Drop me into the middle of a dance floor, at a wedding, in between songs, in between worlds.

Coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine.

The night swirls around us all. A night awash with faded dreams, lost memories, and things we never knew we forgot. The room’s weighed down with early summer humidity and by a storm sitting on the horizon. Each person, you can tell, carries something in their face. They’ve been doing just fine, sure. But her work overwhelms nearly every waking hour and intrudes to the point where she can’t focus on anything else. But his anxiety level skyrockets as school deadlines pile up; his mind is so full he can hardly hear.

Let me go.

I’m out here, too. Skin and bones and body, mind and spirit and soul. And maybe catharsis is an overused word, but I’m not quite sure to call what I’m chasing after. A release? A rest? A letting go? Whatever it is I’m chasing, it’s the reverse of regret—a confidence that what I’ve done is finished, and what’s undone is okay. No more swimming in seas of uncertainty. No more floating indistinctly, like a cloud wisped into another cloud. I’m after assurance, clear and visceral, that I’m not allowing anything to slip through the cracks.

I just can’t look; it’s killing me.

We’re on a dance floor, remember, so all this happens beneath the surface. Outwardly, it’s only hips and elbows, a lot of jumping, and not a lot of rhythm. The tiny pauses between each song feel like a key turning point in the evening. Everyone makes eye contact. Will we keep dancing? Will we take a break for water or another drink? But the silent questions asked in those split-second moments run deeper. Can we admit something about ourselves here? Are we able to face all we’ve missed or left behind?

And taking control.

I have done more inner work in the last year than at any other point in my life. I guess you could say I’m trying to take control of my stress and anxiety, because too often it feels (as cliche as this sounds) like the stress and anxiety have stolen my autonomy. But this isn’t really about taking control. It’s an unraveling, an anti-seize. It’s admitting something about myself, and tonight I’m admitting this along with everyone else. We’ve all experienced regret, or grief, or sorrow, or missed opportunity. This is corporate confession. So we shout with every last sinew, four times:

I never…

I never…

I never…

I never…

Let’s all sing “Mr. Brightside” together once a week.

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