Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dance, Dance, Dance

It's Halloween. And what hearing people do for Halloween is dress up and go out dancing. Now, the dressing up part (and the carving pumpkins, and the eating candy) is definitely not foreign to me, but... music? dancing? These are things I've resolutely avoided since those awkward high school days, when I remember standing on the edge of the dance floor, sort of feeling the music thrumming through the floor, but not feeling at all inspired to move to it. Whenever I tried, I just felt stupid, like I was play-acting or pretending to be something I was not. The beat could be vaguely pleasant, but there was nothing exciting, nothing interesting at all in music for me.

Fast-forward a couple of years, to last night. My first time out at a dance party since the CI. I find myself in a dim room full of spinning disco lights and swaying bodies. Yes, I am in costume, as is everyone else. The speakers loom yards away, and my group of friends has started dancing right in front of them. The beat roars, pulses, rushes through my head until I almost cannot think of anything else. It tingles at my feet and up through my spine, more real and alive than it has ever been. But though I step back and forth from foot to foot, I realize that I do not know how to dance at all. I haven't done it before, and though I like the music my body does not know how it should respond. The bass is so heavy it roots me to the floor. I want to stand here and close my eyes and breathe. There's no tingling melody, and I cannot understand the words even though everyone around me is singing along.

Still, I dance. Not well, and often feeling like the song will wrench away and leave me stranded, but dancing nevertheless. Slowly my body loosens up, and although the noise teeters on the overwhelming (if only someone would explain what all this music is doing, what it's saying, where it's going), I find that I'm enjoying myself. I enjoy seeing how the other dancers interact, how they respond to the pulsing beat all around us, enjoy wondering how and why my body wants to move the way it does. I am stepping, moving, and though it feels strange, it is also exciting and new.

For a time, that is. After half an hour, my pleasure is ebbing. Everything at the dance club has suddenly become too much: the heat, the bodies, the light, and above all this music rattling through my head. My long-deafened brain can't take it anymore. Overstimulation is looming, and gasping I yell to my friends (thinking all the while, if only they signed, I wouldn't have to yell) that I'm done, I'm going out.

Weaving through the crowd, then outside into the cool night air, I reach up and rip off the magnet. The tension in my head releases as the CI dangles loosely in my hand. Ah, yes. Let there be silence.

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