A friend recently asked me to DJ her wedding reception—what this really means is that I worked up a killer Spotify playlist and hooked my laptop up to two speakers. There weren’t many dancers in the crowd. Every adult seemed to have planned on sitting in their chair and watching the brave souls on the dance floor all night. For the sake of the party, my friends and I opened the dance floor with ridiculous moves and hoot and hollering to collect a crowd. You have to start the party somehow. As each song passed, little girls made their way onto the dance floor. I don’t know if every parent attending the wedding only had girls, but by the end of the night, there were literally 30 girls dancing around us, from ages 2-22. To adapt, I took out the dirty songs and played a lot of One Direction and Justin Bieber.


You could see the insecurity in the girls at first. They looked around nervously to see who was watching--engulfed with the fear that they’d do something wrong or  look silly. With eyes locked on us,  they copied every move we made. With some encouragement the young girls hesitation quickly faded and we began seeing smiles and hearing giggles as they jumped, twirled, and belted the words to “Firework” by Katy Perry better than I’ve ever heard.

All of a sudden, they weren’t worried about doing the moves right or self-conscious about how their body looked. The girls weren’t comparing or making fun of each other. And for once, no one stood on the outskirts and watched. With arms flinging and legs jumping, the girls inhabited the very center of the dance floor. They twirled and twirled, letting out high-pitched screams every time the next song started.


What I saw among the girls that night was simple, pure, and true. I wanted to capture the very essence of it and put it in a bottle. I didn't want it to end. I knew that the moment we left the dance floor, reality would flood in. The insecurities, doubt, and fears left off the dance floor would return.

On the dance floor that night, we left behind those things that keep us from our true selves. We weren't afraid or cautious--we weren't looking around for approval. We were more ourselves as we danced to every beat: careless and free; beautiful and strong. We were closer to who we were meant to be.

You don’t have to feel

Like a waste of space

You’re original

Cannot be replaced

If you only knew

What the future holds

After a hurricane

Comes a rainbow


Maybe the reason why

All the doors are closed

So you could open one

That leads you to the perfect …

Like a lightning bolt

Your heart will glow

And when it’s time you know


You just gotta

Ignite the light

And let it shine

Just own the night

Like the Fourth of July


‘Cause baby, you’re a firework

Come on show them what you’re worth

Make them go, “Oh, oh, oh”

As you shoot across the sky


Baby, you’re a firework

Come on let your colors burst

Make them go, “Oh, oh, oh”

-”Firework” by Katy Perry