My company participates in this program where we get paid little mini-bonuses for wearing work-sponsored pedometers and taking steps. Something about having healthy, active employees and saving on insurance costs? IDK, but I love free money – so I have of course been wearing it on the regular and taking all kinds of superfluous steps whenever possible because in the back of my mind I’m always like, Dude, you can wait for a parking spot that’s twenty feet closer to the Cheesecake Factory Vitamin Shoppe, or you can take the crappy space, burn some calories, and make a extra buck while you’re at it. WHAT’S IT GONNA BE, FATTY?
(Then I cancel that last thought out because calling myself fat is a result of fear-based thinking, and I’m so over fear-based thinking, and have I mentioned that I’m super fit?)
Anyway. This past Saturday, I strapped on my pedometer along with my favorite pair of Banana Republic khakis and attended a charity event at my alma mater thrown by my one of my best friends.
It was freakin’ awesome for three reasons.
- I love supporting good causes – especially when supporting a good cause involves going back to the school where I lost my virginity, thereby leading me into a whole self-reflective, forgiving, aware-of-my-incredible-growth-over-the-past-seven-years space. (So basically I love supporting good causes when I get to remove the cause itself from the equation and make the experience all about me… This could be the mark of a horrible person, but I’m not going to go down that road.)
- There was a MASHED PO-TINI BAR. This involves martini glasses, mashed potatoes, and a heart-unhealthy selection of toppings (sour cream, bacon, cheese, chili, shame, etc.) – like a salad bar only more delicious and with a corny pun. Mashed po-tinis are amazing, and can we make them a thing like, immediately? #mashedpotini.
- It was a loving, healing, and just plain ol’ fun time. I saw old college friends, danced to big band music, and witnessed an a cappella group sing the best song ever – “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey, obviously – which was cosmically perfect because it just so happens that we’re about to have a cicada season in Connecticut.
If you don’t know about cicadas, then (one) I envy you, and (two) they are loud, gross-looking bugs that only emerge every 17 years and wreak havoc for two weeks until they die again.
The last time we had cicadas, I was eight years old. It was 1996 and I was obsessed with Mariah’s Daydream album. I distinctly remember watching the video for “Always Be My Baby” and wondering where all the cicadas were in the woodsy, marshy area she seemed to be so comfortably frolicking in. (I was pretty much an eight-year-old version of the Wendy’s “Wheeere’s the beef?” lady, except I was all “Wheeere’re the cicadas?!”)
So for the past week, in anticipation of the locust-like creatures, I’ve been going on nightly after-dinner walks reflecting on my early years and listening to “Always Be My Baby” while paying honor to my inner child. So when the a cappella group randomly chose to sing that song of ALL songs on Saturday, it was one of those incredible moments that would seem like no big deal to most people but to me was most definitely God being all like, “Whassup Nic?”
In short, this event made me feel all kinds of love. And I’ve been feeling all kinds of love all the time lately. And when I’m feeling all kinds of love, I kind of just want to dance. So I did something crazy on my way home that night – I stopped at a gay club.
I sat in the parking lot for two minutes before going in, telling myself that I was there for one reason only: to shake my groove thang. No expectations, no need to seek validation from anyone, no irrational ego-based fears of being judged – just me standing – make that dancing – in my truth.
And I did it! I held it down on the floor song after song, having my very own self-loving private party – except totally in public. It was kind of the best thing ever.
Interestingly enough, it seemed that my whole loving energy field actually drew people to me, most of whom I shared only a brief moment or two with until deciding that I wanted to keep rocking out on my own.
Then there was this one handsome gentleman who kept making his way back to me despite my noncommittal demeanor towards dance floor location. I finally just embraced his energy and we communicated in this crazy, wordless way that I kind of knew was probably only sexual on his part. Still, I was willing to overlook it in an effort to view him as the innocent child that he once was (this is a fun game I’ve been playing with everyone I meet lately… it’s especially effective with mean people). My mind wandered, and I found myself wondering where he was during the 1996 cicada invasion.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he tried to kiss me. While the old Nic would have probably been like “Scooore! Maybe we can get married?” I decided to be the new Nic in this moment. [KEY CHANGE ALERT!]
I politely turned my head,
coughed laughed, and yelled to him that I was “just here to dance, but you’re really cute!”
It was the truth. I wasn’t there to make out with random dudes; I was just there to dance – and, in a broader sense, to love myself.
And so that’s what I did – step by step, one step at a time, 10,000 pedometer-counted times. (Cha-ching!)
*This is a photo I found on a bar’s website from many years ago. Look at baby Nic being all intense and dance-y! Also, the year was 2010. Do you love how warped my sense of time is?