Strange Familiarity

Over 1000 people filled the performance center, all of us sitting with our eyes focused on the dancers on the stage. No one was talking, no one was on their phone, everyone was staring straight ahead.

I had gone with my parents to see a contemporary dance performance by a professional dance company that was touring. It was the middle of the second dance, about an hour into the show. I started to look around at the audience instead of the dancers moving across the stage. What are all of these people thinking in this very moment? Here we all are, physically in the same space, listening to the same music, watching the same dancers, yet each of our experiences could be completely different. Unlike a play or a movie, there isn’t a real plot. While the dances are open to interpretation and inspired by different things, there isn’t a narrative to follow. What I feel and think watching these dancers could be completely different from the person next to me.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Image from

My mind had been racing the entire show. My thoughts drifted from the dancers and my fascination with their strong bodies and graceful movements, to thinking about the different relationships in my life at the moment: the ones I had, the ones that I wanted, and the ones that I had and didn’t want.

I looked around again. How many people in the audience were thinking about a fight that they had earlier? How many people were there celebrating some happy occasion? Who was dragged there by a significant other? I looked up at the dancers, moving perfectly together, each movement beautifully synchronized. I wondered if anyone in the audience had been moved to tears.

Feeling nostalgic, I thought about all the times in the past few years that I had been sitting in those very same seats watching this same dance company. I reflected on all the ways that my life had changed in those years, from where I lived, who I was dating, and whether I was in school. But I also considered all the ways that it was still the same. My mind then drifted to the current transitions that I’m going through and the uncertainties and anxiety surrounding them.

Then I felt it. The familiar feeling. My blood sugar was dropping. Waiting until the applause between dances, I opened the crinkling plastic of my fruit snack, pouring the contents out into my hand. It was a process that I had mastered over the years, sneaking fruit snacks while making as little noise as possible.

A lot has changed in my life, and a lot more is in the process of changing. But as I chewed my fruit snacks and admired the dancers, I found a strange comfort in the familiarity of my diabetes.

One thought on “Strange Familiarity

  1. I love this post. Reading it, I felt like I was right there with you! I have always been impressed by your fruit-snack-sneaking abilities =)


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