Lela is a dancer. I knew this was true of her even before I held her in my arms. She was in constant movement.
Yesterday she completed finished her last class of Summer Intensive at The Washington School of Ballet. She has been studying ballet there since she was four.
Four weeks ago, she came home from her first day of class and said, “Mommy, there are only two of us brown girls in the class.”
I took a breath in. Finally, I thought, the day has come.
“How does that make you feel sweetie?” I asked.
“I don’t know, a little weird I guess.”
We shared hearts the entire ride home about what it is like to be “the only chocolate chip in the bunch.” I told her how ‘weird’ I would feel sometimes at UVA, I could look around a seminar class of 300 students and be the only “chip in the bunch”. Strange.
After we spoke realities, we then spoke truth.
There are not too many African-American ballerinas. Truth.
You, beloved child, are a dancer because that is the gift the Lord gave you. Truth.
Black bodies in motion are breathtaking. Truth.
“Why did he give you this gift?” I asked.
“To worship him” she responded.
“Remember, whatever space you walk into–he has prepared it for you, great Father that he is”. Truth.
“And he will always show us fruit along the way, to encourage us on our paths”. Truth.
“Like Ms. Misty?”
“Like Ms. Misty”.
“You are very lucky Lela” I said.
“You know what it feels like to be one of many, like Jesus”.
“You know what it feels like to be one of the only ones, like Jesus”.
“But most of all, you know what if feels like to be his, just like Jesus”.
Enjoy your dance because it is your gift, from the God, love mommy!