A Good Party

To me, a good party is a gathering of close friends and/or family because too many people that I don’t know make me nervous. Have a few drinks and chat. Later on in the evening, my friend and I create our own impromptu dance floor in whatever square footage of space we can successfully do-si-do. The three essential factors of dim lighting, Bacardi & Diet and other’s inebriation must be present for me to transform into The Dancing Queen.

So when my brother invited me to a party and I walked into a bright room full of strangers without a bar, I was petrified. From my perspective, the room was filled with trained performers who specialized in all dance genres. They did the Cha-Cha in perfect unison, across a gigantic dance floor. When I inserted my uncoordinated body in the back row, I had never felt so sober. He had brought me to Zumba.

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that I was “banned from Zumba.” At the time, I was employing a literary technique called hyperbole (or exaggeration), which I learned as an English major at the fine institution of UW Madison. The assertion was not a fact but a literary detail that illustrated my character’s musical and rhythmic disability.

I found myself moving in the exact opposite direction of everyone else. I froze, staring at the instructor’s feet and willing mine to the move in a similar fashion. I started to think, “I’ll never learn this” when the Zumba Angel on my shoulder sang to me, “Try harder. You can get this.” A plethora of endorphins replaced worries of being uncoordinated, what other people thought and if this was the “right way” to move my arms. I was no Fred Estaire, but I twirled and giggled for 55 minutes .

I think we have a tendency to put ourselves in concrete. We place self-serving definitions—which are actually limitations—on our personalities, opinions and life situations. We decide, “Yes, this is the final version of me and my life. No revisions necessary.” Without conscious perception of this, outside forces must intervene (i.e. a shift of the earth’s crust, a more dramatic earthquake or a simple nudge from an older brother) in order to feel the heaviness wrapped around us. That first class put a crack in my concrete.

What limitations have you put on yourself? Did you once have a definition of yourself that no longer applies? Please comment below. I’ll respond when I get back from the WAC.

3 thoughts on “A Good Party

  1. In my head, I am still the extremely shy child I was growing up. I have to remember that no one else sees me that way anymore and it’s okay to strike up conversations with strangers and people I’ve just met! Thanks for a great post!

  2. Ryan says:

    Thanks Al. I struggle with this too, and sometimes even take it too far. I see how many revisions I need and how cracked my concrete is. I get upset that I am not yet who I want to become. So my challenge is to seek a balance of effort toward revision and acceptance of being as I am.

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