In the airport of Johannesburg, South Africa, we had a couple of hours until our flight was to depart and take us home to America. In order to save my legs from a full day of being curled in an airplane seat, I told all the other volunteers waiting by the gate that I'd be back in an hour or two - I was off to go dancing.
"Right here. I'm going to plug in my headphones and dance around the airport."
They say quietly: "You're just going to dance... in front of people??"
"Yeah. Who am I ever going to see again? And even if I were, WHO CARES??" And then I sauntered off with my iPod, while all the volunteers' little eyes peered over their seats to see if I was really serious.
Serious I was.
I put on a loud krump song to Busta Rhymes, and I danced all around, gathering every single eye. But I closed my eyes, and I was all alone. Just me and my music.
20 minutes later..... five of the girls and one of the guys had come out to join me, all plugged in with their own headphones. And for the next 40 minutes, we had a silent dance party, each going hard to the beat of our own song, eyes open or closed, it didn't matter. Strangers gawked all around us.
And then boarding call came and when I approached the gate, all the flight attendants asked what song I was listening to because it looked like a lot of fun. Later Josh told me that when he came around the corner and saw our entire team dancing in the center of the terminal, he said, "This is Chantel's doing. Only she could start something like this."
And the coolest part - not the music, the exercise, the connection and energy - was that I completely owned it, and I didn't care.
Does anyone else feel like life as a woman, maybe just as a person, is constantly worth an apology?
Or maybe I'm just the girl who overuses "sorry." I remember in the Philippines, Mace and I decided my catch phrase should be SORRYNOTSORRY, because I have nothing to feel bad about. Sorry I'm talking so much. Oh wait, except what I'm saying is super interesting. Sorry I'm so restless. Oh wait, except my passion and enthusiasm is super captivating.
I came back from Africa feeling solid ownership for myself, and nothing even came close to something I should be sorry for. I apologize for waaaay too much. As if I'm in people's way just by being here. But laying as flat as possible so as not to cause any stir isn't really possible for a girl like me. I'm too big and beamy on the inside. And living like that allows everyone else to hold my power.
I am a human having my human experience, and I'm not sorry for that. Including every emotion and fear and triumph and setback that comes with it.
“Women live lives of continual apology. They are born and raised to take the blame for other people’s behavior. If they are treated without respect, they tell themselves that they have failed to earn respect. If their husbands do not fancy them, it is because they are unattractive.”
"You're just going to dance??.... People will see you."
You are allowed to
Take up space and
Show emotion and
Finish your plate and
Forget your weight and
Smile your brightest and
Cry your hardest.
THIS ISN’T YOUR HOME BUT YOU STILL BELONG HERE.
Upward and onward,
My Instagram post when I got back from Africa and My Peace was coming in so strong.