It's Pretty OK
Solving the paradoxes of our time since 2016

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We're Dancing, Right?

In this basement, my phone is a touchscreen to nowhere. I have no cell service, so I’m simply passing a Narragansett tall boy between my hands in advance of a crystalline space cadet.

This is a bad time for someone who worries. I worry less now, though.

Maybe I’m not good at concerts, specifically before a show begins - so I’ve been told. It’s accurate. I’ll say that I am excited, but it seems better to show excitement than to state it. It’s one of those things where if you have to ask the question, you know the answer. What a pathetic concert companion that makes me. Of course, I am genuinely excited; I’m just not an excitable person.

I suppose I could be more expressive. It’s the remnants of the worrying. I have reservations about myself, as I assume most do, and the flashes of unedited self that burst forth in moments of excitement dissolve my sense of control.

I couldn’t tell you when or where I decided that that was a bad thing.

Anyway, the perfect time for excited anticipation is as part of the jangling chatter that accompanies pre-show background music. Alas, I’m currently alone, so I’ll continue to sway with my can, staring blankly at an empty stage and considering the times I could’ve - or should’ve? - shown my appreciation through excitement.

Maybe moving from swaying into outright dancing is the answer. I’ve been dancing more of late. Well, that’s not exactly right; I have been doing the closest thing my body will get to dancing.

I don’t know where it came from, either. At first, I thought it was just “liquid courage” in action. Then I started doing it sober. Now, I almost look forward to it, though there is a lingering hesitation to show excitement - some unidentified fear that it will all come crashing down and I’ll get outed as even more of a fool than my friends and acquaintances already know me to be.

I recognize that’s a ridiculous thought. It’s not mature or admirable to quash a genuine feeling in favor of a more comfortable artifice. There is nothing wrong with unspooling occasionally. That seems to be what excitement is. Everything in moderation, you could say - including moderation itself. Dance sometimes, as required - and make no mistake, concerts require (immoderate) dancing.

It seems the dancing and dissolution of my worry are perhaps indicative of a new comfort, a contentedness. It’s an exploration, like a package without a note or return address that is nevertheless lovely [Editor’s note: Not to rain on the parade, but that package has anthrax in it.]. The only way to thank the sender is to enjoy it.

But it’s also a challenge.

Stop, I’m waiting for someone to say. You’re being an idiot.

I’m waiting for someone to call me on my shit. There are few things more impressive than someone incisively calling you out. As the embarrassment (or anger) fades, you can’t help but grin at how well someone has to know you to do that - and more often than not, it comes from a place of love.

I think those voices exist in my life, ready to call me on my shit. The problem is figuring out when the right voice comes along - and, more importantly, realizing you want to hear it. I may acknowledge the ones that I hear most frequently, but they don’t necessarily change my behavior.

That’s not to say anything disparaging of the voices present in my life now. That’s just my self-trust issues talking. I’m extremely selective in terms of who I’m willing to share my imperfections with, but I know that those are the kinds of people who will deliver those biting criticisms that hide a note of genuine affection under the acid.

So I settle into my content. I dance exceedingly more, and worry exceedingly less. I have accepted the expression of something resembling happiness as a good thing, whether at a concert or otherwise. But all the while, I’m waiting for someone to call me on my shit. I’m okay with waiting; the right voice is worth an immoderate amount of time. I’m excited, but I don’t want to express it too much.

There’s no guide that I could Google to expedite the process - even if there were, this room doesn’t have service anyway. So I continue swaying, passing that Narragansett tall boy between my hands, staring blankly at an empty stage and considering the times I could’ve - no, should’ve - shown my appreciation.

-Pierce Bishop