the human experience

we found it.

our friend matt usually hosted dance parties at his place.

but driving to this party, tali and i realized it was in the lounge of some apartment complex close to campus.
but i mean, the ambiance was cool; there was a sort-of deejay and a decent lighting setup and a lot of fog machine smoke.
okay, cool.
buuuut it turned out to be filled with sweaty super-dooper young undergrads, just like i feared when i realized it was this particular apartment complex.

but we walked in and greeted matt.
then i scanned the medium-sized room.
nope, didn't know anyone.

------- 1.5 hours earlier, 7:30pm -----

it was called the "i love humans party" and i had no idea what to expect.
but talisa always hosts good parties, so i figured this would be great.
honestly though i was feeling atypically antisocial.
so while the small group talked and laughed and flirted,
i grabbed my sketchbook and continued a drawing i had started earlier today after work,
waiting to go car shopping.
my first drawing of 2015.
(if you're an artist, you'll know this implies my total artistic slackership thus far....)

as the party progressed, i remembered it's national handwriting day.
as customary in much of my art, i figured i'd throw a few words in there.
(thanks, blog, for creating this need....)
so i started to add interesting phrases i overheard while everyone talked.
it was actually pretty fascinating to see how all these mid-late 20-somethings interacted with each other.

------- 3 hours earlier, 4:30pm -----

i had been car shopping last week as well, but this afternoon i went with a friend who is an experienced car-shopper, to meet another a friend who works at a car dealership and wanted to show me some of the vehicles they had.

honestly, i was wary. i didn't want to stress a friendship over a car deal, and last week i got another car dealership guy breathing down my neck. as in, calling and emailing me more than i talk with my parents.

------- 3 hours later, 7:30pm -----

soon after i started to add words into my drawing,
the group started a game:
someone pulled a question out of a hat and asked someone else in the room to answer it.
simple enough.
i figured with everyone being inundated with trivia crack recently, it'd be some sort of live action version of that.

but one of the first questions caught me off guard.
as this was a "i love humans" party, it was:

what makes humans, human? 


someone answered,
"i think what makes humans, human -- is our imperfection."

that was...strangely comforting, as well as the short discussion that followed.
kind of cool.

next question,

what scares you the most about humans? 

answers surfaced like,
"our ability to choose" and
"the fact that we can hurt each other".

as i continued to draw, my ears perked like i was some sort of golden retriever.
(do golden retrievers ears perk? i don't even know).

next question:

what fascinates you most about humans? 

suddenly this started to sound like a party to fit my somewhat pensive mood.

and the discussion ensured:
"we are connected to each other."
"the complexity of the body."
"the resilience of the human spirit."

on and on we discussed these salient points, and i started to get excited about something.
life, maybe?
the joys of being human?
maybe just general excitement because these are perhaps my favorite conversation waters in which to swim.

time went by and i drew some notes and contributed when i felt.
by the end, i felt a little more full,
like i do at the end of all really good heart-to-hearts.
and i had already had one earlier today, surprisingly at work, so i felt happily intellectually satiated.

------- 15 minutes later, 9pm -----

on the way to the dance, 
we saw the moon. 
just for a few minutes, 
but it was incredible. 
a tiny, redish orange sliver. 

i was so glad to have someone there to experience that sight with me. 

------- 1.5 hours later, 10pm-----

not knowing anyone has never stopped me from dancing before. 
so of course, talisa and i went wild.

we had already warmed up, actually, inside her car before we walked in.
which was actually a really important primer to the experience which happened next,
and just as important was the human conversation just previous.

really quick,
an aside:
i love dancing. i think i've established this.
and sometimes i'm okay at it, because i've decided to not have as many inhibitions as i dance.
but usually i'm at least somewhat thinking of how to make the moves i do look...sort of cool.
(this is like...awkward confessions, round one.)

but as i started to move with the music in that dingy little room,
i was reminded that i didn't know anyone. and everyone was just....so super young.
but as i continued to dance, it really hit me:
i. didn't. know. anyone.

and quite honestly there was 0% of the people i was hoping to impress.
i mean, they were all closer to my nephew's age than to mine, let's be real.
usually i'd feel kind of old and try to enjoy it anyway, even though i know i can still easily blend in to this demographic.

but tonight, i was like,

and you know what that made me do?
dance like a fool.
no, seriously, like an absolute fool.

and you know what?
it felt incredible.

at one point, a kid danced up to me and said,
"so you dance facing the wall?"

indeed, my back currently happened to face the crowd bouncing to the thumping beat.
i smiled and shot back just as fast,
"sure do! when i dance for myself, i do!"

that's when i realized: for me, that's exactly what this was night was all about.

------- 3.5 hours earlier, 5:30 pm -----

to me, car shopping is complicated, and overwhelming.
i mean, so overwhelming that i was going to write how overwhelming it is and got overwhelmed just thinking about it.

but there were so many features that the two friends i was with were so impressed with so i was thinking,
uh...do i need to be impressed with this feature? 
oh yeah. probably so. they are, and they're pretty experienced.....

