blog

My answer to Pulse

I have only been dancing for a few months. My first real experience on the dance floor was November 5, 2021. That night I was so nervous, I had no idea what I was doing. I felt so out of place.

I had been to a dance club a couple times in my youth. Both of those times I barely managed to get on the dance floor at all. I quickly got off before even one song was done. I felt I was making a fool out of myself. Both times were with friends that were trying to encourage me to dance. But I was a very awkward introvert and the whole experience just reinforced all of that for me.

But this past November was so different. It wasn’t my friends encouraging me to do something I wasn’t really up to, it was the whole universe telling me this is what I needed. I felt like every fiber of my being was saying I needed to do this. So scared and nervous I finally got up on the dance floor around 10:30 pm. At first, I was somewhat self-conscious about what others were seeing. But very quickly I became enraptured in it all, yes this was what my soul needed. I stopped being nervous, there was no room in me for that, I was so overwhelmed by the joy of it all.

Shortly after I initially got on the dance floor I realized this was so very much more than just moving my body to music. It was part of me. It was/is something my soul needs. Dancing feeds my soul like nothing else does. I now go dancing two or three times every week. I don’t hesitate to get on the dance floor, I leap at the opportunity.

But last year a few nights into my new found love a problem occurred to me. I was only dancing at queer bars and queer bars are sometimes targets. I recall that night getting a bit nervous, is this safe? Then I started pondering what could happen.

I recalled the story about Pulse, a hater could come in with a gun. I looked around for a bit where would I go? Where could I hide? Being very analytical and knowing a little bit about firearms I quickly came to the conclusion, no. There wasn’t much of anywhere to go. The place was commonly very crowded and I was most commonly in the most crowded space with only a few small exits.

If some one came in with a gun in that space there would be very little hope of surviving. Maybe if you were toward the back you might be able to get out before the bullets hit you. But as likely you would get tripped up in the panic and not make it. For a few moments, I was terrorised. Is this a safe place to be, I could die.

But in that thought was my answer. I could die, if such an event happened. But I will die some day, I hope that is a long way off. In that moment while I was scared about the possibility, but also enraptured in the joy of it all. Not just the dancing but being with my friends and the place and the pure beauty of it all. In that moment I had my answer. I would die in ecstasy with my friends, doing that which feeds my soul liken nothing else does.

In that moment I realized if such a thing was to happen it would only be the end of this phase of my existence. For at no other time am I more alive than when I am dancing and everything is right. And at no other time am I more certain of the fact that there is something more than this thing we call reality. And at no other time am I more certain that I will continue on in some form.

And in all of that, I found the strength to say NO to hate. I will not let others’ hate control me. I will not let those that might choose to do us harm control me. I will live the life I have been blessed with. I will live it to the fullest, with my friends and family and the beautiful queer community I so love. And if some day such an event happens I will continue on, and in the moment of the change, I will know that I didn’t let hate control me. That I stayed strong with the queer community. I stayed strong in love.

blog

Beautiful People

person holding multi colored heart shaped ornament
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

For me, if the Pride Weekend had a motto it would be Beautiful People. Above all else, that is what made it so very special, like a slice of heaven on earth.  

I had considered trying to share everything I did at Pride, but that was a lot, and I think the message would get lost in the details.  So instead I am going to share the things that touched my heart and made my first Pride, out as the true me, an exceptionally special one.  

Pride started Friday night as I walked to the capital to join the rally & march. Along the way, I saw a number of others headed to the capital or just relaxing at home as they clearly celebrated Pride in their own way. I wished all of them a Happy Pride and got smiles and responses back. The joy in their voices and faces was so beautiful.

When I got to the capital I just wandered around enjoying all of the beauty. Then I found my spot, a pedestal next to one of the sets of stairs. The music had started and this was, to me, a great place to dance. I had a great view of everything; the podium where the speeches would be, the lawn where so many beautiful people were relaxing, the grand stairs heading up to the capital that were still filling with more and more people. So I danced to the music as I enjoyed the sights.

Somehow after the speeches I ended up being one of the dozens of people who helped carry the Pride Centers’ huge Pride Flag. I never mind helping and it kind of felt like an honor to get to help carry it. The march started, but we didn’t. After a bit, it became obvious that we were to be the last group moving.

Finally, we started moving, but to the side instead of forward. There was a need to get us and the flag in the right spot before moving. There was some confusion about where we were supposed to be moving. We all moved to the left but then had to move a bit to the right. You know like getting that big couch in just the right spot. But after a little back and forth, we got the flag in the right spot and were moving down the steps.

