This I Believe

Christopher - Carrboro, North Carolina
Entered on October 7, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem
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This I Believe

I believe in dancing.

Not anything you learn in Cotillion, the stuff from Flashdance, or those moves your buddy is showing off across the room. The dancing I believe in is an unconscious expression of self. It is not the result of instruction or a desire to imitate or impress. My dancing is about letting out what is locked up inside each of us: an unrepentant, uncynical dork.

Sometimes my inner dork will come out after a drink or two. At a recent wedding I bowled over people on my way to the dancefloor after the DJ finally relented to my repeated requests for Oasis’s “She’s Electric.” Within seconds I was holding hands with the only other likeminded soul still on the dancefloor, spinning in a highly irregular circle and grinning like a fool. Did I care about how I looked? Well, not until I entered the hotel lobby the next morning.

Other times I can let go with the help of some semi-permeable partition. God only knows how many times I have stage jumped playing air guitar in front of my living room window just as an awesome guitar solo kicks off. And while I might look a little sheepish when I get caught by a fellow driver swinging an imaginary mic stand in front of an imaginary Madison Square Garden crowd at a stop light, it is not because of how ridiculous I look.

If anything I am frustrated in those moments by how hard it is to pore forth that enthusiasm while looking someone directly in the eye. Not that it never happens. One of my favorite memories is of swaying softly with a girlfriend at my first apartment, both of us failing to even notice my roommate walking through the front door fifteen feet away until he coughed for our attention. But with that cough I snapped back from my singleminded focus to the far more common search for approval.

As you have no doubt guessed, what I believe in is not limited to the physical act of dance. In fact, a number of my friends have probably totaled their cars hearing me endorse it, given that I typically veto any evening that might feature a dancefloor. But the same self-edit button that keeps me in the corner with my arms crossed makes me appreciate the times when I can escape even more. And with our minds so fraught with calculation, we could all use more time where we don’t think how to act but instead just act what we think. Maybe it is in giggling in bed with a lover before you fall asleep. Or maybe in taking a principled stand at work. Or maybe, like me, you find that fleeting sensation twirling too fast as a rock star announces: “she’s got a brother/we don’t get on with one another/but I quite fancy her mother/and I need more time.”

Christopher A. Brook