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Had the time of my life….

September 15, 2009


Dirty Dancing came out in 1987. I didn’t see it til it was on VHS about a year later. Even then our parents were hesitant to let us see such a sexually charged movie. I was a Sophomore in high school and you couldn’t get more awkward than me. Glasses, lanky, horrible case of acne, unsure.  I was the absolute wallflower. I never went to school dances and I just was…so…awkward.  I was doing theater to try and make up for the lack of the outside and it was helping some but something clicked when I saw this movie.

We were in Georgia visiting friends in the summer and it was then when I watched Jennifer Gray’s character ‘Baby’ go from meek and awkward to flying in the arms of Patrick Swayze’s Johnny Castle my heart stopped. I actually cried at the ending because it spoke to me. I bought the albums of the music (yes I said albums I owned records in those days) and just would move.  It wasn’t just the formal dances of the fox-trot and such that pulled me in but the “dirty dancing” as well.


What I loved about this particular style and what I was giddy to hear about when I watched the choreographers talk about it was that they utilized what the dancers bodies could do. There was no strict “It has to be this way or nothing!” Everyone could dance this.  So I danced to the beat inside and I found myself gaining confidence.  I started going to dances at high school, I got contacts, I started to have a stronger voice and as cheesy as it sounds I was basically teaching myself that “no one was going to put me in a corner.”

The word of Patrick Swazye’s death has hit me pretty hard today. He was a  part of my growing up.  In a way a sort of first dance teacher and I know that sounds silly and quirky but we all have those moments. Where a movie can move us to do something different with our lives.  I learned to start coming out of my shell. I had almost forgotten about those first lessons I had and with me sitting in a corner wanting to hide from the world because I am not feeling “good enough” for the world. I remember now. I hate that it has taken his passing to remember. I look up and I see a hand and remember I don’t belong in a corner. I deserve to shine like anyone else.

Be at peace Patrick…..and thank you.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jen permalink
    September 15, 2009 9:40 pm

    Nothing cheesy here Baby. That was beautiful. I had the same sad moment today. My tie is to “The Outsiders,” but I felt a piece of my secret childhood strength pass on with Patrick.


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