21 Mar Liberation & Revolutionary Partying, Parte 1: The Feeling
Song: Danza Celestial by Astro
In 2012, I started using this phrase “revolutionary partying” that came tumbling out of my mouth while I was trying to describe a personal philosophy of what I wanted a dance party to feel like and what I wanted party organizing to be for me. I’ve stuck to the phrase because it captures an important experience and feeling for me. A big motivation for me in organizing parties is to recreate this incredible feeling of liberation and freedom that I experienced on different occasions while living in DC from 2008 – 2011. This feeling has changed everything for me. In the moments where I’ve felt closest to it, it’s made me feel so ecstatically free, and made me feel like I had broken off chains that I didn’t quite realize were there (or had gotten so used to and sometimes sub-consciously explained away).
In about 2009 or 2010, one of my closest friends introduced me to DJ rAt at my first Anthology of Booty party– one of the crews that rAt was a part of. The party was incredible. I was pretty used to, at this point, with really home-y feeling parties and social gatherings (to be discussed in a later blog post), but this party stands out so clearly in my memory because I definitely had a moment of utter joy and liberation at this party. There were so many lovely queer femme babes, the vibe was so warm and fun, and it felt like everyone in the room had known each other for 1000 years. There was such an abundance of feminine energy at the party that I felt so AT HOME, safe and loved. I danced and smiled so hard that night. But what really got me that night was that I kept getting lost in FEELing. There were long moments where I would be dancing as hard as I could and I didn’t care what anyone else thought of me. I dropped all my walls, defenses and inhibitions and was just moving with the beat and not thinking about anything else…
And there’s really something to be said for these moments when you’re just having fun and totally wrapped up in living inside a moment, and nothing else matters.
When you actually feel like you might be floating and you need to check if your feet are still on the ground.
When it feels like maybe your soul is touching that divine white light floating above your head. This is what liberation has felt like for me.
Needless to say, I started to go to every Anthology of Booty and Maracuyeah (another crew that DJ rAt was a part of) party that I could and was just loving and living.
This feeling has been so life-changing because it is so starkly different from what I feel my day-to-day energy generally is/has been. I think our world is heavy – with injustice, with oppression, with anger and sadness. And moving through the world means that my life has been touched with all that heaviness and more. It’s definitely not a thunderstorm all the time, but I, at least, have to protect myself from personal and societal heaviness regularly. I’m not sure how many people actually get to experience this feeling of liberation I’m describing, but I want to venture to say that it’s not a common feeling we all walk around with. Moreover, the fact that I’ve experienced these ecstatic feelings of freedom largely at parties and/or social gatherings- usually while dancing- is profound. Parties aren’t usually seen as having a lot of social impact – they’re “just” fun, recreation, a pastime, places for people to drink… right? But can’t it be powerful to be in a dedicated space for people to just be present to joy, fun, safety and warmth? If spaces like this can exist, can’t that have immense social impact? For me, these moments of liberation have been so powerfully marked in my brain and body, that I can recall the feeling and hold it in when I need to access lightness and joy for whatever reason. It’s so powerful, just remembering the feeling can turn my whole day around. And it’s left such a lasting impression on me that it has become a light that I want to strive for and that I want to spread around. This profoundly effects my work and my psyche now. If I can personally attest, as someone who often feels emotionally heavy, to the profound effect that having weight lifted off me for a few hours can do to my mental and emotional state, I feel like maybe this can touch other people’s lives too.
The ecstatic feelings of liberation I experienced from that Anthology of Booty party are the models for the feeling I want any party I am part of organizing to have. For me, music and parties and/or social gatherings have been so crucial to ME and who I am. There’s so much to be said for the life changing effect that feeling safe, warm and at home, even for just a few hours, can have on someone’s life. That is revolutionary partying.
Author’s Note: I’ll be exploring this theme of liberation and relating how essential my community of support has been for me, as well as more details on the very real ways that love and liberation have changed my path in life.