I started a post a couple weeks ago that was also tentatively titled “How to Keep Moving.” It was two weeks after the election, and I was still reeling but trying not to. The post ended up being about the hours and hours of Ink Master that I watched, and it turns out that I have lots to say about tattoo reality competition shows. Too much for a post that’s supposed to be about how I get my shit together post-election.
So here we are. (Don't worry, the Ink Master post is on its way.) The election was a little over a month ago. I’m trying to regain my balance. Things are not back to normal. It’s not business as usual. I'm trying to figure out how to live in this world, how to live in uncertainty, how to live in darkness and still have purpose.
I recently wrote in an email thread to some friends, “The only things that give me hope these days are little babes and fluffy animals.” This is true.
I forgot to add that a good pop song can save me on a dark day, if only for as long as it lasts. It's something.
And because I'm a sharer and unashamed of (the broad range of) my music choices, I'm going to share the bubblegum pop songs that are giving me some life right now.
I'm going to kick off the jams with an adorable young man named Jordan Fisher.
I don't know where Jordan Fisher comes from or what he's done in the past, except play an adorable nerd in Grease: Live! (please, do yourself a favor and never watch it). (Seriously. Just watch the actual Grease.)
I DO, however, know that he is now here to make jams like this one and make me feel like the world is worth dancing in again.
Oh my god, I know. Major Lazer and Justin Bieber??? But seriously, this shit is so good. When you add MØ to the mix, and the badass dancers in this video, you can't tell me that you're not going to turn this shit up in your bathroom/bedroom/living room/kitchen and dance like the gruesome twosome were never elected to office.
(For those of you who are like me and find that looking at Justin Bieber's face makes you uncomfortable, you have the green light to click play on this video. This video is pure Icelandic landscapes, fireballs, and badass dancing. No JB required.)
So, M introduced me to Javiera Mena. He was obsessed for a real hot minute. He would play her album any chance he got, and he created a Google Play radio station that was based on her music. I'll admit, I was a little begrudging about liking her, which is weird, and I don't know why my initial reaction to her was
when inside I was actually like
but I'm here now. And converted.
If you have not found the joy that is Lizzo and Caroline Smith -- please, enjoy. Listen to this when shit gets rough, and when Caroline sings, "I wish it was easy trying to work like a boss, but they keep shaking my patience," feel the validation flow through you and know that you are not alone.
YES, FRIENDS. If you thought for ONE second that I would leave out the latest Bruno Mars jam, you're out of your damn mind, and you also don't know me AT ALL. (YES, is Bruno these days just straight up biting off the great artists of the past or is he paying homage? I DON'T KNOW. M and I disagree about this every time I put on a Bruno Mars song, and the reality is that we'll never agree, and does it really matter? (Yes, it actually probably does. Kind of?) You know you're going to get your ass on the dance floor when this shit comes on, regardless. Just go with it.
Yes. I'm throwing in another Jordan Fisher jam. It's older, but still so good. I think this song is a breath of fresh air, M says it's mediocre. I don't even know how we're getting married.
I'll end with Janet. This is certainly not the Janet I grew up with, but she's still a badass, even when she's not being her usual super sexy self. But we could maybe argue that she is still her usual super sexy self -- she's just...different. I love her past self and I love her current self. Let's not overthink it. Let's just enjoy.
Oh no, wait. Just kidding. Bonus track. I want to end the bubblegum pop with something a little savory, a little salty, and a little sweet. I adore MØ because she makes these songs that lodge themselves in your heart/ears. They're sweet with some grit and some salt. They're pop songs, but they make me want to burn down the patriarchy with lyrics like, "I'm a symphony of the world gone wild."
In conclusion: dance. Dance whenever and where you need to. Dance when you're getting ready in the morning or when you're getting ready to go out. When you're standing at the bus stop or in your car at a stop light. When you're walking in to work. Dance as you cry. As you make dinner. When you take a shower. Dance with your love. By yourself. With your friends. With a stranger (with consent, of course).
Dance because you need/want to stop thinking and just feel. Dance all those feelings out -- the sadness, the anger, the despair, the frustration, the desperation, and everything else until you're left with nothing except the music guiding your good and powerful body.
We're in this shit storm for the long haul, so dance when you can to what brings you joy.