It was so exhilarating. I felt so blessed to be part of it. We marched down the street in unity of heart. As we marched cars would honk to cheer us on and we would scream back cheers. It was one of those amazing moments where you feel if everyone could just experience this, we could end all wars and solve the world’s problems because we would all be focused on love.

Next on my list was the midtown block party, which I walked to. As I got closer I could hear the music and crowd. The line to get in was huge. It was nearly a city block long. My friends and I got in line and chatted as we waited. It took a while but it was well worth the wait.

The stage was huge and the dance area was packed, just the way I like it. What made it very special was that my favorite DJ, DJ Naomi, was DJing that night. The love in the crowd, the joy in the dancing, the beauty of it all was just overwelming at times. I was there until 1am dancing and occationally taking breaks to chat with friends. I walked back to my hotel with my little gay heart so very full and happy.

The next day it was time to check out the Pride Festival. There were so many venders and fun things to see, eat and check out. But again the thing I enjoyed the most was the people. Everyone expressing their individuality. Everyone saying Happy Pride in their own way. Everyone with such joy on their faces and in their hearts. As I wandered through the booths, I commonly stopped to comment on someone’s beautiful presentation or chat about some queer topic. It was so wonderful being in a place full of love and acceptance.

That night I got a very special treat. I am good friends with the people at Club Verse, and they allowed me to dance on their big stage for a bit before the next act. That was amazing and definitely one of the biggest highlights of the weekend. I still don’t entirely understand why I so like being on the stage. Most any bar or club I go to if they have an empty stage I am on it. But I have never been on a stage this big with this many people. It was fantastic. Dancing and abosorbing all of the joy in the crowd, with the beautiful Wasatch mountains in the background was such an amazing experience.

The next day was the Pride Parade of which I missed a lot of it. Unfortunately after being up very late dancing two days in a row, my body was saying it was time for a break. I ended up sleeping in that morning. But the time I got the the parade route it was mostly over. But what I did see was great!.

Then I got an unexpected treat. Since getting to SLC I hadn’t had any good coffee and by then that was becoming a need. Remember I am a former Seattleight, we take our coffee very seriously. So as the parade ended I got out my phone to look up a coffee places near by. To my suprise one option was Encircle Cafe. I had no idea Encircle had a cafe. Get coffee and support a great cause, wow!

So I headed to Encircle Cafe hoping they were open and had good coffee. I had never been there before so I had no idea what to expect. The place is wonderful, bright and welcoming. So I orded some coffee and wanted to see how it would be, it was great!. So yes great coffee that supports a great cause. In fact it was so good that I stopped by there again on my way home the next day.

My first out Pride was all I hoped for and more. I chatted with so many peoaple, my social butterfly wings enjoyed soaring. I met up with friends and met new friends and just love it all. I don’t know how many times I cried because I was so overwelmed by the love and joy of it all. Such beautiful people, such a wonderful experience. I feel so very blessed.

blog

My Life Motto

Do you have a life motto? I doubt it; I didn’t used to. I think most of us just make our way through life without such guiding perspectives. The fact is I didn’t choose a life motto, it found me. I have been living by this motto for a while now, but it was only the other day that it became clear to me when I verbalized it at a climbing class. Right before doing a somewhat scary task, I said to myself “Fuck it, I’m going for it!”. And there was a very clear thought behind that, “Because life is too amazing to let the small shit stop you from living“. But it didn’t start at the climbing gym.

The first time I can remember having this attitude was the first time I went dancing, only a few months ago. I had this huge list of reasons why I shouldn’t get on the dance floor. I was terrified. But I was more terrified of never even trying, of living a life of never knowing what if I had tried. So finally I thought to myself, “Fuck it, I’m going for it!”. That moment, that determination to not sweat the small shit: people looking, my poor dancing skills, etc., so changed my life. I now dance multiple times a week for hours and hours.

Some time later I was in a grocery store and they started playing one of my favorite songs. You are not supposed to dance in a grocery store, was the initial thought going through my head. But it was a great song and my soul so wanted to enjoy it, so finally I said “Fuck it, I’m going for it!”. I have no idea what people thought, and I don’t care at all. I had a blast shopping and dancing along the way. I have since then decided ‘the world is my dance floor’.

A couple months later, I was at a dance club and felt the stage calling me. I kept thinking the stage is for performers. I am a decent dancer now but certainly nowhere close to professional. But for some reason my soul wanted to be there, I still don’t totally understand why. So finally that night I said, “Fuck it, I’m going for it!”. It felt so right. Now I just jump up onto the stage as soon as I get to the club. If there aren’t actual performers on it, I will own it.

