I can go back to the day so long ago
In a basement in Towson or somewhere near enough
And I remember the people I was with.
Catesby and Zesty and Duncan and Rusty
Above all, we were with a band on that night
Whose show got cancelled so they moved it just for us
A bunch of punky high schoolers thanked in the liner notes
And I'd never been to a proper show, just rock ones I knew of
Which operated so differently.
The couch wasn't for being used
And I looked the part, in a tie and hat
Like the "rude boy" fashion mixed with theatrical gangster
The real me, at the time
And in someone's mom's house, they set up shop with a smile
Then began to play swirling thumping ska songs
That everyone knew but me.
But I was invited, that was the important part
I was part of the group, the tiny group of kids
There couldn't have been more than eight of us
and the dance pit started which felt so strange to me.
How five people can dance so hard on the carpet of a family house basement
And how my dancing didn't look like theirs, not even at all.
So I stayed still on the couch, watching and smiling and terrified
Watching their waving arms try to get me to dance
But I was so inoculated to feel insecure about how I looked.
Even if everyone else in the room did it
I was still worried I'd be judged.
And I brought that onto myself directly
As not dancing, something I wanted to do and didn't let myself
Was the true weakness and they saw it.
I remember that fear of looking as stupid as I thought they did
Until I realized, years later, that was never the point.
These were the first people I met who truly didn't give a fuck
And I was hand-delivered a lesson of utmost importance
That I wasted by being stricken with my own doubts.
I was fighty, I always grew up that way,
Cagey about what people thought
And overly eager to defend it
But I didn't realize that the best defense
Against giving a damn