Danced in the living room with my roomie last night. We rocked out to Ultra Spank, a band I'd never heard of until she introduced me to them. Enormous fun and lots of semi-blasphemous dance steps. I showed her some square dance moves while Ultra Spank shrieked, then insisted she lead us in a conga line. There was even a bit of scary disco thrown in. Don't get me wrong; we did the obligatory grunge stomping and head bobbing too, our sweaty, soaking wet hair flying everywhere. Rage music and guilty pleasure guffaws. Glorious.
There's something about just going crazy on the dance floor that's marvelous and freeing. When I was a teenager, I'd run out to the park in the dead of night whenever there was a thunderstorm, whirling and dancing with the lightning, drinking rain water as it cascaded down my cheeks, slipping and sliding in the wet grass as I leapt. It was a cleansing, a purging of the soul, a way to lance all the emotions twitching within my fleshy frame, giving them an outlet.
In my fourteen-year marriage, I allowed all my emotions and free spirit leaping to be slowly curtailed by my control freak husband, until there was very little left of the spontaneous, passionate creature I had been. He said he found me "too emotional, too sensitive, and too boisterous," as if there were something uncouth and crude about my passion. Being an insecurity addict, I bowed to his judgement, even though something inside me knew it was wrong. In doing so, I lost myself. My own son once screamed at me, "I watched Dad fucking you up. Day after day, he fucked you up and now you're fucking ruined and I FUCKING HATE YOU!" Strange how, in the insecurity addict's mind, what they try to do to please everybody ends up pleasing no one and earning only contempt. Unless you love yourself, few others will, either. It's like we give off a stink, a pee-yuu of misery and self-loathing that the rest of humanity can pick up like a bloodhound. That includes the predators of our species too. There's nothing more delicious that a suicidal piece of pretty meat. Like the bite of a komodo dragon, we leave a trail of scent that attracts anybody bent on feeding. We were beaten as kids? We draw abusive brutes, both male and female. We were molested? Pervert noses positively twitch when they catch a whiff. We grow so used to attracting only the horrible and equally screwed up that we think that's all there is. That's when death begins to look so damn good. At least it's quiet and only worms are eating us. There's a creepy satisfaction even in that.
I wish I could claim to have had a sudden epiphany; that I looked at my husband and realized he was terrible and I was going to be noble and leave him. It was far less impressive than that. The high school counselor called my house and told me of my sixteen-year-old daughter's very serious thoughts of suicide. Again, the blindness of my insecurity put my own children at risk. When you're as miserable as I was, you're consumed by your own suffering and don't see the forest for the trees. You think everybody else is okay or at least not as much a mess as you are. Ego and self-loathing are trademarks of insecurity, and they lived inside me in equal measure. So I have my two children, my daughter Rhianna in particular, to thank for opening my eyes as to the absurdity of our situation. I got us out. Ten more years of cleaning up the hellacious mess of four decades ensued, but clean it up I did. I'm still cleaning it up. I always will, although the pile is nowhere near as towering as it was. Now, I simply keep an eye out for any squish piles of memory shit in the corners and even the occasional dust bunny of self contempt. It's like cleaning your house. A constant but not so terrible maintenance. And oh, what a difference a little room in my mental home makes. There's space on the dance floor again and I've begun to twirl and leap once more. What a beautiful, unexpected blessing after such a long time of being such a miserable whiner. May you all find your dancing shoes and strap them on. My God, it's wonderful to have fun again. Go put on some head banger music and have a hoe down. A delicious mix of rage and silly two-steps, and a balm of healing as well. Roll up your sleeves, get out the scrub brush and mop, and take care of yourselves.