Getting Down Tonight (Last Night)…
I spent the evening at the fair with my daughter. We are fair people. We go every year and we go to almost every concert. She usually ditches me to run off with her peers, which is fine. I am happy to wander the grounds like Templeton the rat, searching not for scraps of food or paper, but people, animals or exhibits that make my mind engage. I can wander through the photography exhibit twenty times and see something new each time.
The other night when I went, I read the poetry. The very real and sad poetry of young men, who are so very lost, thrown away by society, their families and now locked up by the system. Off to a hard start before they have really even begun. The poems were reach outs. They were delicate words on a page that belie the deadly earnestness with which they were written. Drug addiction, homelessness, abuse, neglect. They were not, not a single one of them, flowery poems of young love. No, they were old poems that leaked youth all over the carnival floor.
They haunt me still. I feel the need to reach out to these young men, be a lifeline. To tell them that their words, and lives touched me. To let them know to keep writing, that it can and often does save you. And taking the time to enter your words in the county fair just might change your life.
I love that the fair is this complex assortment of peoples. Young, old, poor, rich. There are all kinds of peoples there. And we all just mix, and exist and sometimes even dance together.
Last night it was disco night, KC & The Sunshine Band. So much fun. SO MUCH FUN! I loved him in the 70s and I love him more still. And boy did he deliver! It was a great show, very true to the genre and the flair of the 1970s. And I was transported back in time to when I was a young girl, in my hip hugger jeans, dancing around the roller rink, spinning round and round, singing all KC’s songs, skating, dancing and just enjoying my life. It was a sweet time for me. And last night was no different.
It was fun to watch my daughter take in the music, the show, me and all my antics and dance moves. She stood mostly and danced only when I forced her to do the bump. But she smiled and was present for most of the show. And when she left about 2/3s of the way through to go meet friends and ride rides, I was grateful that she felt comfortable enough to ask for what she needed, and also grateful that I felt comfortable enough to stay and dance and get my groove on. I did after all, wear my boogie shoes.
I danced for 1.5 hours straight. And I was a kid again, rocking out to disco music in my bedroom, spinning around, turning in my child body, with thoughts about all the adult things being sung about. Them all being largely theoretical. Wondering if I would ever fall in love, have sex, experience heart break. When I began listening to the music, I was a kid with a kid’s life. So much hadn’t happened yet. And at the very same time, so much had already happened. So much that would color the rest of my life. It was present then, but it was so far away even as it altered my life, my experiences and my trajectory.
Last night I stood in the crowd and no longer wondered about the experiences of adulthood and how they might manifest in my life. I have fallen in love, had sex and gotten my heart decimated. Those things are all familiar to me now. No longer question marks in a looming future, instead relegated to a distance (and not so distant) past.
Last night I was transported back in time, back to 4th grade, the roller rink, the looming adolescence that would almost take my life. And stood still in a time where I was not yet struggling to survive, instead existing in some sort of pre-adolescent gap that provided me one final feeling of safety, security and self love before the onslaught of my teen years that would almost take me out.
I was grateful for the energy, for the music, for the vibe, for the love and the show. I was grateful to be a 52 year old woman, dancing in the crowd, recovered and recovering from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. A woman fully grown, but always maturing, getting her groove on, next to her teenaged daughter who stands on the cusp of all that almost killed me. And for a moment, it was all good. All the trauma and drama and near death experiences. For a moment, it was just her and I and the music. We danced together, swaying back and forth and I was healed. And I like to think that maybe she was too.
Music soothes the soul, and the body. And I believe, at least for me, that some of that sunshiney music last night healed a part of me that I have long forgotten, and brought it up to real time and today and allowed me to have a different experience of my youth. I was not always a frightened, traumatized child, sometimes I was just a girl, dancing to the music, feeling fine in the skin I was in. The moments were separated by at least four decades, but I was the same. The core me, she was still there. No longer the young girl in roller skates, fearing and desperately praying to be included in the couple skate, but now a grown woman, a mother, feeling comfortable, sexy, and present for my life. I was with myself, much like I was in 1979, in Leavenworth, Kansas as I sailed around the rink, waiting for life to begin. The times totally different, but me, the person inside, largely unchanged.
So we danced, we grooved, we got down. And I was redeemed again by music, and fun, and being present for my life. And I got to do it with one of my most favorite people on the planet. And that’s the way I like it!