A Funeral for Cool
It started last week when I wore a Guatemalan fanny pack on my walk through my suburban neighborhood with a good friend from back in the day. Look, I told her. I've given up. The end is near. She told me she'd do me one better and get me a fanny pack in cat print. I nearly died. What happened to fish nets, combat boots and stuffing lipstick, keys and cash into our bras for a night of wild adenture? Gone, my friends. Dead.
Another friend sent me the This American Life episode, Choosing Wrong, where author Alain de Botton explains how the bleak, hard despair of marriage is actually good and normal and that on their 10th wedding anniversary his wife wore a black dress on honor of her own Funeral for Hope. We should have a Funeral for Cool my girlfriends and I agreed while sitting together in a Starbucks wearing yoga pants and athletic gear.
This past weekend I went to a women's 12 step retreat in the mountains. There was deep sharing, yoga, a Sensuality, Sexuality and Spirituality workshop led by a beautiful bodacious black woman, a goddess in flesh, who seemed to have not one self-conscious bone in her body. I, myself, have been the tiniest bit self-conscious about dancing ever since coming in dead last in the African American dance class competition in elementary school. This weekend, some of that self-consciousness, the need to stay safe and look cool fell away. I danced around the middle of a large, well-lit room with scarves with everyone else and it was glorious.
On the second night of the retreat there was a three hour block for entertainment featuring a fashion show. It wasn't long before I realized I'd be walking the cat walk...in my cat suit, which I had packed for the weekend, because... of course I had.
When it was my turn to prance into that hotel lodge meeting room, the roars from the crowd were magnificent. I scratched my claws in the air and twirled my tail. I shook my booty and strutted my stuff. Everyone hooted and hollered, including me. Afterwards we had a dance party, and, with not one rhythmic bone in my body, I TORE IT UP. I danced until I was a sweaty, happy blob of goo. I did not care what one other person thought, felt. All that mattered was how I felt. Truly happy and for that night, truly free.
My fanny pack friend, also on the retreat, texted me from across the room where she was dancing with fans and scarves in fancy athleisure. "This is the best funeral I've ever been to," she wrote. And I really had to agree.