A few weeks ago, Daybreaker debuted in Chicago. It was my first time hearing of this elusive (but definitely not exclusive) event. I only needed to hear a few high-level details to know that I belonged there.
Daybreaker is an early morning monthly dance party designed for the freedom-seekers, dance freaks, free spirits, weirdos and masters of fearless authenticity. I had been told it was like Burning Man meets SoulCycle.
These were my people. And this…this was my home.
At 7am on October 21st 2015, hundreds of people flocked to 1st Ward Events, (a state-of-the-art music venue in Chicago), and for two hours, simply danced their asses off. For 20 bucks, a street-cred DJ blasted house music, current hits and EDM that kept us going, as did organic coffee, coconut water and gluten free granola.
(If there ever was such a thing as Millennial Heaven, Daybreaker birthed it.)
What I personally love most about Daybreaker is that it was founded by one dude and one total babe who both hail from NYC. Together, they saw a need for a positive dance experience that was less about getting wholly wasted and more about becoming genuinely uplifted. What began as an underground social experiment in the boroughs of Manhattan has now become a global movement, expanding into over 30 cities worldwide.
(Can we all holler for Entrepreneurial Babes making moves please?)
Perhaps my favorite part of the morning, besides breaking a sweat for two hours with rad random strangers, was the emcee, who adorned a t-shirt that said “I’M A HUGGER” and commanded the party’s vibe with verse like: “This is so much more than a dance party,” to: “Everyone in this room needs to do one thing and one thing only: be yourself,” to: “You are responsible for all the love you created in this room,” to my personal favorite: “In this room, you are free.”
This might sound all cheeseball to you, but let me tell you – it’s not. Your life depends on it and here’s why. You see, we spend so much time trying to prove ourselves. We are constantly, obsessively asking ourselves:
“What do they think?”
“Do I look cool?”
“Do I look pretty?”
“How much money can I make from looking cool?”
“How much money can I make from looking pretty?”
“Am I important?
“If I’m important, does that make me an influencer?
“If I’m an influencer, does that mean I have ‘influencer status’?”
“If I’m an influencer and have influencer status, does that mean more people are watching and therefore I have to be cooler, look prettier and become richer?”
We have become consumed with trying to impress our peers, our parents, our friends and worst of all, our audiences… the ones we’re supposed to be the most authentic for.
It all boils down to ego.
Please don’t think I’m stepping up on some soapbox here. Just a few days before I attended Daybreaker, I was chatting with my life coach about my latest drama and she point blank looked at me and asked: “Who would you be, Jessica, if you had nothing to prove?” (Tweet THAT shit, please.)
The truth is, I don’t have anything to prove. Neither do you. But we as a generation and a gender (I’m looking at you, women 24-40) are in the constant pursuit of approval. Of status. Of validation. Of attention. Of feeling seen. Of NEEDING to feel seen. Of feeling and receiving approval, status, validation, attention and even love from people who truly, truly don’t matter.
I ask: When will we ALL stop giving such a fuck? When will be able to silence the chatter in our heads that constantly tells us we have to be the most perfect, edited, Instagram version of ourselves? When will we realize that our “status” is as relevant as our dress size? When will be able to roll out of bed with ratty hair and no eye-brow pencil on, enter a dark room at 7am full of sweaty people (some with glow sticks), get weird, let go and Simply Be? I dare you to take a picture of yourself in THAT space and put it on social media. ACTUALLY, I dare you to leave your fucking iPhone in your purse and just dance like no one is watching.
Because guess what? No one is.
(Psssst…that’s because they’re not trying to prove anything to anyone either, girlfriend. They’re just feeling the music.)
Thank you Daybreaker, for reminding me that music is a vessel towards freedom.
That being surrounded by hundreds of people expressing themselves regardless of who is watching and how they look, even if it’s just for two hours, is a rocket ship into self-love.
That we are SO MUCH MORE than our ego.
That we are a part of a global community that NEEDS us to be exactly who we are.
That the energy of unapologetic self-acceptance is the biggest gift we can give to that community, and it is as kinetic as touch, as contagious as laughter, as powerful as blasting bass and as vital as the air we breathe.
This is possible, this is palpable, at Daybreaker.
At least it was for me.
And so, I’ll see you at the next one later this month…
I’ll be on the dance floor.
Feeling the music.
Proving nothing to no one.