You used to feel like you were in a shadow. It followed you wherever you went.
On sunny days, you soaked in the warmth but when a breeze came, you felt the cool of that one thing. The chill of what only you knew.
Beneath your smiles and beyond the small talk, hid another layer. The one you were scared to show.
Maybe at times you felt confused. Or ashamed. Or wrong.
Maybe there were days you felt alone. Or afraid. Or vulnerable.
You never wanted to let anyone down… You didn’t want to make things more complicated… You didn’t ask to feel this way.
In those moments you had music,
and you had dance.
You belted your pain into your hairbrush until you were hoarse. You hit rewind or repeat and did it again and again. You lost yourself in rhythms that took you to a clearer place. And it did become clear.
You danced away the hurt until you found yourself loving more than the music, and more than the movement, but yourself too. Just as you are.
Shimmied your way into loving your sexy shoulders, the reach of your arm extending to your elegant fingers, the strong calves that held you up while you spinned. You used your body top to bottom in your dance and thanked it for moving you. Grateful for the breath that pushed the lyrics from your chest. Indebted to the soul that connected you with it all. Beholden to everything else that was inside. All the parts that make you who you are.
You accepted yourself on the dancefloor in the presence of others who asked to share this music and dance with you. You as you are.
At home you looked in the mirror and were happy.
You took this acceptance out of your room and away from the dancefloor and over time it became less scary. Little by little, your strength built.
Every time you said it aloud, it became easier.
“I am a lesbian.”
Every time you sang it, it carried less fear.
“I am gay.”
The more you shared it, the less it became shameful.
“I am bisexual.”
You became prideful.
“I am transgender.”
Coming out never ends, you do it again and again when you develop relationships with new people. But the fear is less now when you tell them,
“I am me.”
You still sing in your bedroom when your heart aches. You still dance when you are sad. But when you feel the sun on your skin, no shadows block its warmth.
Belt out your favorite song.
Spin the doubt aside. Whip the fear out. Shake the shadows off.
Now is your time to be free,
Inside and out.
On the floor and off.
Show your pride!
Sing your pride!
Dance your pride! Every single part of it.
Be you. As you are.
Poetry contributed by Liz Tambascio