How Hip Hop Saved my Life
Today is the one year anniversary of one of the best, most magical days of my life: the day of my very first dance recital, at age 34 and 11 months. Yes I know that sounds strange—what the hell is a 34 year old woman doing in a dance recital? And why is she reporting her age using months like a six year old?! ;)
When I was a little girl, all my friends took dance classes. The really cool girls took two or three—jazz, tap and ballet. I loved to dance and remember asking my mom if I could take classes and she reluctantly said no. The thing is those damn classes were (and are) really expensive, not to mention the costumes, shoes, etc. etc.
So I went on my merry way and danced whenever I could. Some of my little friends would teach me their dance routines in our suburban bedrooms and we would pretend to prepare for a big performance. Later I would let loose at middle and high school dances and in college I loved dancing to hip hop at frat parties, at clubs in Canada (I’m from Buffalo, that’s what you do), and otherwise going out with my friends.
I remember my mom once saying to me after a wedding or something that she felt the happiest when she was dancing. I agree. Not just any dancing though—the kind where you really let loose and don’t care what anyone else thinks, the kind where you experience true Freedom and Joy.
Fast forward over a decade and I was pursuing my Spiritual Psychology degree at University of Santa Monica. I was in my second year and having to come up with my final project—pursuing a heartfelt dream- something you have always wanted deep in your heart but maybe you never thought you were good enough or thought it was silly, impractical or not a priority. We were to work on this throughout our entire second year and at the end of the year present our final project.
Some people were writing books, some were learning instruments, some were learning languages, surfing, golfing, rapping, stand-up comedy—you name it. I was gonna learn to hip hop dance. My inner performer, who was stuffed way down deep inside and not allowed to come out in the past, was crying to come out and play and dance and be free in front of an audience. The idea of learning a dance and performing it in front of others made my heart pound, my palms sweat, and my stomach turn- that’s how I knew it was the right project for me. :)
“What is the point of this?” you might ask. For me, the point was learning that by pursuing something my heart yearned for, something that was “only” about making me giddy and excited with no “real” practical value, I was able to shift literally everything in my life.
By taking steps every day for 9 months towards this “little project of mine”-- going to my first dance class, finding a twenty-something dance instructor to teach me private lessons, picking the songs I would dance to (clearly a mash-up of “Shake it Off”, “Bang Bang,” and “Uptown Funk”!), going to Toronto to work with a designer to create my very own recital costume, special ordering hot pink high tops online that have my birth year stitched on the side (1980 baby!), going to pilates and water aerobics classes to get strong and make sure my hip hop dancing didn’t cause an injury, getting hot pink extensions in my hair, planning an event at a club in Santa Monica where I would perform, along with 16 of my classmates, in front of over 200 people—I literally transformed myself into the Hip Hop Princess I always wanted to be. My inner twelve-year old was jumping for joy-- I was finally becoming truly outrageous like Jem!!
But the funny thing was, by focusing my energies on pursuing this “frivolous, impractical” dream, suddenly everything around me started to shift in positive ways. When I was going to dance class, I felt Joy like I hadn’t remembered feeling in a really, really long time. Suddenly I started to think, “What if I allowed myself to expect this level of Joy in all areas of my life?” Holy sh*t! Holy game changer, Batman.
It was after getting home from hip hop class one random Tuesday night that I felt true clarity for the first time in nine years that it was time to let my relationship go. It wasn’t after couples counseling or talking about it on the phone with my friends for the 800th time. It was after hip hop class. I got home and I felt free and clear and happy. And suddenly I knew—we both deserved to feel this way in our relationship too. I wasn’t even crying. I was clear and calm.
It was after hip hop that I knew that it was time to let myself move to California. I had wanted to for a really long time and convinced myself I couldn’t. Suddenly I felt like I could do it and I was ready. It didn’t happen for many more months but that moment of clarity put everything into motion.
Energetically I felt strong enough to be SEEN for the first time in a long time. I felt Freedom and Joy I hadn’t felt in so long (if ever). My body reacted by shedding the pounds that had been hiding me for a couple years and even my hair color became a “look at me!” blonde. (Magically I swear! ;))
After my performance was complete, I told my mom that I remember wanting to take dance classes as a kid and her saying no because it was too much money. She said she didn’t remember that, but then she said “You know, it’s funny- I was just telling Grandma how I wanted to take dance classes as a little girl and she wouldn’t let me.” I almost fell off my chair. On some level, I think my “little project” was not only fulfilling a heartfelt dream for me, but for my mom too.
If you had everything you needed to make it happen, what would your heart want to do in this life? Not for any other reason than to bring yourself Joy. How could you embrace that dream, even with a tiny step? Discuss in the comments below!
With Hot Pink High Tops and Heartfelt Dreams,
6/11/2016 10:11:29 pm
I love you and I was in complete joy watching you dance a year ago:)
6/12/2016 09:59:28 am
You go hip hop Tina! What an inspiring story of claiming what we want for ourselves at any age. Hugs to you! Amy Day
6/12/2016 04:02:44 pm
I too was in so much joy watching you dance. I am so grateful that you moved to Los Angeles. I love you!
6/12/2016 04:42:09 pm
Thank you lovely Lena!!
6/13/2016 12:43:22 am
Love it! Dance, girl,dance!
6/13/2016 07:51:39 am
Thank you lovely!!
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Tina Meyers is an Intuitive Coach and Feminine Leadership Facilitator and the founder of Women Advocates Rising and WARRIOR SCHOOL. She is a former attorney, and a seeker of creativity, courage, aliveness, and transformation in her own life and the lives of others.