Little Miss Sunshine

I will never forget being the fattest kid in Jazz class. I wasn’t a huge kid. I was just, well, big enough. If you can remember the main character from the movie, Little Miss Sunshine, specifically when she stands in front of a full length mirror at the beauty pageant (vomit) with her cute tummy protruding out and her adorable puffy cheeks, the point in the movie where she realizes she is "different" from the others, just pack on about 25lbs and that was basically me. I didn’t have a grandpa coaching me to strip , but I certainly had the same, if not more, chutzba, sass skills, and pelvic thrusting ability.


I begged my parents to let me join dance class and was elated when I finally got to rehearse for a dance to the Brady Bunch song, It's a Sunshine day. I swear to god I had been waiting my whole life to be a professional dancer (based on my music video research and my dream of being a back up dancer for In Living Color.) and I was finally getting my grand debut. When rehearsals began, I could not contain my excitement. I had A LOT of talent to share with the world. Talent that I believed could not be contained. My first rehearsal was amazing. leaps across the floor, shuffle, ball change. a spin, shuffle, ball change. Big smiles. jazz hands. Kicks.. Turns! Everything. Was. Amazing.


Early on I knew I was different from the others, not because I had this very original idea that I was physically different, but instead because I was told I was different. I was "othered"and it hurt. It really hurt. For some reason this time(there were many more!) really just sucked. The memory sticks to my gut like crazy glue..  I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I remember being pointed at, laughed at, sneered upon, and mockingly giggled at behind cupped hands from the pack of terrifying hyenas some might refer to as children.

I still have the amazing photos of myself in a neon green dress and white go go boot covers from our photoshoot. I was definitly a rock star in every way. My bun was perfectly hair spray hardened and my blue eye shadow was on point, but I don’t even remember performance day. The day I had been waiting my entire life for is actually overshadowed by a gaggle of insecure haters laughing at me. And there it is. I stopped dancing for a decade. My creativity, my passion, my expression of zeal was completely squashed. 

This all came to me while I was not more than 10 pages into, Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert when I read the sentence, “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them", and my mouth dropped open. wow. Yes!

I learned early on that my body was not good enough and for too long, my fear of rejection, my limitation (which obviously was not a real limitation) ruled my life. “I am too fat” kept me from experiencing a hell of a lot of joy and fulfillment. Honestly, I am still trying to heal. Layer by layer peeling away the things that have kept me stuck, knowing that there is a mystical potion of happy coming out with each little reveal. My fear kept me from trying. From dancing. My fear turned into other fears! It kept me from expressing my natural born talents. My gifts! My poor little gifts just ignored like that. How could I?!  It controlled my decisions and kept me from connecting to
my creative spirit, the thing that sets me free and makes 

The point I am trying to make here is that there is great freedom in honoring and accepting the fears or (what limitations you THINK) you have, but there is something even more magical that happens when you find the courage to tell the fears that limit you to go F off. Every time you do something that scares you, you get connected to the real you. The pre-all-that-crap-that-you-hold-onto YOU.

Today, as I sit in seat 13D, on my way to lead my adventure and yoga retreat in Ecuador, I am just about to explode out of my seat with joy. Seriously, ahhhhhh!!!

Without the massive layers of limitation I've worked on shedding, I would never have even dreamed that I was capable of putting something like this together. I was so scared to even toy with the idea of someday making this happen. Terrified. But guess what, it. Is. happening. We all have fears, we all have crappy memories that we carry, but they do not define us. If you carry your story around, like it is you, you will remain tied to it. "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them." Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert! We are incredible human spirits that deserve every happiness. Believe that and watch your life transform. 

Shira BrennerComment