Do these stairs go up, or down?

1970_JaguarXKE_FHC_2I have to practice to raise my voice, and I dance best when I dance like someone is watching.

These are two odd examples of contradictory functionality, and I’m not going to pretend to know what it means, just that it’s how I work.

When I’m dancing, I feel like I get energy if people are watching.  If there are eyes on me, I dance better, I dance harder, I dance showier and more precisely. This has come into play when I shove aside the furniture to dance in the basement, because…some of the magic seems to be gone if I’m doing it by myself. It has taken literally years for me to begin seriously enjoying bouncing for bouncing’s sake at home, because I’m so used to it being a semi-public thing.  The energy seems off if no one can see.  Which makes it pretty worthless as exercise–if it’s not fun I won’t do it, and if I half-ass it when nobody’s watching, what’s the point?

As I said, this seems to be changing.  With the nigh-demise of regular dancing spaces and after a couple of at-home dance parties with fabulous friends, my brain seems to be starting to accept the idea that yes, home is a viable space for bouncy release as well. This is a good development, a you-can’t-take-the-sky-from-me moment that frees me from feeling dependent on whatever club is playing the stompy, cathartic stuff I need.  As long as I have a basement and a noisy sound system, I’m set, right?

And then there’s the flip side:  when it comes to public speaking, I have to work extremely hard to be audible.  I’m just a quiet person by nature.  I don’t shout and I don’t like shouting.  I attended a self-defense seminar once where the instruction was to practice intimidating an attacker by shouting at them, and I couldn’t do it.  My cat once sunk a claw into my nipple and I made a pretty loud noise when that happened (traumatized us both, I think) but I can’t create barbaric yawps on command.  I have to remind myself to speak up.

To get used to doing readings, I’ve found that singing in the car (alone) helps.  Shouting along with a song seems to help acclimate me to making louder noises (even if they’re drowned out by the music) and thus makes it easier to speak louder when it comes time to “perform.”  So, yeah, in the car on the way to a reading, I’m yammering along to “John the Revelator” or “Shadow Zone” or “Melt” (Stromkern, not Siouxsie) to get my brain ready for noise-making.