I’m writing this on Halloween, I’ve been gigging since Thursday, fifth gig in a row.* I do it for the madness. The sheer euphoric high of taking a crowd to a level of shared insanity and joy. I’ll live forever in those moments of connection with strangers. In a way, dance + music is a form of meditation in that you can lose yourself, and step away from your routine thought patterns, and even self-consciousness by just existing, in a heightened state, dancing among fellows and strangers alike.
In the current world, we’re more isolated and individualistic from the tribes we sprang from. A lot of us are searching for our tribe, the one with whom we’d dance around the fire, and celebrate our collective culture and accomplishments. Now, we belong to many groups, families, colleagues, church, fan clubs… but these are not tribes. National identity, political identity, these are all too big and culturally secular to instill a feeling of belonging. This isolation reinforced a need to be a part of something, which many try to satisfy through consumerism. People buy cars based on how other people will view them in the car, rather than for the sake of the car. Music can bridge the separation. I see people come together for a shared experience. They found the sacred fire, among like minded party-goes, dancing away stresses, finding love, through music, the universal binding agent, and I get to be the chief for an evening, beating a drum consisting of the entire history of recorded music, to give people the opportunity to be free in the mind. Social dancing is essential. It is human. After my performances, people will come up to me to thank me for “changing their life” (literal quote), about how much fun they had, and how they can’t wait to go out again. They follow me to chase that high, and I understand, I did that with other DJ’s before I became one. When the stresses of life become too much, they need an escape, and dancing in my opinion, is the highest & healthiest form. You satisfy the need to both socialize and exercise. But there are barriers to entry. There are politics to the dance floor: fear of judgement, social anxiety. People use alcohol to remove these barriers, but this is a mistake, because these are character flaws- that need to be overcome. I used to enjoy drinking, but it’s not good for my health, so I don’t.
When you imagine yourself as the person you wish to be, that person isn’t held back by fear. That person can be you through willpower alone. People want to enjoy shared euphoria of the dance floor, but they don’t want to be the first person to start it. Do you care if you see someone else doing their thing? Of course not. Jump in cold. Be the snowball that starts the avalanche. You’ll find this is a metaphor for your life. Think your reputation will be ruined if you fail? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather look jubilant by myself than be a wallflower among wallflowers.
“Easy for you to say, Parker, you know how to dance” said my friend the other day. I didn’t get over it until I had the validation of a spotlight fall on me, have a sea of cell phone lights pointed at me, and applause from at five hundred people, for the confidence. Even though I had the skills all along. Nothing changed in me. But it was a revelation. I made a resolution to never let fear interfere with my fun again.
It is because I have so much fun, I’ve had a hard time rejecting any opportunity I can to DJ. I love what I do so much, and giving others a way to join in the fun with me, that I’m addicted. Part of it is escapism, and even though I’m sober, but it feels like I’m high. You’d be high too if you had throngs of people coming up to you telling you how much they love you, giving you money, following you around. I had a five day streak, three clubs and two weddings. The emotions were all so high, the tears, the joy, the non-stop celebration, that the next day I felt a crash. Things were normal, but in comparison to the energy the week before, I felt low. I relaxed and recovered, of course, but if I had been able to, I would have taken a gig. I feel as though now I have a better understanding of drug users, as well as that cringy claim of people who espouse to be “high on life”. I am high on life because I live a high life now. And in summary, I guess I’m writing this to say thank you to all the people who have trusted me, to enable them, to feel that joy, and unity with others, and even purpose. Stress reset. Distance from mundanity or routine. I don’t care if this sounds like self over-hype, or a mushroom revelation, because it’s true. There is a connection that exists among all of us, and the dance floor creates a place where we can go and surrender the walls we have built from judgement, hurt, distrust, and focus on the music and your friends. Several people on separate nights have come up to me to tell me that for that night, I took away the pain from a recent loss of a loved one. I don’t think I’ve done anything else that could be more meaningful than that, save for introducing married people for the first time onto the dance floor, and facilitating the moment where I can see the light in their eyes as they slow dance. When asked what superpower I could have, I used to think of answers like flying or immortality but now it would be taking away people’s pain, and replacing it with joy, because I have a taste for it now. I wish I could take away more pain. During the first dance, I know the bride and groom will remember this moment forever, so I play the song out until the end. All these moments in time, I look back on, and am grateful to have been a part of them, and I can’t help but feel love for all of you.