidance,
the kind you’d ignore and lambast til the sun fell
and dwell on and suffer from til it rose again
teenaging is when you’re nothing but leaves in a hurricane,
the same storm that grows and grows each year.