Back to where I started. I wanted to join a climbing group because I knew it wasn’t safe to climb solo. But I also wanted to join a group I felt accepted and safe in which for me meant it needed to be a queer goup. The one I found is filled with people far younger than me. I could have let that stop me. But for the most part I believe you are as old as you let yourself be. So rather quickly the conclusion was, you know, ‘Fuck it, I’m going for it!’. The group is great. Now I am out climbing two or three times a week, and loving it.

There are many other times where this motto has enboldened me to move past my comfort zone and live my life. To jump out and do that which others are still pondering. Becasue to me, we are here to live, not just exist.

So don’t let the small shit stop you from living. For sure we all have our limits. I am not going to try to pick up a 200 lb barbell because I know that is way beyond my ability. If you have anxiety or other issues, you need to honor that part of yourself and take care of yourself. But don’t let the small shit keep you from enjoying life, from living.

  • Does it really matter what others think, or do?
  • Does it really matter if you are good at it or not?
  • Does it really matter if it is the ‘normal’ way?
  • Does it really matter ….

The list goes on. We play these excuses in our heads all the time and in so doing we cheat ourselves out of the life we could be living. If it is a real serious issue consider it, but if not.

Fuck it, I’m going for it!.
Because life is too amazing to let the small shit stop you from living 

PS: any one interested in some t-shirts?

Uncategorized

I want to die on the dance floor

No, I am not suicidal. I hope to live many more decades. Yes, at my age I think in terms of decades. To be specific my goal is to live to 120 years old. I have special reasons for that number, you can ask me if you want to know. But that is just a hope, none of us live forever.

Some day I am going to leave this realm we call reality. Of course, most of us can’t choose that moment. And I don’t know that I would want to if I could. But if I could choose the activity at the moment it happens it would be dancing.

For me, as is for many others, dance is so much more than moving your body to music. It is an experience that involves all of me, to the depths of my soul, overwhelming my identity. If dancing isn’t so for you I don’t know that I can explain.

Maybe the simplest thing to say is that I am never as alive as I am when I am dancing and everything is perfect; the music, the people, the place, the spirit of it all. In those moments I am connected with the universe and the infinite. In those moments I am invincible, my soul would simply be added to the infinite. In these moments I am already in heaven, I am emersed in it. In these moments I cry so intensely because this vessel I call my body can’t absorb all of the joy.

I hope I have thousands more such experiences before the final one. In the decades to come, I hope I can share this joy with many others. I hope I will continue to grow and learn as the years go by. That the person I am down the road is even kinder and more loving than the me of now.

But when the road comes to an end, I want it to be a dance floor full of beautiful people and music. Maybe at 120, I am in a wheelchair and my body can barely move, but my heart is soaring, as I join in the dance with you all. And when I soar into heaven don’t feel sad for me, dance with me as I will be dancing in heaven.

Uncategorized

A Place to Dance

As most of you know my favorite place to dance, The Sun Trapp, is temporarily closed due to a legal issue. For many people that would just mean a lack of nightlife options. But dancing isn’t just something I do for fun, dancing in the right environment is so beyond fun, it feeds my soul.

So for me, there is a real need to find another place that works. But I wasn’t sure what all that required. At first, I thought that just meant a dance club with a good dance floor and a good DJ/music. I found that at another club, but that didn’t help nearly as much as I thought it would. I enjoyed the dancing, but it was missing something. It was missing the crowd of happy people. Oh, there were others there, but at no point were there so many I would call it a crowd.

Finally, I was told about a new queer bar, Milk+, that had just opened. So I checked it out. It is fantastic. I went both Friday and Saturday night. I was on the dance floor with very few breaks from the time the DJ started at 8pm till he finished at 2am. This place fed my soul.

It had all of the magic ingredients. They have a large dance floor and a great stage that I enjoyed dancing on. They have huge speakers to pound out the music. They have food all night, and with healthy options too. They have great DJs to keep the tunes going. But I think most of all they have that wonderful queer crowd I so long to be part of. Dozens and dozens of happy gay people dancing the night away. It was beautiful.

So I have a place to dance now, I don’t have words to express how important that is to me. Since the Trapp closed I have felt like I am starving to death in a desert. Now I have an oasis where I can survive. Yet I still so very much want to see the Sun again.

Milk+ is fantastic. I am so happy they are there but they are not the same as The Sun Trap. The Trapp was my second home. It is like the difference between going out for dinner at a fancy restaurant and having dinner at your best friend’s house. Both are going to give you a great meal and you know in both cases you are going to have a wonderful time. But there is that closeness and comfort that you only get at a house with your friends.

The Trapp was that for me and hundreds of other queer people. I miss The Sun Trapp so much, and can’t wait for it to shine again.