Today is apparently the 10 year anniversary of Aaliyah's death. Aaliyah always reminds me of one of my more humiliating middle/high school experiences.
When I was in 9th grade, I was in that stage where I wanted to stand out and be cool, while also fitting in (a feeling I was thankfully relieved of when I started private school at Racist Private School the next year...seriously, our mascot was a motherfucking Confederate General). My friends at the time were possessed of similar notions, so we decided to start a flag team. Note, this was not the dance team or the cheerleading squad. We were way too uncool and physically awkward for that. We found a faculty sponsor and crafted a "routine" to Aaliyah's "Try Again" (this was 2000, the year the song came out, so it was pretty popular). After a few after school practices, we performed the...routine (I don't know what else to call it. It wasn't quite a dance and we didn't even have flags...it was just kind of stepping back and forth with hand motions) in the courtyard at break (break at that school was a 15 minute period for all grades to go outside). We didn't have costumes, so we wore gym shorts and t-shirts with iron-on transfers. I was singing the song to myself the entire time to remember the moves and, when we finished, we got some half-hearted applause, some jeering and a bunch of snickering. The guy I had a crush on, a junior, looked embarrassed to know me. A friend of his told me to quit counting the steps because it was "super obvious." As much as I hated switching schools the next year, that memory helped me be okay with it.
I'd attach a picture of what I looked like in 9th grade, but I'm fairly sure I destroyed most photo evidence of that time.
So, thanks Aaliyah. Your music inspired some young women to make assholes of themselves. But I'm still sorry you're dead and when I hear "Try Again," I still mentally do that routine in my head.