Dancing Girl

2008, Dancing Girl

If you could have one superhero power, what would it be?

An immediate conversation starter, this question provokes an entertaining and analytical conversation of weighing and choosing from the myriad of hypothetical superpower options.

There are the obvious and most popular answers: the ability to read minds, fly, or, superpower-for-the-modern-age, the ability to eat whatever one wants without gaining any weight.

Possessing any of these powers would be extraordinary; however, in this theoretical game, you must choose the one power that you want most of all. Therefore, one must seriously consider all superpower possibilities and their life-perfecting potentials before making a final decision.

As a young girl, raised in the suburbs and sent to a private college, there have been too many times in my life that I have worried what others have thought of me. In high school I wasn’t smart enough; in college, I wasn’t skinny enough — all misconceptions developed in my mind. Compensating for my lack of ability to read other people’s thoughts, I impulsively fabricated what they must be thinking, and then acted according to those predictions.

This retrospective self-evaluation leads me to think that the ability to read minds is the optimum superpower for me. However, cautiously wonder: do I really want to know what people really think of me. Even Hollywood agrees that this could be an impending power — although things worked out for Mel Gibson by the end of the movie, we, as the audience, had to first witness 90 minutes of this backfiring superpower and the shame it brought to poor, perma-bachelor Mel before we were given our happy ending.

And so, before I grant this power as my final choice, I will reevaluate its contemporary worth. With suburbia and my 3,000-student-college-bubble in my past, and New York City in my present, a new and welcomed wave of self-confidence has taken over my daily mentality.

In a city of over 8 million people, the variations of personal style, presentation, and point of view are endless. Regardless of who you are, there is something and someone for you here. The city is not a competition to be the smartest or the prettiest; it is a challenge to be yourself. Confident in my own lifestyle, I no longer wish for the power to read what others’ judging minds may think of it, and would therefore not choose this ability as my one allotted hypothetical superpower.

So what else? I once considered the notion of “No Ailment Girl” (of course I would have a cooler name) — unaffected by stomachaches, coughs, and hangovers, but that seemed more preventative than enjoyable.

Now my mind wanders, mentally going through my daily routines and weekend escapades, trying to figure out which superpower would be most satisfying to my life.

My routine walk home from work, a 4-point-something-mile stretch from Midtown to Brooklyn is one of my favorite activities in New York. Walking down 3rd Avenue, I zigzag around men in suits, traveling in packs so they can pat each other on the back, tiny girls with tiny dogs and big sunglasses, and little old ladies walking with their grocery totes, amazingly keeping up with the New York City pace. My iPod, pulsates in my ears as I walk, providing a soundtrack to my daily sightings.

My iPod, too, is my necessary companion during subway commutes, providing both comfort and stimulation for my current state of mind. Unconcerned with my subway platform surroundings, I concentrate on the song de jour. In my mind, my iPod’s beat perfectly compliments the world around me, adding passion, attitude, and relaxation to my expeditions around the city.

Oftentimes, however, I become so enthralled in my music, as it is so real and captivating in my own ears, that I forget that I am the only one who can hear the shuffling tunes to which I am lip-syncing and dancing in perfect harmony.

After twelve months of uninhibited dancing around the city, it was brought to my attention just how conspicuous my moves actually are. A morning commute acquaintance recently mentioned to me that until he knew my name, I was deemed the “dancing girl” that he would see each morning on his way to work. Up until this moment, unconcerned with reading other people’s minds, I had never considered how ridiculous I must appear to the non-music hearing New Yorkers — needless to say, I was embarrassed.

At first, his nickname thwarted my iPod style. Suddenly, riding the subway, I couldn’t help but wonder who else had noted my bazaar behavior. Self-conscience, I tried my hardest to listen to my music with no external emotion or action, much like every other normal iPod-wearing citizen.

I quickly learned, however, that for me, this is impossible. The beat is too strong. The lyrics are too resonating. And the dancing is just too fun to hold back.

And so, I finally have my answer to our superhero power predicament. If I could have any single superhero power, what would it be?

I would make it so everyone could hear the music. My iPod’s amps will no longer be restricted to my eardrums alone. I will enter the room, and the music will explode. And they will affectionately call me Dancing Girl.

Originally from the east coast, Cha Cha lives in southern California with her fiance (he’s a plumber) and their bob-tailed cat, Copper Soup.

As a woman, Cha Cha spends her time writing, reading (though not as much as she wishes she did), watching Project Runway (way more than she wished she did—especially since the show ended in 2019), trying to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day (otherwise, she won’t leave the house because she works from home), learning how to manage her money, and talking to herself out loud.

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