For years I apologized for who I was. I let people label me, put me in a box, and tell me what I did or didn’t deserve. But now, I no longer stand in silence. I no longer give permission to those who try to speak for me, and I no longer live in shame of who I am. I do not apologize for my strengths, my weaknesses, my story, and I definitely do not apologize for the woman that I am.
Believing in our shame and living through the lens of it, is one of the most debilitating ways to live. We change who we are and become a false version of ourselves; a picture perfect version, that asks for our identities to be defined by others. We lose our childlike wonder and fearlessness. That little girl who once danced in glittery pink leggings and a poofy tulle skirt now afraid of what she once loved.
I used to be that girl. I grew up as a dancer, and for eleven years, I dedicated my heart and soul to my craft. I came to realize the moment I stepped on stage, a rush of pure confidence and joy came over me. It was an art to me, a way of creatively expressing myself. But looking back on that now, I know I loved the art because I loved the stage. Performing on stage was the one place I gave myself the permission to be me. Countless hours in the studio, technical training, practicing in the living room of my house, and rehearsing the pieces over and over again in my head while I sat in class; all for just those few minutes of pure confidence on stage. If I wasn’t on stage, I wasn’t myself. I was shy, afraid to speak up, swallowed by the words of others. Although it seems beautiful and fulfilling to have an outlet that makes you feel this way, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to feel confident and true to myself every once in a while, for just a few minutes. And it felt even worse after I stopped dancing. I had to find other outlets, and that’s what put me behind the lens of a camera and in front of a blank canvas.
It wasn’t until very recently, after years of reflection and self development where I began to find my truth. It wasn’t until I delved into my mistakes, my pain, my demons, and my desires where I found the woman I knew I was, the woman with confidence, a voice, and a purpose. Writing, working with others, meeting new people, sharing my passions, putting myself out there, and dipping my toes into every creative avenue has allowed me to see my raw and real self.
As cheesy as it sounds, the world has become my stage, and I’m excited to finally feel that way. I’ve realized it wasn’t just the act of dancing that made me feel this way, it was the feeling of freedom. It was the feeling of having a voice, of putting myself out there, and making people feel something.
I believe every woman is capable of feeling this. Every woman is capable of feeling confident through their authenticity, without having to apologize for it. It just takes a leap out of our comfort zones where we find our voice.
Be you without apology. Be the little girl with the glittery leggings and the tulle skirt that danced around boldly and without a care.
What gives you the feeling of freedom?