Dance is my first love.
I remember watching music videos (the very first ones) instead of Sesame Street at an early age, getting inspired.
My aunts, cousins, mom, grandma, and anyone else who knew me at a young age still joke how I would dance every house guest into a corner.
It was expected.
It was entertaining.
As the years went on, I began to gain weight.
I started noticing that I was bigger than a lot of other girls my age, so I have many pictures of myself in my teenage years where I am visibly uncomfortable.
So, I let my love for dance be something secretive or something I’d do in a dark nightclub where nobody ever really paid attention.
Fast forward to now.
I have made a decision to live my passion.
When I shared this decision with someone close to me, I was met with an incredulous look and laughter.
“I hope you mean you’re going to do dance videos as a joke!”
This response blindsided me.
I mean, I’ve seen the videos of the girl clapping her thighs together.
Is this the way it would be received?
So, I started recording videos.
At first, it was hard for me to watch without passing judgement on myself.
My stomach was too jiggly.
My booty was just a mass of gelatinous fat.
And let’s not even talk about the under arm flags…
But, I did it anyway.
My first video was with my daughter.
She loves dance and likes watching dance videos and learning them.
She is such a chip off the old block and makes my inner child so happy.
She challenged me to record and post a video of us dancing together.
I did it.
And it felt good.
Then, I decided to do a freestyle dance to the song Slow Motion by Trey Songz.
Again, it felt good.
But, nobody responded.
There were no words of encouragement.
Only a few of my friends even responded to it.
My mind starting whirring.
Could the naysayers be right? Am I just a big joke? Did I just create a face-palm moment for myself to be immortalized on the unforgiving Internet?
Then, I watched the video over and over again.
And I was filled with this immense feeling of pride and love for myself, something I hadn’t felt before.
Because, see, even when I was younger, my mother told me that I was being “cut off” from music videos, discouraging me from dancing.
She said I was being “too fast at a young age”.
Now, I can say that what anyone else thinks about my dancing does not matter.
I love it.
I love me.
And I am taking a stand for other women, big or small, who are being told or telling themselves that they are not beautiful, sexy, and talented.
And no one can take that away from us.