✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
(Or, the really sad story in which I explain the reasons I am physically incapable of dancing.)
I came to a really sad conclusion a few nights ago.
I am unable to dance in my own room.
There’s this thing I like to call the “Prom Malady”, which is a very interesting thing—it’s shown when you’ve decided to be honest with your closest friends. See, I’m prompted to dance quite a lot. It comes with being a Mexican, I think—once you’ve arrived at the party you’re invited to, that’s when you’ve made the first mistake…you’re available for teasing. Once the people get bored, some cousin you like to pretend you tolerate will say, “No pues, hay que bailar!” And they’ll go through the trouble of going to their incredible Mary Poppins-style van and get their extensive amount of speakers, stereos, and never-ending cables. Then the music breaks out, and you’ve smiled and nodded (second mistake), and someone nods towards the outside, where your other cousins have already started dancing. You put your hand up to wave them off (third mistake) and they take it and pull you to your feet and you say “No, you don’t get it—I don’t know how to dance.”
And I don’t—it’s not something I’m proud of course, but I wasn’t born with that gene everyone else in my family has where they can magically sway their hips and move from side to side rhythmically. The “Cool Mexicans”. (If you’re Mexican and can’t dance, either, I mean no offense, in fact, we might just be a cooler, unique type of Mexican?)
Anwyway, once I’ve said this (“I don’t know how to/can’t dance”), that’s when I’ve made the last and most terrible mistake. This, why didn’t I see it coming, leads them to say “That’s okay, I can teach you.”
People try to make so many excuses for me to make a fool of myself in front of them. This is where the “Prom Malady” comes in—whenever I try to explain that my brain is literally unable to make my body dance, people will say “Who can’t dance?” or “Yes, you can,” or “Don’t worry, I can’t dance either,” which is, of course, a lie, once you see everybody not making a fool of themselves at school dances or at parties or at random dancing that occurs during the day. I may be, in fact, the only human being out there that is able-bodied but unable to dance.
I thought that there must be some solution to this. People can dance. There are different cultures around the world with their own style of dancing that surely appears strange to everyone else in the world, so there must be some culture’s dancing I can adopt. I, unfortunately, could not find anything that made me not feel unpatriotic or like a poseur at the same time. I tried Zumba, too, because I figured that if I can’t dance like a Mexican at the Christmas or New Year’s parties, then I might as well be disowned. I’ve even tried spinning in circles until I’m certain I don’t remember where the door is in the room. There is no movement that my body makes that could remotely be considered correct dancing (and don’t even go there: “there is no right kind of dancing, it just is!1!” No, if I feel like an idiot, then I’m not doing it correctly.)
After desperate racking through my brain, I thought there was one last thing to attempt. And, I’m going to allow myself to be vulnerable on the internet, I did attempt it—I tried dancing by myself in my room. With all the lights off, so I didn’t even have to look at my reflection or even my shadow.
And, let me tell you, there are many moments in my life where I have to remind myself “Don’t hate yourself too hard, don’t hate yourself too hard…”, but there are not so many moments where I have to hide underneath my covers to make sure I don’t scream into a mirror or a pillow, aroused with anger.
I couldn’t do it.
I imagine there is a certain amount of lack (oxymoron?) of self-esteem that leads you to hate the things you do so much, you hate the way you dance even without looking at yourself.
For now, though, my one goal in life is to be able to dance like Effy Stonem. (Dubstep music not necessary.) One day.