Once upon a time, in a magical kingdom called New York, in a castle off of 8th Avenue, I was gearing up to take a dance class. As I was warming up, I spotted someone I knew, who was also taking the class. I had worked with him ten years previously, back when I was a teenager, but had not seen him since. I promptly reintroduced myself (shyness is not a personal quality I often broker) and we got to talking about our lives and what we had been doing over the past decade. He commented that I looked more mature, and we laughed about how naive I had been as a teenager.
The whole conversation got me thinking about my last ten years and the scars I had to show for it. Physical and mental, debilitating and skin deep, there were many.
The doors opened and we went into class.
Later, I was watching my prodigal friend dance. It was a fun, sensual and almost silly combination and he was clearly enjoying himself, lost in a moment here, lost in a moment there. Then, something hit me.
Over the past ten years, my friend had probably accumulated the same amount of scars as I had, if not more. Yet, here he was, living his life to its extent. Despite my scars, there I was, enjoying myself just as much. In this realization, I stumbled upon a truism I had never before put into words.
Though our lives often seem silly or even frivolous (at this moment, for example, I was literally watching my friend shake his ass), there is serious grit underneath the glitter. There is serious heartache underneath the fun, but that's what makes the fun important, mesmerizing and even worth watching. Glitter, after all, is actually composed of tiny shards of shaved metal or hard plastic (true story - look it up). If you stand back far enough, it may look delicate or trivial, but it wouldn't look the way it does if it wasn't made of something hard enough to endure assault, or even make scars of its own.
There is serious sadness in what we do. Serious rejection. Serious struggle. Also, life happens. Friends die, families fall apart, injuries sap our determination and we find ourselves broke or broken or both.
But that is why the glitter is beautiful, and, dare I say, important. It is made up of serious, threatening things, that are then redirected into something silly, something joyous and perhaps, something trivial. When we turn shards of metal into glitter we effectively heal ourselves. When we turn shards of metal into glitter, we remind others that they have the same capability.
And so the two prodigal friends shook their asses. They shook them hard and with abandon. And, for a moment at least, they lived the happiest happy ever after there ever was.