Reclaiming your body & self-trust are the keys to a safe night out

Madeleine Cary

Anyone who really knows me knows that I love dancing—I am terrible at it, but I think it is one of the best things our bodies are capable of.

I am prone to break out in dance in my room, in the kitchen, the living room and even on the street.

Anyone who really knows me also knows that before this year, I would not be caught dead in a nightclub, a place I associated with everything my self-defense classes taught me to be afraid of.

I was sexually assaulted so many times in high school that I just found it easier to avoid clubs and bars and crowds and parties like the plague.

But then I turned 21 and was finally granted access to Burlington nightlife.

The newfound freedom, coupled with the feeling of regret when I was left out of plans by friends who assumed I wouldn’t want to go, made me rethink my ideas against going out.

Strangely enough, dancing with complete strangers was empowering. I looked good. My best friend had counseled me for about an hour on my outfit choice, which was specifically designed to turn heads.

I took a shot of tequila, and made my friends take shots with me.

When I went to the dance floor, I danced to get attention. Yes, I was drunk, but I realized that even when I slurred my words, my gut would still tell me when a guy was getting too close.

There was this one guy – I never got his name – who I walked away from, even after dancing with him for a while.

I guess my biggest takeaway from that first night out on the town, besides the biggest hangover of my life, was that the whole “reclaiming your body” thing is about self-trust.

When we go out to have fun we are always told to focus on the “what ifs.” What if you lose your friend group? What if someone put something in your drink?

Yes, keep the safety precautions in mind, but don’t let fear keep you off the dance floor.

“You looking for some ass tonight?” he slurred in my ear. “Ha ha ha, nope,” I smirked, and sauntered out with my best friend to get pizza.