Author: Stacy Kamala Waltman
I met a woman in Rhode Island at a seminar who loved to dance. She loved it so much that even when she talked about dancing, her fact lit up with an infectious smile. She had an energy that made your senses perk up and there was a lilt to her voice that suggested a brewing giggle about to emerge – and we all wanted to be around when it bubbled up.
She looked as if she was originally from the Caribbean dressing in bright colors: orange, turquoise and red that accentuated bronze skin. She was unique and a hug from her was like getting wrapped in a warm, soft blanket. Oh, and that bodacious smile! It lit up the room.
She revealed to us that she loves to dance. In dance all the trials and tribulations in her life are put into perspective and she is better able to manage life’s complexities. For her, dance is expression, exercise, connection and beauty.
Over the course of our class we learned this vibrant woman is actually depressed. Being deeply religious she is surrounded by people from church who tell her she shouldn’t go out and move her body, gyrating to hypnotic music. These friends say that God really wouldn’t approve of her “sensual” dancing and they believe it is a sin to continue.
To appease these friends and keep in line with the views of her church, she sometimes limits the amount of time spent on this form of art.
When not dancing, she has more time to become mired in her life; challenges with kids, health, work, and helping others with their life’s issues. But, without the ability to express her passion, the quality of her contributions to these people and “responsibilities” diminishes. She becomes tired and depleted.
Eventually it is hard to dance at all ~ she’s too exhausted. It became more and more difficult to find her natural rhythm anyway and even the idea of dancing is too much effort. It’s all for the best, she says; her friends have started talking to her again – now that she isn’t dancing.
When she spoke to us of these “responsible” times in her life – the times when she put dancing aside and ignored her passion, denied the freedom to feel deeply and express herself fully, her eyes became dull and her vibrancy muted.
If you asked her how she felt when she wasn’t dancing, she answered as if reading from a script. She said it was easier to focus on the more important things now.
Living on opposite sides of the country, I don’t have much occasion to run into this lovely woman and I often wonder how she is and if she has found balance in her life. Her passion, her love, one of the best expressions of herself was through dance and I wonder how she is coping without this freedom.
I also wonder if she has found friends who are more accepting of her or if she has changed churches. But mostly I wonder if her neighborhood and children continue to be blessed with her smile. I wonder if she eases someone’s burden just by being her warm and caring self or if she has robbed the world of her gaiety just to fit in.
When do we stop expressing ourselves and stifle our uniqueness in an effort to mold into someone’s idea of who we should be? How many times do we adapt ourselves and as a result become just like everyone else; numbing and dumbing down?
Your power lies in your distinctness. Do things differently than they have ever been done before. Step out and shake your tail feather.
Every time you support someone else efforts to be authentic especially if it goes against how you think things “should be” you get a little closer to accepting and increasing your own unique traits.
We are here for only a short time. Be an inspiration to others. Live your life with passion. Dare to be unique and have fun. Dance ~ Laugh ~ Breath Deeply ~ Express Joy ~ this is your life. You have the power to bring your self into full view and be seen.
May your life be filled with lightheartedness and may you be an inspiration to all!