I had that triathlon in my mind for what seemed like so long, once it was over with I actually felt a little empty without having some big intimidating goal to work towards. It made me start thinking about what other sorts of things I could accomplish, which is probably the very best reason to do something that scares the shit out of you.

There are some maybe-silly, maybe-awesome things I want to do in the next year—things I’ve always just assumed I can’t do, or that I’ve been too freaked out to try. Like climbing that big-assed rock wall at the REI store, skating with a roller derby practice group, and taking part in a writing group. Also on my list: learn the Thriller dance. Because, well, everything about the Thriller dance is made of awesome. I didn’t know how, but I knew I wanted to do it.

A few days ago I stumbled onto a page seemingly custom-designed to make my dreams come TRUE. How could I pass this up? Sure, I can’t dance and I’m socially anxious and oh yeah, I can’t dance, but what the hell, right? I shanghaied Ashley into agreeing to do it with me, and all week I’ve been getting progressively more worried about the big group rehearsal. I watched some how-to videos which just made me more nervous: that routine is hard, man. I sort of thought the zombies just staggered around and rarrrr’d in unison with a few jazz hands or something, but no, there’s actual choreography in there.

What if I tripped and fell? What if I was facing one way while everyone else was facing the other way? What if I couldn’t do any of the moves at ALL and I had to just go and sit in the corner and burn with shame?

Do I even have to tell you that none of those things happened and it was actually incredibly fun and I had a fantastic, sweaty, successful time?

The SCARE! maneuver, which involves being scary.

The signature Thriller move, the ROAR!

On Saturday, October 24, Ashley and I are going to take part in the Thrill the World event and dance the Thriller routine in full costume and makeup in downtown Seattle. It sounds like something that anyone would do for fun and not a big deal at all, right? But it kind of is, for me. It’s about actively chasing down goals and going outside of my comfort zone and just, I don’t know, not being so stifled by my own self-imposed limitations.

Yes, I really did just get all introspective and shit over a bunch of dancing zombies. So much in life is about zombies, really.

Anyway, if you need further proof that learning a choreographed dance routine is in fact a really, REALLY big challenge for me, here you go:


88 Responses to “Lessons from the undead”

  1. Steph the WonderWorrier on October 12th, 2009 1:27 pm

    OMG. That is the most incredibly awesome thing I’ve ever heard of! I’m sooo jealous! I wish I was doing something like that!

    I was a dancer growing up, and I so want to find an adult dance class now. I really miss it!

  2. Lesley on October 12th, 2009 1:49 pm

    A fantastic, enormously fun idea. Go Seattle! It reminds me of that Youtube of a wedding party doing the Thriller Dance, INCLUDING THE BRIDE.
    The only thing I can think that would be more scary-challenging is a Shakira dance off.

    Please, you must take video on October 24th.

  3. Jen L on October 12th, 2009 2:24 pm

    So cool! I love this idea! So much, in fact that I checked out the Seattle area web site to see if I could get in on the action too, but with my two left feet and off-the-charts spaz factor, I’m not sure I could learn it well enough in 12 days to be part of the gang. I’m going to try to learn it on my own for sure though, and hopefully next year I’ll be ready. I don’t want to let down the zombie horde.

    The really important question though, is what are you doing for a costume and makeup?

    Oh, and I just saw Whip It Saturday night – it’s no Oscar winner, but it was really fun, and made me decide I’m going to some Rat City Roller Girls matches!

  4. Stacy on October 12th, 2009 2:40 pm

    First of all, the dance is awesome, all of my friends wanna learn it so we can just bust it out somewhere randomly in public but also I live in Seattle too and have also wanted to try that rock wall forever now.

  5. Ashlea on October 12th, 2009 2:51 pm

    Linda – Please do yourself a favor.

    Read about http://www.humansvszombies.org .
    Then find a local chapter around Seattle or create one.

    You can thank me later. :3

    Ashlea who will be flying back to her college next year for the sole purpose of playing another game a year after she graduated.

  6. Steph the WonderWorrier on October 12th, 2009 3:40 pm

    I am back.

    I’ve found the Toronto one! I’m a little late to get into it for this year, but YOU BET I will be doing this Thriller thing next year! OMG. I’m so excited now. hahaha. Thanks for posting this, prompting me to learn that such a thing exists!!!

  7. CBO on October 12th, 2009 3:40 pm

    Zombieland was the funniest movie of the last year.

    Btw, Linda your husbands company made the front page of Gizmodo.com


  8. Sonia on October 12th, 2009 4:01 pm

    Oh Linda, you just made my day. I fucking love you man!

  9. Craig on October 12th, 2009 4:04 pm

    You should have a pretty good sized crowd, as Occidental Park also happens to be where the Seattle Sounders pre-game festivities will commence at 6PM. Stick around for that after your dance, as there are few things more entertaining than rowdy, drunken soccer fans chanting and singing before a game.

