Day 3 — Leave It All On The Dance Floor

By Sarah Boison

People look at me and think that I’m a happy-go-lucky person.

But, there are days where I just want people to shut up. There are even days where I just want to slap, punch, and kick the hell out of people.

Be glad for Jesus.

Webster defines anger as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostality.

And today, I’m enraged. I’m like a tea kettle that’s been on the stove too long or a pot of rice that’s starting to turn brown at the bottom. But the one thing that keeps me calm — Jesus.

I’ve gotten to the point where I use silence as a means of control, for fear that I’ll just say screw it, blah, blah, blah…[insert 50 curse words here]. BUT GOD.

I didn’t always have the ability to manage my anger.

When I was younger, the events that shaped my childhood, the lack of safety at home, my crazy mother and sister hitting me and slapping me, nearly breaking my nose (see: schizophrenia), all of it compounded on itself and I lost it in the classroom.

I hated my classmates. I hated everyone.

When those foolish girls left me out of games at recess, I took the ball and hit them in the face. When this chubby boy in 8th grade made fun of me, I took my purse and smacked him in the face.

I managed to be valedictorian of my middle school class and some wack little girl wanted to get her “goons” to beat me up for doing better than her in school (welcome to Prince George’s County). I said GIRL BYE, I will sit on you. Needless to say — nothing happened.

I cared not about anyone’s feelings — especially when my own were at stake.

I didn’t feel like anyone cared at home (that turned out to be false because my dad did), so why should I care about others?

So, I took out my anger on the dance floor. Not many people know that I started dancing with a ballet company at age 8.

And initially, I sucked at it.

I didn’t have the right body or the right clothes (see: Misty Copeland — currently killing the game, thank you). I cried. No, I sobbed in the bathroom and the girls, yet again laughed at me because my boobs hadn’t grown in. Well thanks — I was 8, what did you expect?

I refused to give up. I dragged my dad to the dance store and got all things Capezio. #forthewin

I practiced in class, during breaks, in the basement, in my room, outside, in the kitchen, in the living room. Dance became my life. It became my outlet. It became my stress ball.

And I was finally good at it. Like solo-worthy, slaying people left and right because my freestyle artistry game was so tight, even the boys said, “dannggg.”

It became one of the things that kept me away from suicide. Because I thought about killing myself often.

I was just another black girl in the background, with the soft spoken voice, mending a broken heart.

When my mother or sister would have their schizophrenic outbursts and go on a rampage — I’d lock my door and disappear into the world of music.

I learned entire Janet Jackson routines in my basement before I even understood what she was saying. You couldn’t tell me nothing when a Destiny’s Child song came on, I had the choreography on LOCK.

And then one day it came to a halt.

During an Easter performance at church, they gave us outfits that were clearly made for skinny girls. Well — I was and will never be skinny.

God built me like a Ford truck— like a rock, with glorious curves. #blessings

I put the outfit on and it didn’t fit. I did my best to do what I could, but it wouldn’t fit. We didn’t have a fitting before-hand and because this happened right before a performance, I had to sit it out.

I went into the bathroom and cried. I cried because I wanted to dance and some crazy lady in the adult dance company thought it would be the perfect time to talk about how fat I was.

That moment reinforced to me how many adults are MEAN and it shattered my trust in adults (it took me almost SIX years to trust an adult black woman after that experience).

So I walked. I packed my stuff up — threw that ugly outfit on the floor and walked out of the church so fast.

I never danced ballet at church again.

But, even when I stopped, I couldn’t escape my passion for dance. It was the number one outlet for my anger as a child. I eventually I went on to dance on the high school POMS team and with AU in Motion in college for one year. But it wasn’t the same.

My passion for dance diminished. I became depressed at AU and tried to break and jump out of the window at Anderson Hall because of family issues back at home. Most people don’t know that. I‘ve struggled (note: still struggling) with picking at my lips, which is classified as a form of cutting or self-mutilation, since I was four-years-old.

It wasn’t until I turned 27 (mind you this was literally 5 months ago so there’s still healing taking place), that I actually believed that I deserved or was capable of being loved.

I left a lot of my hatred, hurt and anger on the dance floor. But I picked up a new outlet and stress ball once I decided to give in and finally follow Christ with my whole heart three years ago, and by serving at a new church a year ago.

So on days like today, when I suddenly feel angry for no reason, I hold on to Jesus and he pours through me so much that instead of being just another black girl in the background, with a soft-spoken voice, mending a broken heart — he allows me to shine and radiate joy while pouring life into others. Even if it means sitting in a room silently.

Now, I am a “happy-go-lucky person” (most days), not perfect, still a work in progress, with a heart that is slowly, but surely being mended back together.

I guess that’s what happens when you leave your anger on the dance floor. You make room for something bigger and better.

Sarah Boison is a digital strategy manager for America’s Promise Alliance in Washington, D.C. For more stories like this please visit City Girl Chronicles or follow her on Twitter.

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