I have a love/hate relationship with the “On This Day” feature on Facebook. There are days I have cried happy tears (like today, looking at a video from my class reunion a few years ago when we were up there doing one of our old dance routines in formal dresses and very expensive suits) and days I have cried my heart out (remembering pain and death and needing support from my Facebook family).
And today, I found this note. It’s eight years old. Imagine this as a conversation with myself. There are things I still struggle with but I have come so far. I hope it will spark a dialogue within your beautiful self knowing that you too have grown and it’s o.k. to ask questions and not have answers. They will come; even if it’s eight years later.
In an e-mail I received today, a young lady who has taken a few of my classes stated the most interesting observation about me. She said something to the effect that I must really have a lot of self/body confidence to “move” the way I do. I broke out in laughter. ME? Confident? BODY CONFIDENT? Was she for real? If only she knew how many days I stood in front of the mirror in tears, distraught over these stretch marks that wrap around my body like the equator, my thighs that keep jumping after I stand still and the baby fat I am still carrying in lower belly even though this child starts kindergarten next week.
And then I had to stop………..
I still have stretch marks and that baby is about to start eight grade on Monday. I realize that what I have is not baby fat. It is left over skin from being very overweight. Yes, I’m frustrated with it. I realize it is not going away unless I surgically remove it which I have considered. I still have big thighs; always have, always will. However, I have just really grown into owning what “this;’ my body, has turned into while battled adrenal and thyroid issues, stress and age. When I stopped fighting, my body did too. Lately, we have called a truce. Not sure we are BFF’s yet but at least we are having a conversation.
2009: At 34 years old, I am STILL the girl who will drop it like it’s hot in the grocery store if my song comes on. I can roll with the best of them, krump triple time, shake and vibrate like I am on fire and, when my knees are healthy, drop it, pick it back up and not lose a beat. I have always been this way. And it’s not in a “hoochie” sort of way. I am just a wild, expressive girl. I have been put in the back line for it. I have been pulled out of routines for it. And now, looking back, I don’t know if I really cared because I always went back to doing “me”. Maybe I really do I have a little bit of confidence. Because if you’ve seen me move, you know I mean it when I do it. And I’m good at it. 🙂
2017: At 42 years old, I will still go crazy, anywhere, if I hear my song. Shortly after I wrote this, like less than two weeks, I did have knee surgery and achilles surgery a couple of years after that so my body doesn’t do what it used to but I think I can still hang. 🙂 I am that wild, expressive girl in a way. I still get low key punished for it in a way. I still do me. All the time. You know the scene from “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” This Little Light of Mine? Yeah. That’s me. 🙂
I think I “believe” I am “supposed” to have issues because people have always “reminded” me of my issues. If only I had a dollar for every time I heard how big my butt is. I can remember my dance teacher wrote on the board how much weight we all needed to lose. EVERYBODY around me is always complaining about their belly fat. When I used to have large breasts, they were ALWAYS an issue, ESPECIALLY if you are a dancer trying to squeeze those suckers into some spandex or even an exercise bra when you trying to get your fitness on. No man has ever complimented my jiggly thighs. And, really, is it ever considered “talent” when a woman dances like me or is it usually seen as “sexual”? (Just a little side note: has anybody ever watched authentic African dance? I am what I am.) I wonder if I dance hard because there is a beat inside of me trying to get out… am I angry, oppressed, denied? And I don’t just dance like this to hip hop. Ever seen the video of me dancing to “When I Think About Jesus?” They had to convince me not to jump off the stage with both feet in fear that I would break both my ankles. Yep. It’s that serious.
Well, I would like to say I have been complimented on my thighs. 🙂 And I am still surrounded by people who have body issues. That doesn’t mean I have to have one. I still go all in; Zumba, barre, church, African, soca, modern, all of it. I think I DO have something in me that’s trying to get out. It’s my story. It’s hurt. It’s my expression of my oppression.
2009: This moment right here is the one that matters. And what I am realizing is YES. I do have quite a bit of confidence but I haven’t confident enough to show that I am confident. I move with intensity, with femininity, with grace, with power, with love, with hope, with stretch marks, flabby thighs and baby fat, with authenticity. All of that makes up Tasha. And how could I ever be ashamed of that?
2017: I’m not ashamed of it. I am now confident enough to show I am confident and that translates to giving others permission to show them they can show their confidence too.
Growth is a beautiful thing.