Dangerous Compassions

The Narcoleptic and the Mysterious Lady Rebel Girl at a pride party

I usually don’t like parties, but it was a costume party, and I was excited.  There would be dinner.  It was to thank the people who participated in the UNLV Pride–it was their first Pride.  The radical mental health collective had a table, so I rsvped “two vegetarians.”

I imagined a fancy dinner–then I imagined catered sandwiches.  The reality was pizza and some vegan tacos from Pancho’s.  The tacos were amazing!

Ming dropped me off, and I walked into the room knowing no one.  It was at a meeting room at the student center.  I felt shy.  I txted my mom and tried to relax.

My costume was Mysterious Lady.  I wore this fancy dress of dark gray lace, a dollar store black lacy mask, and a black shawl someone made me years ago.  It was my first time wearing the dress, and it was comfortable.

Someone sat down at the table, and she talked to me a bit.  She seemed intense–she was tired from interviewing for accounting jobs.  I guess she’s graduating.  The interviews are very long.

“What’s your major?” she asked me.

“Hmm,” I said.  “I had a major, long ago.”  My major seemed like a very past thing and not that pertinent.  I should have answered her though, to give her the hold on who I am that she wanted, a fact about me.

But I was a Mysterious Lady after all, so it makes sense I would be evasive.  I txted Ming, “I’m feeling pretty mysterious here.”

Ming arrived.  There was a brief meeting with a few powerpoint slides, thanking volunteers for helping with the event.  The radical mental health collective was acknowledged as in the house.  That was sweet.

Then the eating and karaoke started.  The first few songs people sang, I had never even heard before.  I was trying to think what I would sing, if I were going to sing a song.

First I googled on my phone “Sufjan Stevens karaoke.”  There was Chicago, which was possible, or Come On!  Feel the Illinoise! which seemed too ambitious.  I considered The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us! also.

Then I thought Innocence Mission–Bright as Yellow looked ok, but not super pertinent.

Then I thought Kimya Dawson–Tire Swing is easy to sing and has amazing lyrics, but I wasn’t sure.

Then I thought of the perfect karaoke song for this group–Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill.  It’s queer, it’s not too hard, and it has a screamy part–high energy.

When I realized there was a youtube karaoke for Rebel Girl, I felt nervous because I knew I had to sing it.  So when someone else’s song was ending, I went up to the laptop and pulled that song up.

I was feeling kind of old, but singing Rebel Girl was very empowering.  Ming was nearby, and I saw a couple other people in the room who seemed transfixed, though most of the people didn’t seem to be paying much attention.  I was so nervous, my voice wasn’t the best, and I was dehydrated also.  But I screamed the screamy part ok, and I really liked it.

It was my first time in my life singing karaoke, and I see the appeal.  Afterward, someone at my table said she liked my song, that she had never heard it before.   Google tells me it was released 1993, my junior year of high school.  But I didn’t hear it till later.

Thanks to Ming for helping me do all the things I want to do, taking pictures, and supportiveness.   You’re wonderful.  I love you.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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