Hi. My name is Paola, and I’m a Dab-aholic. To the untrained mind, “Dabbing” may be news to you. I was in your shoes, and I wish I still was. The first time I heard of dabbing was on December 24th, 2015. I remember this day specifically, since our whole family decided to go to Las Vegas for the holidays. While waiting for our hotel room, two of my cousins were on their phones watching some YouTube video, and exclaiming in awe. In curiosity, I approached them, and this was the moment they introduced me to the dance move, “The Dab.” Initially, I thought the dance was, meh, but as a dance routine put together, I thought it was amazing since I can always appreciate a good dance video.
Fast forward a couple months into the year 2016 (maybe February or March), I meet Megan Choy, who in her own words, describes herself as a “meme.” Megan is many things, but she doesn’t hold back on a lot of her quirky mannerisms. She would ‘dab’, ‘whip’, say phrases and words erratically, but in an endearing way. One of the main reasons we are still friends is because of her uplifting personality.
Psychologically speaking, it’s no secret that mimicry or mirroring is inevitable after spending copious amounts with friends.
Initially, I thought nothing of dabbing...then I started seeing it everywhere from Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. It had become an international sensation--international meme! It was a way to call someone’s attention, to greet, and to prank, and was used as a dance move for a lot of catchy dance music. Since it was overwhelmingly popular, I felt the need to mock the craze.
And here is where the addiction began. I would dab on any occasion possible. To greet friends I passed down hallways, fake a high-five, use as a dance move as I was in the car, stopping in the middle of a room and dabbing back and forth carelessly, and honestly, the list goes on...
I noticed it had become a problem when I decided to count how many times I dabbed in a day. I lost count after 17. I confronted my friends, and this is the beginning of recovery.
THE DABBING DIARIES
Day 0: I sought help and confessed to my friends that I’ve been dabbing too much. At first I joked that if people gave me a quarter, I would stop dabbing. That didn’t turn out too well, because when I was handed a quarter, I dabbed to show my gratitude. Next was a slap to the hand from someone near me, that that also didn’t work, since I realized I could dab by myself, and I would not face the consequences. Finally, we decided that I should use a rubber band and flick myself on my wrist whenever I dabbed.
Day 1: I didn’t realize how hard this day would be. By the end of the day, my wrists were red and sore. I think I dabbed a total of 12 times, and I’m not lying when I say all of it was instinctual.
Day 2: Today, I actually tried, and I didn’t use the rubber band as much. Maybe a total of eight times. My friends started mocking me, since I was not supposed to dab. They would dab around me just to taunt me. When I watched them dab, I’d feel the urge on my shoulders (with physical pain), but I stopped myself.
Day 3: I still feel my shoulder hurt every time someone would dab. It's like a numbing pain. However, I was flicking the rubberband less and less. My day kind of felt a little boring.
Week 2: I haven’t dabbed in a while and I’ve been forgetting my rubber band at home. If I dabbed, I had a friend slap me on my hand. However, I started ‘whipping’ and the other dance move where you point both your fingers down (I don’t know the dance move name). My friends would say that this is the same as me dabbing, but I shrugged it off.
Week 3: I have significantly stopped dabbing and I’m honestly feeling great. I’ve dabbed a total of only 5 times this whole week! The shoulder and arm pain isn't as present as before.
Week 4: I don’t have my rubber band anymore; I don’t really remember the last time I dabbed. However, I’ve noticed that the people around me, such as Kalyn and Hanna, have been dabbing.
I think I realized why I started dabbing: It was a way for me to cope with my anxieties, insecurities, and awkwardness. I would dab, so people would have something to talk about. I would ‘dab’ my way out of awkward situations, and ‘dab’ instead of using words to communicate.
As I'm wandering down Cogswell's halls, I've been more aware of my surroundings. I've been told that ‘dabbing’ has become an epidemic. Kalyn has fully become how I was before. She's dabbing incessantly, and she's realized that she has a problem as well. She has decided to follow in my footsteps and utilize a rubber band as a way to end the addiction.
I’m grateful for this experience, because now I feel like I’m actually socializing in a more “normal” way. I’m no longer hiding behind a ‘meme’ and I’m being more like myself. My face has seen more faces, and appreciated more of my surroundings, since I stopped planting my face into my arm whenever I dabbed.