Monday, November 17, 2008

On Feeling Alive

This past Friday I helped host a school dance. I was more or less dreading this after the ungodly displays of affection at the prom last year, but it ended up being pretty innocent. A few of my students created their own dance and tried to get as many people involved in it as they could. At one point they had this massive circle that was so packed, people had to push and squeeze their way into it. A lot of students, namely boys, played dodge ball and Guitar Hero. Ping pong boy, from a previous post, challenged me to a game of ping pong, since tables were set up, and soundly beat me. He said I wasn't that bad though (he may have just been trying to be nice).

While watching the students on the dance floor, and sometimes partaking, I got an old familiar feeling I used to get when I was in high school and college. "Dance Floor Anthem" came on. The kids started jumping up and down to the song, and I felt it instantly. It was the need to feel alive.

Obviously, we're all alive, thinking and breathing. But there are moments in my life where I've desperately needed to feel it. This often meant committing some rash act that may or may not have endangered my life. For example, I needed to feel alive, so I pierced my ears three times at once. I needed to feel alive, so my friend and I chased every large wave on the lake in an attempt to flip over her jet ski.

I saw this moment in a more touching light on Friday. The kids danced to the song so close, moving against and around other people, touching their hands while they were reaching up in the air. They needed to feel alive with each other. It wasn't the kind of feeling that made me want to remind myself that yes, I will indeed die some day. It was the feeling that made me want to bond and connect with someone else. They wanted to know they were alive together and share this moment. Years from now, the same need will probably be felt during long car rides at night, or watching a fire works show huddled on a blanket.

I've felt this when I've listened to a familiar song as if it's the first time I've been introduced to it. And I don't mean hearing a song. I mean, really hearing a song. Hearing a song that I connect with and understand so well that I think for a moment I may have written it because it captures my thoughts and understanding of the world at that exact moment. I think, whether they recognize it or I'm just crazy, my students experienced this. They connected with a song and each other. They felt alive together.


  1. Wow. I think this post takes the cake in terms of eloquence, nostalgia, and conviction. Nicely done.

    When I think of middle school dances, I think of paranoia over sweaty pits and doing the YMCA. That's about all I've got.

  2. I don't know about cake, or even what middle school is. I know what cake is. I liked your blog.

  3. Yeah, when I think of middle school dances, I think of David, the boy who got angry at me because I wouldn't kiss him and feeling far too geeky to be present at such an event.