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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Dancing Through the Bullshit


To say that my time as a Marine Security Guard in Lima, Peru from August 2000 to March 2001 was challenging would be an understatement. Notably, it wasn’t difficult solely because the land area of Peru was classified as a designated hostile fire or imminent danger pay area at the time.


What was originally meant to be a 15-month assignment was cut short, due tension with fellow Marines regarding various petty matters. Back then, I didn’t know about Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and how I was self-disturbing about the problems I experienced.


Therefore, my method of coping with Marine detachment issues was to lose myself in music. The house in which I lived had a fully-stocked gym that other Marines rarely used. Part of my emotional escape was within the walls of that workout area while listing to hip hop music.


I spent many hours sweating while performing cardio and muscular training to rap albums. Although I wasn’t able to control the behavior of other Marines, I found that disappearing into the gym while perspiring to rhythmic beats was a cathartic experience. In layperson’s terms, I felt better through practice of escapism.


A couple floors above the gym was my room, in which I had two Pioneer CDJ-100S decks, a Pioneer DJM-300 mixer, a Tascam CD-RW700 CD burner, a Korg Kaoss Pad, an American Audio V3000 power amp, a couple Wright Bros 15” two-way loudspeakers, and various other DJ equipment.


When at home and not in the gym, I’d spin track after track of electronic dance music (EDM) for hours on end—generally through use of Pioneer headphones. One album I enjoyed at the time was Tranceport 3 by Sandra Collins. Describing her, one source states:


Collins’s style of trance has been called “emotional,” a term that “reveals some gender stereotyping by the mostly male dance-music press,” wrote music critic Martin Johnson in the Washington Post, “but it refers to her occasional use of keening, on-the-verge-of-tears vocals over galloping rhythms.”


I can attest to the “emotional” state of being I experienced while listening to Collins’ music, though this is admittedly a subjective memory. What I recall is that Tranceport 3 provided a pleasant distraction to the many irrational beliefs with which I was bombarded while in Lima.


REBT uses the ABC model to demonstrate how when Actions occur, a person self-disturbingly Believes something about these events, and because of these unhelpful assumptions an individual then experiences unpleasant Consequences in the form of emotional, bodily sensation, or behavioral responses.


I sometimes substitute “bullshit” for the word “belief” so that I can place adequate focus on the part of an ABC event chain which causes self-disturbance. When one tells oneself bullshit, it’s the belief that creates a smelly situation.


If my memory serves me right, I remember seeing Sandra Collins spin at a convention center rave when I was in Lima. My friend “Chaparrita” and I went to the event and unless I’m mistaken, Darren Emerson was also spinning that night.


Chaparrita was my go-to rave buddy and we both partied sober. With the frequent bullshit I told myself about the Marines of Lima and their behavior toward me, I didn’t need to alter my mental and emotional state any further. Smelliness of my beliefs made way for negative emotion.


I experienced enough bullshit-fueled anger to provide me energy for dancing the night away. And dance, I did! I danced through the bullshit as Collins’ spun, while Chaparrita provided a judgement-free experience, and as my clothes became drenched in sweat.


If I recall correctly, Chaparrita and I stepped outside for fresh air not long after Collins’ set and I think I saw the DJ get into a vehicle and disappear into the night. I wondered if Sandra Collins knew how much her set meant to me in that moment. I undoubtedly felt better than I had before attending the rave.


Alas, all things come to an end—the good, bad, and neutral times I experienced in Lima. And although I learned how to endure the consequences of bullshit I told myself about the problems I faced back then, feeling better was merely a transient delay for suffering inherent in life.


It wasn’t until I began practicing REBT when I realized that while feeling better is an acceptable momentary strategy for dealing with bullshit, I wasn’t learning how to tolerate and accept myself, others, and life so that I could actually get better overall—and not merely feel better.


Now, my days and nights of dancing are long behind me. Nevertheless, as I listen to Tranceport 3 while writing this blogpost, I’m grateful for how far I’ve come in my mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being since Lima.


Likewise, I’m grateful for the tunes and memories influenced by Sandra Collins. Dear reader, if you find that coping with the bullshit you tell yourself has its limits and you’re not actually getting better through practice of escapism, I may be able to help.


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As the world’s original EDM-influenced REBT psychotherapist—promoting content related to EDM, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters. 


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW



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