i’m lying in the bath listening to ‘what’s a girl to do’ by fatima yamaha. my face is bleeding. i haven’t got a nose bleed, or anything else along those lines- i’ve just been picking at my chin; my cheeks. lately, i’ve been breaking out more than ever before. it’s because i’m stressed, anxious; constantly nervous in a way that i’ve never experienced. this year has been rough on my mental health in so many ways that i never thought possible, and my skin’s been showing it – no matter what time of the month it is, there’s a zit sneaking up somewhere, reminding me of how stressed i feel. even in the most mundane moments, i’m riddled with tension. i’ve been experiencing so much discomfort in my own space that it’s started appearing in physical ways – not just in my skin, but in a bunch of other ways, too. like what i’ve felt like listening to. all i’ve been listening to is disco. and funk, among other things.
i don’t know if my sudden interest in disco (and funk, and house music, and whatever else) has that much to do with my current mental health status. but i’ve been thinking about it a lot, and i’ve decided that it does, because i’m into this concept i’ve come up with. basically, for the last month, i’ve been filling every silence with grooves. i used to only listen to this kind of music when i felt like dancing – like, when i was about to go out with friends and we needed to warm ourselves up. but in my downtime i would always settle back down to quiet music – no matter what, i’d be coming home to joni’s ‘blue’ at the end of the night. but lately it’s not just been my downtime that i’ve started filling with grooves – it’s literally been every silence. i shower to maria kozic, i eat lunch to fonda rae, i fall asleep to duran duran. i can no longer deal with my own settled in, quiet time. i can’t wind down because i’m constantly looking up another website to stream hours of disco from (this page i scoured out here is good). it’s never ending. and i know that the way i’m describing all of this sounds like some sort of living-hell-experience with no silences, but i’ve found so much goodness in this. so, hear me out.
basically, i’ve been filling every silence because i’ve been afraid of being alone with myself – with my mental health all muddled up, i’ve been trying my best to keep the quiet as far away as i can, so i won’t have to listen to myself think. if i let myself think too long, i get stuck – reverberating between my own walls, i feel enclosed and confined by my own brain in a way that feels claustrophobic; like my sense of self starts threatening my real self. if i fill the silences, i can’t hear my sense of self speak – she gets drowned out, so instead, i can only focus on my real self: my physical self. this is the girl you’re seeing; the girl you’re hearing as you’re reading this. she’s the girl you know, and the girl i’m trying to get to know again. it’s easier for me to get to know this girl again if i concentrate on my tangibility; my concrete identity. one of the best ways i’ve realised i can do this is through dancing. so in comes the disco.
dancing in your bedroom is one of the best ways you can learn to inhabit your own body again. i mean, i know i’ve been living in my body this whole time, regardless of where my mental health has been leading me – but when my insides feel like they’re in shambles, i start to feel a sense of disconnect between the whirlpool inside my head and what’s really going on, outside in the real world, beyond me. dancing has been one of the best ways i’ve realised i can reconnect with my physicality; the real world. it’s important to me that these reconnecting experiences take place in my bedroom, specifically, because it’s important that no one else is around to watch me have these moments. i mean, i know that dancing among friends is fun, but in order to re-inhabit myself in the right way, it needs to just be me. me, my bedroom, my disco, and my bad skin. it’s one of the only ways i’ve learnt to be alone with myself, and it’s so much fun. being alone is less frightening when fatima yamaha is keeping me company.
i’ve compiled a playlist of what i’ve been grooving to lately. i recommend you listen to it in your bedroom, with you and only you. listen in on 8tracks here.
all my love,
(PS. we’re compiling a video that will go with this post. it’s a homage to bedroom grooves – if you, or anyone you know, resonates with experiences of dancing alone, feel free to send a clip of you dancing to lucky star by madonna to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to see yr moves!)