  10. Amy on October 12th, 2009 4:25 pm

    That was friggin’ hysterical. I think Dylan has some moves in him!! It is harder than it looks. My 7yo son joined a theatre group this year (his alternative to soccer) and I’ve worked a couple of the rehearsals. It looks relatively simple at first, but when you get a room full of 60 6-12 year olds trying to all do the choreography to music….dang. Go get ’em zombie queen!!

  11. The Betty Crocker Experiment on October 12th, 2009 4:28 pm

    When I was little, my mom let me watch Thriller. Okay….except my dad owned a funeral home.


    Actually, you just showed one of my biggest fears….a group of people performing the thriller dance.

    And now it is time for a Paxil.

  12. Danell on October 12th, 2009 6:19 pm

    Hee heee heeeeeeee!

    You know, even if you danced the wrong way the WHOLE time, you’d LOOK FABULOUS doing it!!

  13. Bachelor Girl on October 12th, 2009 6:58 pm

    OMG I’M SO JEALOUS! You’re doing a pretty good job so far!

  14. Alina on October 12th, 2009 7:25 pm

    People tend to think that if they can just change how they feel about something, they’ll be able to do it. As if they’ll be able to stand up to their spouse if they can just start to believe in their own power.

    The truth is that it’s the other way around. You’ll change the belief after you’ve acted. Which is what you’re doing. You’re getting out there, being social, and once you’ve done that you’ll start to believe in your ability to be social.

    Blah, blah, blah, psycho-babble means: fuck yeah, Linda!

  15. Craig on October 12th, 2009 7:36 pm

    Ha! One of my girl friends learned the Thriller Dance as a New Years Resolution last year. She busts it out at every wedding reception and impromptu dance party she attends. Once you learn this, you will win fans and friends everywhere you go.

    Keep up the good work!

  16. Mandy on October 12th, 2009 8:33 pm

    That was awesome. I think MJ would have been proud of you!

  17. Jennie on October 12th, 2009 9:34 pm

    That is too funny! You are so brave. I live in a town where they would never host something like that. Ever since I saw the Bounce dance tribute in Stockholm, I’ve convinced myself that I want to learn the Beat It dance more than anything else in this world at the moment. Problem: absolutely NOT coordinated in any capacity then throw in choreography and it’s all over. I’ve come close to injury many times. Best of luck to you and can’t wait to see more video!!

  18. Ashley on October 12th, 2009 10:19 pm

    Can’t WAIT!

  19. Leah on October 12th, 2009 10:20 pm

    As sum1 who don’t know the Thriller dance, I’m offended that UR flaunting UR mad skillz on UR personal blog.

  20. wordygirl on October 12th, 2009 10:27 pm

    You are the hottest zombie EVER. And your mini-zombies are obviously very helpful and supportive.

    I am in awe of you for doing this, and regret that there is no similar event nearby (and no, with 11 days to go, I could NOT organize it).

  21. Christine on October 13th, 2009 4:49 am

    Seriously? Adopt me? You’re awesome.

  22. Tia on October 13th, 2009 5:34 am

    I think your going to be a you-tube hit, seriously!

  23. Jaidnoire on October 13th, 2009 6:11 am

    You are my hero!
    That was incredible…

  24. Colleen on October 13th, 2009 6:19 am

    Love the boys dancing, and you too! I am so inspired by the way you set goals to take yourself out of your comfort zone. I wish I could be in Seattle to see the big event!

  25. Angella on October 13th, 2009 9:40 am

    I’m still bummed that I wasn’t able to join you guys.

    That video, however, is cheering me up.

  26. charissa on October 13th, 2009 10:17 am

    You know what? GO YOU.

    I love organized dances and despite having *talked* about getting people together to do the Thriller dance at one of the 8,386,732 weddings I’ve been to this summer (or last summer) I have yet to do it — and I like dancing!

    I am inspired by you to look up if Thrill The World is doing something in my hometown too. If so, I have no excuse not to get off my zombie ass and join in.

  27. sue on October 13th, 2009 11:32 am

    oh…i’m sorry..were you doing a dance or something? i totally missed that. i was too busy staring at your TOTALLY PERFECT ASS.


    also..you are so awesome, and brave, and just….pretty much everything i wish i could be. can’t wait to see you all zombied up and dancing on the actual day. :D

  28. Chelsea Talks Smack on October 13th, 2009 12:24 pm


  29. M.A. on October 13th, 2009 1:15 pm

    L — I don’t have a twitter account, so I have to comment here — re: Charmin bears — RIGHT ON. I stopped buying the stuff because of those nasty-butt tree-rubbing bears. Gah-ross.

  30. megan on October 13th, 2009 1:22 pm

    Wow, I think I love you. Even more so for posting this!! I’ve always wished I could do the thriller dance, but somehow I think there would be much flailing of limbs, and not in a good way.

  31. victoria on October 13th, 2009 2:15 pm

    “It’s about actively chasing down goals and going outside of my comfort zone and just, I don’t know, not being so stifled by my own self-imposed limitations.” You’re so right. I was a fan even when you wrote mostly about how your pets’ fur would get stuck to your moisturized face in the wintertime, but your blog is even cooler, now.

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