08 March, 2012

Dancing in the Dark


(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.


  1. Haha I can't dance either. Sometimes I drink and then something somewhere inside me thinks that I can, but I am just too awkward to dance. One of my P.E teachers at school once described me as 'Bambi learning to walk'. I just do not have the grace for it sadly!


  2. I'm not such a great dancer either! ;) But, when I read your post I see that the dance is important for you... I feel sorry for you! :( But, I know you gonna be a super great dancer some day!!! :D♥ xx

  3. First: that first picture is beyond awesome.

    Second: I think everyone has some aspect that they (irrationally?) cannot stand to do. For some people it's dancing, for some it's public speaking, for me it'd have to be team sports. I used to love soccer when I was a youngen, but now I can't help but think "I suck at this! I'm bringing the whole team down! EVERYONE HATES ME!" whenever I play. Do I suck? Quite possibly. But it's more likely that I have this raging insecurity about it, for some unknown reason.

    I can't offer any words of wisdom about how to fix the problem...I guess just be comforted in the the fact that it's a normal part of being human?

  4. I cannot dance either. Funny part, I wrote about dancing with a drunken guy at a bar today..which is almost the same as you. I normally go for the "white girl point and wiggle the hips" dance.

    I want to dance like Effy as well. OH DID YOU HEAR THEY CANCELLED SKINS?! Damn Channel 4!

  5. Great post. I do like to dance, but my husband feels the exact same way as you. We went to a wedding this summer and he was such a trooper to sway next to me. :)

    I definitely think the key to good dancing (or feeling like you're a good dancer) is a dark room. :)

  6. Wow, I laughed at the whole, "not being able to swing hips magically" comment about Mexicans. I think as a little girl I did it at family parties, and then as I grew up and got immersed in other cultures, I felt really odd trying to vigorously move my hips side to side. But it's true that they try to teach you, as if that's not even more humiliating! I like going to 60s clubs a lot though, because that dancing feels a little more natural to me. You could hop, or just shift your feet. Weirdness is definitely accepted. Fun post!

  7. lol very fun post. I cant dance but i love to dance. when the music comes on i start shakin it up.

    Paolina Alexandra Russo

    Check me out!

  8. Everyone dance! Just don't think too much and let it happen.



  9. I know exactly how it is! I too, come from a hispanic family whom always are forcing me to do the kiss of death that I don't want to be bothered with. But unlike you, I'd say I have rhythm. I was actually a dancer growing up. You think you can't dance and you feel that terrible stupidity while moving but don't fret, just look at the person next to you. Chances are they feel the same way, even if they CAN dance.

    I love how you tried to dance alone, that's so badass. Put on your favorite song, or the silliest, and go nuts! YOU CAN DO IT. "Sí se puede" ("Gotta Kick it Up", Disney channel reference, yes!)!

  10. I can't dance either - probably because of the good Asian girl blood in me, haha.

    I love the idea of dancing by yourself. In the dark. That's just so bloody cool.

  11. Your hair is lovely. I always feel a bit awkward when it comes to dancing too!

  12. Desde pequeña me ha gustado bailar, y creo que es una de las únicas cosas en al vida en la que he sido constante, bailo acostada, parada, sentada, bailo caminando por la calle. Nunca he aprendido ningun estilo, bilo lo que me gusta y como me gusta; dicen que bailo (me muevo) bien. Mi marido dice que soy de plastilina.
    Pero te entiendo porque mi marido es de madera y describe su incapacidad de bailar tal como lo haces tu.

    Girls that glitter love the dark

  13. As always, I love your writing & what you have to say (mainly because I can almost always fully relate). I can't dance either, & judging by the comments above we are not alone. My body is just not programmed to dance, & I tend to dread outings with friends where dancing might be involved. I'm awkward, insecure... it truly makes me miserable just thinking about it. I blame it on the ballet of my childhood. I learned how to be graceful & calculated.. but speed up the music just the tiniest bit & I'm lost & confused. It's not something I generally admit to friends or acquaintances, as people tend to think there's "something wrong" with me for not liking dancing... not even when I'm alone.

    That little rant aside, I am loving the first photo you've shown here! Haha :)

    <3 Shawna

  14. I love dancing in the dark, too. (minus the candles and add the moonlight) haha! that picture of yours is pretty awesome. :)

    Louise xx


Thank you, pal.