------- 3.5 hours later, 9:30pm -----

i found myself relieved that none of my friends had showed up to the dance party.
usually dancing is fun for me as i love to help liberate others of their innate shyness on the dance floor,
or i try to make some awesome moves and even though it really is therapeutic it's usually fun to watch others and deviate off of what they do. it's sort of a really fun creative challenge for me. and it's usually about social connection as well.

but not tonight.
nope, tonight this was just for me.
i didn't even want to talk with anyone else.

in fact, i found myself intentionally letting my body respond however it felt according to the music,
and i encouraged it to dance more stupidly than normal -- by a ton, but naturally -- because then:
people wouldn't have the physical space to judge,
wouldn't have a chance to talk with or try to hit on me (c'mon, it just happens at dances, you know?)
and wouldn't have a chance to try to compete with me.

because i didn't notice them.
i was too fast, too wild, or too in my own world for all of those things.

in fact, most the time my eyes were closed
or i was looking toward the ground.
it helped me stay grounded; it helped me connect with the music more.

when i looked up,
i would get distracted by other people's moves
and forget to focus on my connection with the music.
and man, i was grinning.

it helped to have talisa there
because she was doing the exact same thing.
and halfway through the dance,
we both noticed we felt the exact same things.

it was liberating. so liberating!

------- suddenly, in my head -----

the features my car-savvy friends thought were cool are totally cool. 
does that mean i need to be impressed by those particular cars? 

do i have some cool dance moves?
sure do. 

do i need to dance those moves at dances when i kind of don't feel it, because it's sort of expected of me? (really because i expect it of myself)? 
sure don't. 

do i need to prove myself to anyone else? 
actually no. 

do i know some pretty cool people? 

do i need to compete with them? 

------- back at the party -----

facing-the-wall boy was back, and he had some pretty funky moves. probably. i never really looked up to acknowledge them. i didn't need to compete with him. 
i did notice that he danced closer and closer to us, and the closer he got, the further i got. 

partially because i had become adamant about not letting this night be about impressing people...or being impressed. 
which sounds absolutely jerky. i know. 
but i just needed this for me. 

and partially because i was thinking all the above thoughts in my head and processing. it was so great. 

tali and i decided that we'd pick one last song and then dance on out. 
as we quickly, stealthily gather our things (only a jacket each; we'd left our phones and all else in the car), 
wall boy gathered his. 

so we danced out at a random time during the song, 
then completely booked it outside, laughing the entire way out.

we hope that wall boy knows his moves are great
but we just both desperately needed this for us. 
besides, if he wanted to mingle, ifyaknowwhatimean, we'd just have to tell him we're 6-8 years older than him, soooooooo......

------- the car, 10pm -----

we raced to the car and blasted music. 
i mean, blasted. 

and we continued our dance party of two, and sang and danced our little hearts out. 
rather, our upper bodies -- our feet were kind of stationed where they are, being in a car and all.

on the way home, there was a great song that came on, 
so we stopped the car and danced on a somewhat deserted road overlooking our entire city. 
just because we could.
and then we hopped back in the car and continued. 
just because we could. 
and because we were cold. 

back at talisa's, 
we talked about how liberated we felt. 

how lucky we are
to have these experiences. 

these discussions and these dances.
really, by letting ourselves just let go, 
we're learning to love all of ourselves. 
and that's so important if we can ever open ourselves up to love someone else, 
or let someone else love us. 

------- 45 mins before -----

as i danced, i thought, man. 
i'm freaking 26 years old. 
i could have been a mom by now. 
and what kind of mom would be dancing so stupidly at a college party? 

then i thought, 
um....a cool one, duh. 

i absolutely want to encourage my children to dance all the time. 
if they like dancing. 
i'm not going to force it upon them as punishment 
(though that'd be kind of fun....). 

i want to have dance parties with my kids. 
yeah! i can do this.  
when it happens.

and as i focused on making sure i was true to my high-spirited, dancing self, i thought, 
someday i'll have someone who won't judge me, 

someday i'll find someone who will catch up to me. 
someone who won't compete with me, but will dance with me. 
someone who won't ask me to slow down* but we will run together.
someone who won't just deal with and ALL of my sides (as introverted/exhilarated/extroverted/ridiculous), but will love and encourage them! and encourage me to develop them. 
someone to whom i can do all that for as equally.

tonight i was too fast, too wild, or too in my own world for all of those things in a literal sense.
and it felt good just to be me

in general, i see myself as too much and other times not enough, too fast or too slow, too wild or mundane, too in my own world or too concerned about the worlds of others for things to balance out.

but i'm working on it.
and i'm living a very human experience. 

------- 11pm -----

on my way home from talisa's, 
i saw two deer, just still against the mountainside. 
i also turned up the music 
and i sang as loud as i could. 
i mean, really loud. 

with the owl city dude,
i'm trying to make myself believe that planet earth moves slowly. 

but man, it moves. 
i parked. walked to my door. 
and before i did, i stopped to admire the stars --
i love that i can see them so clearly where i live. 
this earth is incredible. 

------- now / 3 hours later -----

i think i will just look at the floor and focus on being where my feet are. put my head down and go to work. and then dance like everyone's watching (because they probably are). and i won't care, and it'll feel great.

*by "slow down" i don't mean i shouldn't slow down in my life or on my calendar. i promise you i am very aware my schedule is overbooked. i promise i know, and i'm working on it.

1 comment:

keviN said...

some of the surmising thoughts there remind of this song i thought i'd share. because i like it : https://soundcloud.com/neosonix/there-u-r