You Can Dance If You Want To

The last couple weeks have been a mishmosh of sad, uncomfortable, infuriating, and just plain exhausting. I’m still stunned by the death of Robin Williams. I can’t put my finger on why exactly his passing has hit me on such a profound level – I suppose he’s one of those actors you expect to grow old with – but it has. Why is it that those who tap the rest of the world in to a seemingly bottomless well of happiness and joy often seem to do so at their own expense?

The events in Ferguson, Missouri are, sadly, less stunning. I hate that, though. I don’t want incidents like those that have occurred to ever be normalized or predictable so I keep trying to teach myself over and over to never be complacent and to keep things raw just so I don’t buy into the belief that this is the world we live in. I remember feeling the same way right after Newtown occurred. You just have to keep things raw. I place a lot of faith in the power of Not Forgetting.

I’ve been following these more-than-headlines from my desk at work, where right now my team is busy preparing for our nonprofit’s biggest benefit of the year, a local music festival where we celebrate the artists and other creatives we serve. In our small but sunny office four of us work, and usually at some point during the day we’ll all have our headphones in, listening to music while we get results.

It was during one of those moments on Monday that Deee-Lite came on my Pandora station. I had just gotten done clicking over from Facebook where there was more bad news abbreviated with people dumping ice water all over themselves in what is probably going to go down as a highlight in the history of Slacktivism. I needed to be reminded of how good the world really is and how sometimes it’s the small things like a club hit from the 90’s that reminds you of this. What’s really funny is that finding joy in these little serendipitous nuggets of life is something I’ve been talking about over the last two weeks at work for a hashtag campaign we’ve been running, but it was only at that moment when that song came through in my earphones that I actually started to believe it.

So quietly, at my desk, I did a little dance.

And for those moments, I was really, really happy.

There are a lot of things that have the power to divide us, but the world is equally full of things that can bring us together simply because each of us has the ability to recognize their goodness.

Music and Love and Compassion and Grace, to name a few.

Those are all contagious.

Share your Delight. It may just be what someone needs to hear at this exact moment.


  1. Today we went bowling at perhaps the sketchiest alley known to man.
    It was a blast. Little, unexpected joys.

  2. gabrielgibilisco · · Reply

    Great article. I wrote one similar! Feel free to give me your feedback :)

  3. That is a happy tune! The good is there, but sometimes it’s hard to feel. So cool that you felt it today, Em!

  4. Great song. God-awful video.
    Dance on.

  5. mmkstarr · · Reply

    Your description of this social movement is quite poetic and creatively skewed.

    I am genuinely interested in acoustics and what my moments during these times have added up to for more than myself.

  6. I love the balance of acknowledged pain at the very saddening events taking place and the contagious hope of desk dancing. I’ve been feeling this pain, and dancing this dance. Brief dancing, grief dancing, yet nonetheless..also-what are the chances we would both listen to Groove is in the Heart this week? Such a random fleeting song from the past! I listened to it on Tuesday. Pulled it up on Spotify. Twinsies!

  7. Share your delight. I like that! 😊

  8. I’d forgotten how great that song is…

  9. NotAPunkRocker · · Reply

    Lots of fun music for first thing in the morning :-)

  10. If you’re happy, dance. And why not? Hubby and I have done it in the shopping aisles, and I did it in the street (ended up on crutches but hey, they were good!) :-)

  11. I so know what you mean. It’s walking that fine line between being so overwhelmed with all the bad shit in the world…and realising it’s acting as a kind of balance for all of the amazing stuff – in fact, I bet if we weighed it, the good would outweigh the bad :)

  12. I guiltily live under a rock, both because I have small kids and life revolves around them but also because I choose to. I am a thinned skinned Pisces who is easily weighed down by the news – which always harps on the negative in this world. Even though that song is now permanently stuck in my head for the rest of the day…I’m grateful for reading your post and a reason to dance around to the catchy, happy tune. Great post, Emily.

  13. Such a great post. I went through something similar over the last 2 weeks and even ended up needing time away. That slide whistle though? That can bring a girl back. :)

  14. Every night before my kids go to bed, I ask them what they were thankful for that day. And it’s always little things. But we need to be thankful for little things, because little things are what fill a life. If we are always waiting for something big to be thankful for, I would imagine life could feel pretty empty. Today so far for me: that I have gotten up to run three days in a row before I wake the kids, “Mary Mary” by The Monkees, steel cut oatmeal in a quiet house, checks to cash at the bank, and “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. Oh, and a post from Em :)

  15. I may just have a playlist filled with Deee-Lite and all the other early 90s/late 80s dancehall hits. Black Box and Snap! anyone?

  16. Dancing is one of my delights, too. (^_^)

  17. Now THAT’s how I dance! Thanks for fueling my groove, Mrs. Em. And thanks for fueling my vocabulary with some incredibly colorful adjectives.

  18. This was truly a bad week with the loss of Robin Williams & Lauren Bacall. Like you, I felt the loss of Robin Williams deeply. I think, because I have suffered with depression most of my life & have contemplated suicide a few times too, it hit me particularly hard.

  19. 1. The Power of Not Forgetting
    2. You just have to keep things raw
    3. Music
    4. Love
    5. Compassion
    6. Grace
    7. Your groove is in your heart

    All reasons why I think you’re awesome.

    1. Working in a small non-profit sunny office with four other people.

    Only one reason I hate you. I work in a small non-profit WINDOWLESS office with four other people. I may soon go insane.

  20. You nailed it right there – “finding joy in these little serendipitous nuggets of life.” I think part of the discontent that we modern people experience that our grandparents didn’t, is that we expect to be happy all the time. I’m not trying to be a downer, but I think we need to keep it realistic or we will be always disappointed.

    Life is fundamentally hard, and what we get are moments of joy.

    1. ps Thanks for that video link. Now I’M dancing at my desk.

  21. Yes, darling, we do need to dance, and laugh and hug. One day in graduate school a bunch of us were waiting our turn to speak to our professor about a statistics paper. Pure hell. The prof’s door opened, and a female student walked out. She was older than I was and I didn’t know her that well, but for some reason I just stepped over and hugged her. Several months later she told me what a bad day that had been and how much that hug meant to her. I try to always remember that in the midst of all the slime in life, we all need those small happy moments.

  22. I’m grieving with you… and dancing as well. ;-)

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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