Sometimes you can be other people. You look for them on YouTube and you are transformed. You are not the real thing but maybe you know all the words and all the moves and your head does the rest and it casts you in the leading role.
You can be a girl dressed in burning leather riding a chariot. Or Uma Thurman dancing in “Pulp Fiction.” Or Eminem winning rap battles in “8-Mile.” Or you’re Bruce Willis: “LL Cool J. You’re jumping in the air and Patrick Swayze catches you. You are Bruce Lee and your fists are full of fury. Or you just strut and the Bee Gees sing about it.
You’ve already been hundreds of others. Men, women, sometimes just their gestures, just the way they say something, how they smile, look. How they dress. Which is why recently, you’ve watched an entire movie to get yourself out of a depressive mood. Perhaps you’re a bit embarrassed about your unsophisticated choices of entertainment. You watch this movie after everyone goes to sleep to dream of Haneke. That movie you watched was “Hunger Games.” It was easy: You like costumes. You like beautiful people. For a moment you were transformed. Out of your reality and into dreamland.
When you watch Bo Saris’ “She’s On Fire” you think of dancing, of feeling desired. Some videos do that to you. Does every woman have her stripper song? This could be your stripper song. This is the only thing that you think would be fun about stripping – being able to dance sexily to songs you like. Though maybe you heard that you don’t dance to songs you like. You dance to crap, you shook me all night long, and then you have to rub against erections for twenty bucks. In your idealized stripper world you dance to Bo Saris and men lick the soles of your Louboutin platforms. You are “Salma Hayek in “From Dusk Till Dawn,” there’s fire burning behind you, you have albino snakes wrapped around you, your hair glows, nobody can touch you.
Now you sing. You sing like Lauryn Hill. Your voice is golden, your voice is pure gold. This is how you sing in your mind. Sometimes you are a contestant on a talent show, “American Idol” or “X-Factor,” one of those. You are small and skinny and ugly. You have a number on your chest, you avoided the pre-interviews and if you haven’t, you just told the cheerful guy with the microphone that you don’t think you’re that good but you want to give it a try anyway (you know you’re that good). You come out and Simon Cowell looks at you and sits back and chews on the end of his pen, eyes narrowing. Then you sing and Lauryn Hill comes out of your mouth. Simon Cowell moves forward, his elbows set on the table. He frowns. He raises one eyebrow, smiles a tiny little smirk.
And now somebody fucked with you. But that’s cool, you’re cool. Do they know how cool you are? You may be dressed like a bum, like a boy, and you need to brush your crazy-red hair but you’re going to run really fast and show those assholes what you’re made out of.
Or you are Sofia Boutella and your body is rubber and you move like rubber, the way a human being shouldn’t be allowed to move but you move like that. You and Michael Jackson. Because, sometimes, you are Michael Jackson too. And when you dance that way you get picked out of the lineup and your life is changed.
Then there are times when you are troubled. When something in your head detonates quietly, leaving behind clouds of black smoke. You open your eyes but you can’t see in all this smoke. Yet, there’s comfort in your murderous melancholy. You can let yourself go, fall into it all and stay there until it gets lighter outside. In the darkness, you walk through the forest or next to a deep, ominous lake and you are a vampire.
You can snap yourself out of sadness. Force yourself out of it. You type in “funny videos, “funny kittens,” funny shit,” etcetera. You find it. You cue the laughing track. You watch your funny on the loop until your own laughter is pulled out of you, sun rays of it exploding in your chest, tears running down your cheeks and you are saved. You are you again, laughing.
DudeApatow, “Pretty Much Everywhere, It’s Gonna Be Hot” (2008)
- Jowita Bydlowska