Evolution of Self Esteem

Zootz Dance Club
Zootz Dance Club | Source

Dancing

The bass is seeping through me like a drug. It is dark and loud and sweating bodies gyrate around me. I am a cat, searching the room for just the right prey. I laugh and run my hand though my sweaty, short hair. My hair is short spiky hair when most everyone else has big hair. I feel superior to them.

I've come alone, looking for no one in particular, just someone who sets their sights on me. And then I'll make it hard for them, laughing. My black t-shirt with the picture of Billy Idol is already considered vintage. The blue in Billy's outline matches fashionably with my jeans and manish, black buck shoes.

I love it when the strobe light flashes; it's what I imagine the 60's psychedelic drug trips are like. My hips sway and my arms move rhythmically. I am an insider. I look down on the crowd of beautiful stupid girls who just came in, they belong at the Bounty. If I were the bouncer here I would eject them on their pretty asses for sheer un-coolness. I look around Zootz, it’s packed and I'm full-on dancing, lost in the beat, the dark underbelly of industrial music. The same girl that crowds me every week comes closer to me, invading my space. I move my arms more widely, hoping to wound her with my vintage, cut glass bracelet; I call it my bitch bashing bracelet. I don't know if I strike her, but she and her long hair that whips stinging in my face move away. I catch the eye of the handsome guy I've never met, never talked to, never danced with, and close my eyes and sway in my own universe. It's like this every week. And then I go home.

Chopping Wood

My father and I cut wood on a strikingly clear, cold day. I love the smell of the chainsaw and watching my father patiently file each blade. I wear my big leather gloves and bean boots, waiting for him to cut the tree into pieces so I can haul them to the trailer.

My mother is back at the farm baking apple pie from the Wolf River tree down the path and Vermont baked beans, with maple syrup and a big chunk of fat back. She is getting ready for the gang that usually drops in for her food. She’s known in many circles as the “Hostess with the Most-est.”

Wallflower

The gym is darkly shadowed, only the DJ on stage is visible when I walk in. I'm tentative, wishing I was a small night bird so I could fly away. Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle” is thumping, echoing in the cavernous gym. I look around; eyes barely adjusted, and see some of my girl classmates in tight little groups on one side of the gym. The boys are mostly on the other side and no one is dancing.

I'm not sure which group of girls will let me in and protect me; which boys might ask me to dance. I want to dance, even if it's a Molly Hatchet song. Please someone ask me to dance.

Montana

I'm spending the summer with my brother. He lives in Montana, in the boonies, with his wife and two little kids. It's the longest summer of my life. I don't know what I'm doing here.

My mom and dad come for two weeks and the stress is ratcheted up. We go to the bison ranch and my mother scolds me for wearing a long denim skirt with a t-shirt. I should be wearing shorts, she said, ”How come I'm not wearing shorts like a normal kid?” It's like 100 degrees but I'm not going to wear my shorts.

My sister-in-law takes me to see the movie TESS. It’s unbelievably long and we come back late. My mother hisses at me in the dark hallway, "You've snuck out drinking, you’re a slut!" It's not so much the words but the hissing that scares me. I hate my brother. I start throwing up that summer.

Exotic Cousins

My cousin Marc is living with us this summer. He's older than me and so handsome. He wears clogs and bell-bottoms and his hair is in a Jew-fro – he listens to Reggae music on our stereo. He laughs all the time, speaks American English with a hint of a French accent. He's full of so much energy I think he'll burst!

We ride the tandem bike to the garden plot three miles away to pick carrots and tomatoes and peas. I hold tight to the basket while he does the work, peddling up the hills, carrying us both with his strong legs. I'm in crush.

MY Place

I love it when the strobe light flashes; it's what I imagine the 60's psychedelic drug trips are like. My hips sway and my arms move rhythmically.

I am an insider. I look down on the crowd of beautiful stupid girls who just came in, they belong at the Bounty. If I were the bouncer here I would eject them on their pretty asses for sheer un-coolness.

I look around Zootz, it’s packed and I'm full-on dancing, lost in the beat, the dark underbelly of industrial music. The same girl that crowds me every week comes closer to me, invading my space. I move my arms more widely, hoping to wound her with my vintage, cut-glass bracelet; I call it my bitch bashing bracelet. I don't know if I strike her, but she and her long hair that whips stinging in my face move away.

I catch the eye of the handsome guy I've never met, never talked to, never danced with, and close my eyes and sway in my own universe. It's like this every week. And then I go home.

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Comments 2 comments

sligobay profile image

sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

You are an excellent writer and present a true mozaic which may have benefitted from a few photo or video images. Dance is the common thread which creates the seam of this fine patchwork quilt.


mbwalz profile image

mbwalz 4 years ago from Maine Author

Thank you for your feed back. These were the few images I could find from my dance era, it being well before the digital era - :-)

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