Today I had my first experience of a Daybreaker event. And I loved it. Daybreaker is a chance to practice yoga and dance. We had fun and great music – not only a great DJ but she also played the violin while wielding the decks, a trombone player, didgeridoo player and a drummer also got involved, dancers led at various times, some with salsa, some hip-hop, Michael Jackson moves…the works.
It was held during the day and was alcohol free…but not in a preachy way. Instead we were high on a great mix of Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins – the Daybreaker DOSE. These neurotransmitters are released not just because we were working so hard but because unlike club nights out with alcohol and other substances we had mindfulness, self-expression, camaraderie, wellness and a healthy doses of mischief. From my first experiences of drinking (underage in Blackburn) to now I have never had an experience which combined how I would like to be treated with a nightclub like experience. Implicit in dancing on a night out is that you are dancing as a sexual expression for others and it should be good enough to entertain but not good enough to get attention. From the first time when I went out with friends to pubs and nightclubs (when I was at school) the rules were clearly implied, take care of yourself and your friends. Perform, like you are having a good time, look wild and abandoned if you like, but keep an eye on your belongings and watch out for the creepy guy behind you.
There are various strategies from pretending not to notice men, dancing with other girls so close that they can’t come near you, rescuing your friends from boring conversations, saying ‘no’ nicely, lying…sometimes it’s just no fun and you have to stop dancing, leave a bar, stay sitting down or go home because you can’t dance without being followed, asked ‘why not’ when you give a ‘no’ or just feeling so uncomfortable. Not only is there unwanted sexual interest but also some bars are full of drunk people who push (growing up these people would also be hiding cigarettes you thought might accidentally burn you or your clothes) invade space and are too drunk to hold themselves up. Drunk friends are also a liability when you are young – everything from feeling sick, the boys get into fights and arguments, the girls cry over their boyfriends, I’ve had friends who self harm and behave recklessly for their own safety as well as loosing your coat, phone, wallet.
I’ve also been to clubs where it is clear some women are looking for work as sex workers or ‘girlfriends for cash’ and I conclude they are doing this in a place where men are there to pay for sex and I just don’t want to be in that environment when I am having fun. I fully support sex workers’ rights to be safe – not criminalised and in danger on the street – but if I am going out to have fun I don’t want to be thinking about the trauma and abuse taking place and I don’t want to be hardened to it either. So a working me would like to promote a minimum living income, but a Friday night me just can’t have fun while I watch men pick up women as bodies they can use.
Today I felt fully respected and allowed to express myself, exercise my mind and spirit, be mindful of where I was in space, how I felt and of the people around me, camaraderie (people spoke, smiled, interacted, we were together without an agenda, and we had fun. While the dancers lead the steps the emphasis is on having fun, not being right, moving and laughing, living and loving and of course I got a huge DOSE of neurotransmitters! Video