Last Saturday Doctor Bombay and the Atomic Bachelor Pad were headlining the official Cincinnati Comic Expo after-party over at Mainstay’s. It was supposed to be the triumphant return of Ginny Tonic. I haven’t danced with Doctor Bombay since April and I have missed it so much. Being able to call myself a go-go dancer, even if I always say it slightly tongue-in-cheek, has become a big part of my Ginny Tonic identity since I started doing it last year. Plus I love the band and have missed my partner in crime Lola-tini a huge amount. Kristen and I had been selling comics like a couple of geeked-up fiends all day at the expo, and we had an evening of roller derby, drinking and dancing ahead of us. What could possibly go wrong?
Well as many of you may know, a lot can go wrong in life. Especially in that accident-prone intersection where hearts, human-frailty, and wishful-thinking come together. Sometimes the best laid plans just don’t work out and you find yourself hurting people you love more than anything in the world. Sometimes you get lost in your own pain so much that you end up inflicting more pain on the very people who want to help you. Sometimes love by itself isn’t enough to fix a problem no matter how hard you try. On nights like that you can feel alone even in a crowded room. You look around at everyone having such a good time and you feel like an alien. Suddenly walking outside and leaving it all behind without a second glance seems like the only thing that makes sense.
That was the position I found myself in Saturday night. I couldn’t stop crying and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Crying in public is awful, but crying in front of rowdy-drunk comic fans is even worse. I knew there was no way I could possibly get on stage and try to smile my way through the evening. I knew I was letting my friends down and ruining their evening. I knew that I had to do something to try to make the situation better but every direction I turned seemed helpless and bleek. So finally I was left with a choice. I could go home early, leave my friends and go cry by myself like a normal person. Or I could stay and try to work through the pain on the dance floor.
I decided to stay and dance it out. I have been a very lucky individual my whole life. In addition to having had a wonderful family, plenty to eat and a life free from abuse, neglect, crushing disappointment or even a major traffic accident, I have also been blessed with good friends, an abundance of love, and a chance to experience true happiness. I’ve always known the bad stuff was out there and, even though I’d been lucky, I never forgot that it could come for me at anytime. When my moment came, I had often wondered how I would handle it. Would I become bitter and cynical or would I be able to find the tiny shards of joy mixed in with the grit and the dirt? Saturday I decided to try to find the joy. I forced myself to smile and started to move. I danced, I hugged, I spun, and I cried. I danced while the tears slipped helplessly out of my eyes and tried not to let anyone see how bad it was hurting. And the things is, I probably wasn’t the only one doing the exact same thing. My pain was real but it is self-inflicted and superficial compared to what other people in the exact same room were not doubt going through. So I am glad that I stayed and danced it out. I didn’t feel happy when I left but at least I felt alive and connected. So the next time you find yourself crying in the middle of bar don’t feel like you have to hide in a corner. Come see me and I’ll give you a hug, buy you a shot, and take you out on the dance floor.