This is anonymous so I’m not going to tell you my name, but let me share a little about myself. I’m in my mid-20s; I’m a virgin and plan on staying that way until I marry. I was raised in the church; the daughter of an elder and a worship team member, was on the youth group leadership team, went to Bible studies, led Bible studies, and the worst thing I’ve ever done was fall in love with a Polish drummer on a mission trip when I was a teenager. I spent more time caring about him than telling his buddies about Jesus.
Oh, and I love dirty dancing. I almost got kicked out of my private Christian high school for it.
Once a year, our school had a lip sync competition.
Each class had to choose a song, choreograph a routine, and perform in front of the entire school - teachers and staff included.
My class didn’t do teamwork well (read: at all). On the day of the competition, we still didn’t have a lip sync prepared, mostly because we couldn’t agree on a song. Why it wasn’t easier for 20 Christian juniors in high school to work together doing something fun during school hours when we could have been suffering through a sex-ed lecture eludes me. We are talking, like, hours of going back-and-forth-back-and-forth with ideas. We considered Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”, Queen’s “Bicycle Race”, Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”, Relient K’s “High of 75” and all were shot down. Then someone suggested Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. For some reason, everyone in the class was in favor. Finally. But then came the issue of getting people to participate in the actual performance. Just so we could move on, I volunteered to play Billie Jean.
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with this particular jam, please stop reading this and go search Billie Jean on YouTube. No, not the Civil Wars’ cover of it; Michael’s original. The Civil Wars rocked it, don’t get me wrong, but I am a die-hard MJ fan, and I will not be accused of misleading you when it comes to the education of his music. Shoot—that should be a confession in itself: “Jesus-Lover Adores Michael Jackson.”
If you didn’t watch the music video or look up the lyrics, I’ll just tell you for brevity… the song is about a scandal in which some girl – Billie Jean – went public with an allegation saying she had a baby fathered by Michael Jackson. Well, it wasn’t true, and Michael wrote a song about it.
She told me her name was Billie Jean, as she caused a scene
Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one
Who will dance on the floor in the round…
...Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son
You get it.
The first mistake was choosing a song that probably wasn’t appropriate for our Christian school-sponsored event. The second was what happened during the lip sync: my hips.
Two things developed first in my physical body during adolescence: my height and my hips. By the time I was 12 years old, I was 5’10” and wearing a junior’s size 11 pant. I had hips and a butt. But that’s not the point. The only good thing that can come from a ridiculous hip growth spurt is the ability to move them well. And I taught myself because this good Christian girl wasn’t allowed to watch Britney or Christina shake it on MTV. #shelteredkids
So I was Billie Jean that day, and I worked it pretty good because we got a rousing round of applause after the performance and a bunch of classmates expressed amazement at what I had been “hiding” all this time. Had it been a filmed event, only the upper half of my body would have been shown, a la Elvis Presley.
Here’s what I have to admit:
When I’ve told this story in the past, I have exaggerated. But you’re all friendly people who I have no need to impress or shock, and it’s anonymous, so I’ll tell you the truth. I usually say I got called into the principal’s office and was warned that if I ever pulled a “stunt” like that again, I’d get suspended. What really happened is I voluntarily stopped by the principal’s office on my way back to class after the performance, and a teacher made a comment, something to the effect of, “Do your parents know you can dance like that?”
In that moment, I remember feeling powerful and dangerous because 1) I had clearly surprised people and, 2) it was perceived as just a little naughty. Naughty was a fun feeling.
After that, I practiced in front of my bedroom mirror every week, secretly learning the cheerleader’s dance routines and asking my dance team friends to teach me how to perfect my body roll. At school dances, I’d keep my hips tame because, private Christian school. But in the privacy of my bedroom, I was J.Lo’s favorite backup dancer.
Ever since high school, my ability to dance dirty has been a source of pride. I may not do other stereotypical “rebellious” things like watch rated R movies, swear, or sneak out to go clubbing on the weekends, but I can dance. And I do it well.
And I don’t even feel the least bit bad about it.
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