I never thought dance music could amount to anything more than pit stains and a long, cold shower. But I was wrong. There is a certain practicality in dancing to techno. Sometimes desperation can be the wisest of teachers.
School that day in November of my senior year was a disaster. I recall coming home with a huge chip on my shoulder. It may have been a fight with a classmate, a failure on a test, or something far less worrisome, but if there’s one thing I remember, it’s this: I was ticked.
After dinner I took my laptop into the bathroom, locked the door, and put on the fastest, most upbeat techno song YouTube had to offer. Before I could talk myself out of it, I started to dance. My emotional side instantly protested, “This isn’t right! You’re supposed to be angry!” I ignored it.
For what it’s worth, I was not a very big fan of techno. Maybe it’s because I’d never given it a chance. But my limited knowledge of the genre did tell me one thing. It’s nearly impossible for a techno song to be sad and depressing. And that night in the bathroom, that’s exactly what I needed. It felt right.
I’m a little glad I can’t dance. If I could, I’m afraid I might have realized the absurdity of what I was doing. Flailing about in the quiet confines of a bathroom is not the sanest of activities. But I’d be hard-pressed to think of a time where I’ve felt more alive.
I came out of the bathroom inspired. Just as important, I was happy. Was it really that easy? Can the difference between moping around and laughing myself to sleep be one or two stellar techno songs? The answer is yes.
But beating bad moods is only half of the story, I realized. Wouldn’t it be just as great—perhaps even better—to create feelings? I decided to give it a try, with different styles of music. I popped in some Jefferson Airplane and to my delight, became a visionary from the 1960’s. I played some Bob Marley and felt passion for a cause. John Mayer showed me true love. The Beatles taught me to dream.
Each time I do this, I experience what previously seemed impossible and learn something novel and exciting about myself. My limbs aren’t flailing to techno, but it sure feels like they are. Who knows if I’d have ever had these kinds of feelings had I not gone out and made them for myself.
I’m not saying we should always ignore our bad moods. A lot of times we need them, and it would be foolish to blow them off. But it’s usually the little things—those that won’t matter a month, a week, a day from now—that trouble us. It’s a full-time job keeping up with them all. I’d much rather be dancing to techno.
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