From my all-time fave, Almost Famous: “They don't even know what it is to be a fan, you know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts.”
I have recently become a fan of a fairly new band called Jack’s Mannequin. Already a huge fan of The Fray, I had been intermittently checking their website for upcoming concert dates and almost fell out of my chair when I saw that they were finally touring on the west coast AND were playing with Jack’s Mannequin at Irvine Meadows (yes, it will always be Irvine Meadows to me, just like The Big A will always be Angel Stadium). And so, I rallied the troops (Stacey) and we went to see the show two days ago.
I found it intriguing that me, a girl with quite possibly the least amount of rhythm in all of Orange County could barely contain my excitement and so, I was forced to tap my feet and even sway a bit from time to time. I said I lacked rhythm; did you think I’d actually even attempt to launch into full dance mode? And then I saw them, two rows in front of us and just a few seats down, two of the most excitable, young, teenage girls I had ever seen at a concert. They were dancing and singing and screaming in their shrill, girlie voices at the top of their lungs, every word to every song. And I, as I had done many times before at many different concerts, should have launched into attack mode immediately, verbally, and even physically mocking their every move. But something was different this time. I started thinking about those girls who broke into hysterics at the mere mention of The Beatles. And then it occurred to me. I think I secretly am one of those girls. I mean, in all fairness, it was never really just a band that got me choked up so much as my intense love for their music, and I could easily see why these girls were so excited. I suddenly realized that all my previous mocking was most likely pointed at myself, at my own inability to just let go and let myself celebrate something that moved me.
I’ve always been so acutely aware of everyone around me, and so terribly concerned of what they will think if I look silly that I fail to allow myself to fully enjoy even the best of shows. Well, short of the Go-Go’s concert before I became so completely self-aware. I’m one of those girls who has to have a fair amount of liquid courage before I hit the dance floor, and by fair amount I mean depleting the bar of its entire stock of Vodka, sprite and sweet-and-sour mix. I refuse to leave the house without a shower. And forget about public speaking, even if I could claim the title of Nobel Prize winner on a particular subject. Let’s face it, I don’t even like opening gifts at my own parties because I can’t stand the thought of all eyes on me. Those things are neither here nor there I suppose, but when it comes to dancing, I don’t think it’s a confidence issue so much as I have no delusions about my inability to move with even a trace of fluidity. Seriously, even that old guy on the Magic Mountain commercials puts me to shame. Now I know some of you could actually bring back the cabbage patch and be labeled “innovative.” I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to my people now. I’m talking to the Ronald Millers of the world, the ones who believe strategically waving both arms above your head for an entire set makes you a pretty good dancer. It doesn’t. And just so you know, mocking famous dances of the past is pretty transparent too. Come on people, you know who you are. You’re the wedding guest who revives the running man and the kid-n-play under the guise of a joke, hoping to fill time on the dance floor until others figure out that you simply can’t dance to save your life.
And so I wonder, how much joy have I missed out on by not allowing myself to get caught up in the moment and just let go? How many times have I restrained my enthusiasm to remain cool and collected? I mean, doesn’t the same principle of, “’Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt,” apply here? And the conclusion I’ve arrived at is this, yes, it is better to remain a wallflower than to be a laughing stock and the subject of many future jokes. It is better to keep some shred of dignity than to deem yourself “that girl.” Don’t get your panties in a bunch, kids, I’m just kidding. No, I don’t believe it is ever a better decision to censor yourself when it comes to passion and your love of basically anything (well, anything pure and honest and legal anyway). Think about it. God does not want us to hide our passion for Him, does He? Doesn’t He desire that we let our light, our love for Him, shine? Does He not ask that I be a city on a hill? And if, in fact, He wants me to express my enthusiasm for Him, His word, His grace, etc. in that manner, why not my love and passion for the simple things in life that He has so graciously surrounded me with as well? Why not stand up and sing or even dance when you hear a song that makes you smile from ear to ear. You know, the songs that remind us of a particular time in our lives, the songs that flood us with sweet memories and choke us up so fervently that we can barely manage to continue to sing along? Seriously, next time you feel the urge to stand up and act a fool at a concert, allow yourself to forget that you are surrounded by thousands of others who will likely point fingers and laugh at your antics and imitate your less-than-smooth moves. Chances are those people are wishing they had the guts to do the same.
Oh, and on a side note to Jack’s Mannequin, now that I know you are originally from Dana Point, I fully intend to stalk you (in a very non-threatening, legal manner, of course) every free minute I get. Your music seriously makes this self-professed Ronald Miller want to stand up and dance.