Popping and locking my way into a funk! Don't let age, race or decade define your groove.

The above dancers are so badass!! They're also like 12. Ok, probably 16. Definitely not almost fifty.

None of these Soul Train dancers are white and 48, and it's not the 1970s, but why should that stop anyone (me) from trying? (Looking foolish aside.)

See! This man is allegedly sixty years old! Look!

In late 1970s and early 80s NYC, Roosevelt Island (where I grew up) and very pre-gentrified Astoria Queens (right over the bridge) specifically, street dancing and boom boxes were IT. I wasn't an IT girl and it was mostly the boys who got into it. Even though I was a tomboy, I was also a chain smoking brooding wallflower who liked to sit on the sidelines and make snarky remarks. Any kind of coordinated aerobic exercise was out. I even smoked on the walk to Central Park from school during gym class!

But that was then.

My last cigarette was in 1999. It's been a few years-ish since 1979. I'm a bit older. I gave up brooding long ago since it's rather boring.

As I approach fifty I've been learning to continually challenge long-held beliefs about myself and life. I decided to learn how to pop and lock within the privacy of my own home. Who would know or care? I practice what I preach in my diet book: I stay active without going to a gym. Dancing is a great way to stay fit while having fun!

I watched some YouTube tutorials and then dropped Herbie Hancock Head Hunters on the turntable.

It's probably the funkiest 1970s album ever. I practiced some of the moves I learned and what fun it was! Until it wasn't.  

The next morning I was very sore on my left side. Good! It meant I used muscles that were being neglected all these years! After a few days it subsided until it didn't when it returned.

That's what a stiff middle aged woman gets for trying to get all Soul-Trainy with her moves, I figured. Middle-aged women are supposed to, what? The current pop-culture narrative does NOT include retro street dancing. Then I figured I only had seven more years until I could qualify for the 55+ socials (bingo etc) here in town. Maybe I could get a fake ID and start early.

After a week of the pain not subsiding and the depressing "middle-aged women shouldn't" rhetoric in my head not slowing down I made an appointment with my doctor.

Should I tell him the truth, I wondered? Or just say that I was doing some exercises? He's very easy to talk to and seems to listen so I came clean.

His response? "Cool!"

He poked me and had me lay down and moved my left leg around. 

"You don't have arthritis and it's not your hip. It's your oblique muscle. It's a common injury among athletes." 

ATHLETES! Not old ladies!

"You can get back to it once it's had a chance to heal."

My point in sharing this here is that I realized that even though I snark on ageism and assert that I won't buy into it, I had and probably still do in ways about which I'm not yet aware. I assumed that my injury was absolutely related to my age and pretty much berated myself for it. 

Poking fun at a klutzy white woman trying to dance like Re-Run is fine, because that's some funny stuff right there, but internalized ageism isn't fine of funny to me.


  1. HaHa! Awesome!! I had a friend who was a professional break dancer. She was something.

    Sorry about your injury. Don't let anything stop you. Learn to ease into it and warm up dynamically so you will not get injured. Doing the martial arts at the level I do I always do dynamic stretching, and ice afterwards has become my BFF!

    1. Thanks! Glad you get a "kick" out of it! I definitely do not take enough time to warm up and stretch prior to doing more vigorous physical activity, so I will need to start doing that.


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