“Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.” ~ Francis “Baby” Houseman
Best movie quote, in the history of ever? I think so.
Instead of Happy Valentine’s Day, I’m going to say Happy Dirty Dancing Day. Not everyone has a Valentine and I get that a lot of people gag at the mention of the holiday, but everyone has dance moves – even if they are hidden deep in your hips – and everyone can get a little dirty and flirty one day a year.
Dirty Dancing was my first favorite movie. Watching it now, I can see why. Francis ‘Baby’ Houseman is my spirit animal. I come from a blessed upbringing with the kind of financial and emotional stability that I only really appreciate after experiencing other people’s families and seeing lots of episodes of Intervention. My parents have nurtured most of my dreams since I was little, particularly those dreams that offer the most financial security. But if someone were to ask me to express myself and my passion, right in this moment, I would dirty dance like a fool. Being Baby in Dirty Dancing — that’s my dream, if we’re gonna be real about it. Who doesn’t want to go to a secret underground dance party and get down with 1980s Patrick Swayze?
And by first favorite movie, I don’t mean the first movie I watched over and over again, because that would be The Wizard of Oz. No, Dirty Dancing was the first movie I wanted to watch over and over, eat, dream, live it — I wanted to BE IN It so bad and I knew all the songs and I’d pause + rewind scenes over and over to learn the dance moves. I’ve watched it at least 98 times and I even own a Dirty Dancing instructional exercise DVD. That’s right, I’m not even ashamed to admit that.
I wanted to be like Baby when I grew up, starting with pouring ice water down the pants of Robby the Creep. When Johnny told her that she ‘could NOT do it,’ that look in Baby’s eyes rang so true to me. Sometimes it takes someone telling me I can’t do something for me to actually feel rock solid sure that I fucking CAN and WILL do it.
While I still hold on to the dream that someway, somehow, I will perform that final “Time of My Life” dance, be it at my own wedding or some poor unsuspecting friend’s wedding, I have separated myself enough from the film to figure out what I truly want to do in my own life. Simply put: I want to create something that makes people feel how I feel when I watch Dirty Dancing. And that feeling is alive, and jittery, and like I’m doing the lift in a crowded ballroom with people going nuts with applause on the sidelines.
I get flickers of that feeling when I create things, be it video or a blog entry or artwork. I get it when I perform in public, most often in the forms of karaoke or dancing (not that kind of dancing, though I get why you’d think so since I live in Portland). I get it when I improve someone’s skin or do their makeup in a way that makes them feel beautiful. Hopefully, the things I create when I get that feeling are the things that will make other people feel that way. If nothing else, I want to inspire others to create more and do more of what makes them come alive.
Happy Dirty Dancing Day, my loves. Go do something that makes you come alive.
With courage, love, and intensity,