Secret is Out
Picture it Northwest Arkansas 1998.....only my fellow Golden Girls lovers will get that lol. I was a freshman in college; this little girl from Camden, AR stretching her wings and learning to fly. I was a tomboy learning to be a "girl"...heck, I'm still a tomboy. I've just learned to balance the two. Anyway, I was discovering who I was and I wasn't doing a good job of it but I was trying. When you grow up in the country, you're not exposed to a lot. You have a limited view of what's possible. So when you're exposed to so much at the same time, it can take your breath away. That was me.....all this exposure and I didn't know what to do with it. Yes, I had traveled but it was for things I thought I was interested in. This was different because I was seeing things I only dreamed about. It was a lot and I was in awe.
All these students with talents and gifts. All these students with dreams and goals that made me question mine. They were living out loud while I was living everything but my truth. So I tried to fit in, follow a crowd, any crowd. I tried student government...that was fun but it wasn't it for me. I tried Honors College. I was smart but I wasn't that dedicated. I tried being Pre-Med....that was an epic fail. I tried the flag corp and that was fun too but the commitment after proved I wasn't cut out for that either. I joined a sorority and I love my Z Phi and my Frat. I was getting close, or so I thought. I competed in a pageant and won. It made me feel pretty because I didn't really believe I was.
In 2001, I competed in a poetry slam competition and won third place and a chance to go to Chicago to compete nationally. I was on a high! I was so excited! This was it...this was me living out loud. You'd think I would have been on the first plane to Chicago to pursue the thing that made my heart skip a beat. Nope, I never went. Why not? Because I still didn't believe it was possible or that I was worthy so I let a man..no a boy convince me that staying there with him was more important. Yup, I was still just living and this time it was for someone else.
Then, there was this girl I went to college with. She was and still is amazing to me. I remember the first time I saw her dance on the Pom Squad. Santresa, that's not a big deal. Ummmm, at a PWI, seeing a brown girl on the squad is a big deal. Anywho, she didn't know it but I admired her. She always danced with such passion and joy. When she danced, I saw myself dancing. It was my secret passion. It was a secret because I NEVER thought I could do that, be that. I didn't think I was pretty enough, small enough, or fit enough. I didn't have any dance experience but I could see myself doing all those moves, exciting the crowd and dancing until I was exhausted. I never told a soul but I made plans to try out and I talked myself out of it. My secret stayed that way for almost two decades.
Fast forward to now....I've spent years watching my babygirl dance and compete. I would learn her dances and would perfect ever move. Yes, it was to help her but it was also my way of living one of my passions without anyone knowing it. Well, 2017 has been my year of yes, my year of my best yet. I've said yes to things that scared the crap out of me. I've shared secrets, dreams and goals. I've watched things manifest all because I decided to take a risk, say yes and just believe. On 8.4.17, I got to live my secret passion out loud and take a Beyoncé inspired dance class from guess who....the woman that I stood in awe of in college and she doesn't know it (well she will once she reads this). I danced my heart out! I danced like I've been doing it all my life. It was just fun for others but for me, it was my moment to say yes again. I didn't realize the impact this moment would have on my life but it ignited something in me that I wasn't willing to let go of.
I left on a high! I knew that feeling. It was the same feeling I got every time I sang or wrote. That passion, that fire, that unyielding tug. I made a post. I put it in the atmosphere. Four days later, Angel called me and said, "That video I'm in, they need another dancer. Do you want to do it?" I laughed. I wanted to cry. I said yes! God will make you laugh when you say yes because He will blow whatever you think your yes looks like out of the water. That night I went to rehearsal for my first PAID gig and last night I danced and acted with NO professional experience. I have a dance and acting resume now because I said yes. I didn't consider my qualifications. I didn't consider what anyone else could do. I just walked in my yes and once again lived out loud.
I don't know what's in store for my dance life but I know it's going to be amazing. I'm signing up for classes because perfecting any craft I have is important to me. I'm 37 and I'm a dancer. I still laugh every time I think about it. People will tell you what you can or can't do because of your age or your qualifications but what did God say?? People will try to shrink you in their box but it's up to you to refuse to let them put you there. It's not too late. You can still live that secret passion out loud. As long as it's burning on the inside of you, you still have time. All you have to do is say yes.
I'm saying yes to it all because I'd rather say why not instead of wondering what if.