There were one too many times this quarter when I felt like no one at Stanford really understood me, or I couldn’t really be myself around anyone, or I just couldn't fully connect with people because of cultural or personal or other barriers. Or some iteration of that sentiment has been running through my head, and I now call BS on myself.
Well, not completely. I’ll admit that there are times I do feel like that, and it’s not an invalid feeling - it’s just not an accurate reflection of reality. In reality I know I have communities and friends to turn to, but in the moments of sadness it’s harder to remember that and easier to fall into the “no one understands me” self-pity.
So what reminds me of the communities I have here? I’m thinking about Friday night, when we had our last CSA lime of the quarter, and I’d come from a dance show before (which was so hype omg Stanford Jump Rope is amazing! These shows always fill me with so much energy and make me wish that I could dance, or at least improve my dance skills if we’re going with the “everyone can dance” growth mindset). Anyway, I was hyped and ready to hang out with CSA, and also typically late in Caribbean fashion because, yea I was coming from something else, but also I wanted to arrive when things were already pumping so I could just feed off of everyone else’s energy. But I think Stanford isn’t as conducive to Caribbean lateness because everyone’s actually so busy and time is precious and if we say we’re liming from 9:30 then there’s actually a sort of expectation that people are coming for that time. Welp.
Long story short, I went to the lime and we had food, played Heads Up (or some kind of charades app) and then there was a “guess the song” section which turned into some kind of karaoke/acapella/singalong, and I laughed my heart out that night. (Wait pause, what a coincidence that Vybz Kartel’s “Fever” is playing on my youtube playlist RIGHT NOW as I write this because I was about to talk about that!! What the heck!!) I was gonna say that we then went into full-on dance-party mode, playing soca and dancehall and all the hits that make Caribbean people get turnt. And non-CSA folks and friends were in and out of the room dancing and pumping with us, and we made up a dance routine to Kartel’s Fever so that we could squad up during our next CSA party and do the dance, which would be hilarious and I really hope it happens.
It’s weird - I didn’t really feel self-conscious about my lack of dance skills - or my limited, yet-to-be-mproved dance skills if we’re going with the growth mindset. I just had a good time, and danced and sang along and realized that I felt so at home. Where else could I sing along to Mr. Fete and Palance in unison with friends? I left with the euphoria of having danced and sung my heart out but also the deep satisfaction and contentment of feeling connected to a group of people.
And I realize that though the “connection euphoria” isn’t always there, that doesn’t mean the connection isn’t. Every moment isn’t gonna be glamorous and “omg I relate with these people so well”, but at the end of the day, I have found community here, in various capacities, and I am so so grateful for that.