I remember when I was a little girl around 10 or 11 years old. My mother, my stepdad and I were living in an Brooklyn apartment watching our black and white television. The Ed Sullivan Show was on and his guess for that night was The Alvin Alley Dancers. As I sat on the floor in front of the TV I became glued to the screen as these beautiful men and women dressed in bright colorful leotards gracefully dancing across the stage. The way they expressed themselves with their bodies to the rhythm of the music was intriguing. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. The Alvin Alley American Dance Theater was one of the most successful dance companies in the world. Full of excitement and determination and so happy to know what my dream was, what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told my mother that I wanted to be a Alvin Alley dancer. I want to dance just like them mom. Gracefully dancing across the stage. No! it won’t happen my stepdad said. You won’t be picked. There will be 200 girls auditioning for a chance to be one of those dancers and you won’t be picked. He told me I wouldn’t make it, I didn’t have what it took to be a dancer let alone a Alvin Alley dancer. My heart was broken and the excitement was gone. I was confused. How did he know this why did he say that. How did those dancers on tv make it. What did I know, he was the adult and I was the child. He knew better than I did right? Wrong. Today I often wondered what would have happen if he didn’t discourage me from trying out. What would have happen if I went down to that dance studio and just tried. I would never know. When I became a mother I promised myself that I would never discourage my kids from their goals and dreams as long as it didn’t cause harm to themselves or others. Fear was instilled in me and when I became a teenager and a young adult I still loved dancing but would immediately stop thinking about it because I believed what was told to me. Afraid of failing, or being rejected like my stepdad told me I would be. If you get a chance listen to the words of Lee Ann Womack:
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder, you get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger. May you never take one single breath for granted, God forbid love ever leave you empty handed. I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance and when you get the choice to sit it our or dance, I hope you dance, I hope you dance. Stay Well.