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There was a time when I had a lot of anxiety about going into another dance class or any class that was focused on physical movement because of an experience I had when I was in high school. Basically, my dance teacher was giving us the low down for our hair and costumes were supposed to be for our upcoming performance. In the midst of the instructions, she said “Don’t have African braids like Jessica” and the entire class laughed at me, girls black, white, and everyone else. I was in ninth grade, my self esteem was already terrible (still working on it), had generalized anxiety disorder (still do), was introverted (present), and shy…Yeah, it was like the saddest moment for the protagonist in an old-school Disney movie. I struggled not to cry and just stared at the teacher as I became very aware of the cornrows that my mother lovingly braided on my head. I finished the class, but I weeded myself out of dancing after that, which meant that I missed having that exploratory relationship with moving my body and learning choreography. Before I chalked up the bravery to take a dance class last year and another one this semester, I found Cassey Ho.
You would never catch me at a gym because the idea of trying to navigate gym culture is anxiety inducing, but I knew that there were instructors online, particularly YouTube. I found some routines from different channels, but the fit was not perfect for me. I’m not saying that the instructors were no good or anything like that. They just didn’t necessarily jive with me, but somehow I came across Cassey Ho. I loved her energy in her workout videos, but after learning about her story, I felt encouraged and I felt a connection that has kept me subscribed to her channel and doing pop pilates in my room ever since. Now, I am in my second dance class after a years-upon-years hiatus and it feels great. I even got to dance with a guest instructor who used to dance with Prince yesterday. 😁 Now, my technique is a little rusty and I have to spend time rediscovering the dancer in me, but I am happy simply because I am dancing and I am reintroduced to the feelings that dance brings. I know that I would not have had the opportunity to cultivate a positive relationship with a physical instructor if it weren’t for me finding Cassey Ho, even if she’s on the other side of a screen. All the Girl Love to you Cassey and happy Valentine’s Day everyone!