Why We Dance: Photos from a Celebration of Life, Love and Unapologetic Pride

“Dance to fall in love with the spirit in all things” 

Why do we dance? We dance because it’s the fastest, most direct route to the truth — not some big truth that belongs to everybody, but the get down and personal kind, the what’s-happening-in-me- right-now kind of truth.

When I mustered up the courage to publicly share essentially my coming out post (Sunday Reflections: Black, Queer and voting for Her), I was both petrified and filled with hope. Fearful of the response from those who are close to me, yet hopeful that by following in the footsteps of others who have self-identified, that I somehow will send a message to other young men and women that you must allow no one to make you feel ashamed of who you are.

As a queer black man in this country, worse (perhaps) a child of African parents, I know what it’s like to be in a world that doesn’t always support nor make peace with my identity. I also know, we can’t let hate win, and that this will take all of us to help push this world forward. In the spirit of Pride, I’m reminded to urge all of you to make sure you use your power and privilege to create space that is safe for everybody, where people should be able to show up in the fullness of who they are.

It’s a really, really hard thing to be silenced and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourselves into shapes that you just shouldn’t be in. For most of my life, I’ve been afraid to embrace the truth about myself. Recently though, I’ve gotten to the point where the pain of holding onto the lie is greater than the fear of letting go, and I’m very proud to finally be letting my guard down.

In the spirit of Pride, this past weekend my group of friends and I danced in celebration of pulling off my boyfriend, Juan’s, surprise birthday party. Amid feeling like we have so much to despair, we danced to express love for all those who just wanted to dance at Pulse Orlando, and countless more around the world. We danced to hook up to the true genius lurking behind all that bullshit — to seek refuge in our originality and our power to reinvent ourselves; to shed the past, forget the future and fall into the moment feet first.

We dance to reclaim our brilliant ability to disappear into something bigger, something safe, a space without a critic or a judge or an analyst.

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About the Author
Mariel Kanene is Founder and Editor of TheArtOfPersptive.co and lead storyteller with a focus on music, startups and travel. His passion for storytelling was born in Kinshasa, Congo and bred in Washington, DC where he resides. By day, Mariel spends his days slowly trying to change the world—one meaningful interaction at a time. He loves reading factual-fiction, good podcasts, traveling, health and fitness, foreign languages and good conversations over good coffee and even better rum. He hates talking about himself in third person.Thanks for stopping by. Always appreciated. Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin | Website.

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