Written by Shirin Ahmadpour
My relatives can tell you that I was incredibly polite as a child. Though I knew I was raised with good manners, I also knew that my shyness was confused for being well behaved. I did not speak much nor did I ever speak out. What was there for me to say?
Before I found my voice, I had to find my confidence. I had to find a passion. And so, I decided I needed to be a hardcore hip-hop dancer in order to break out of my shell. I tried out for a dance crew, AZ Hype, when I was twelve and by the grace of God, I made it on the team. I never danced before and I was terribly awkward. My mother even asked my coach how it was possible for me to make the cut.
Whether I was a good or bad dancer, for the first time in my life, I fell in love. Dancing soon became my passion and thankfully with lots or practice, bruises, prayer, tears and support, dancing turned into a talent. The better I danced, the more confidence I gained. To this day, I have never been happier or felt more powerful than when I am dancing. I finally found something that I was good at and that feeling made the world brighter for me. The strength, confidence and vibrance I felt while dancing seeped its way into my everyday life.
My soft voice no longer meant that I was soft spoken. During my first year dancing, I became the student body president of my elementary. As I ventured into high school, I broke into theater and was cast in a leading role in a play every year. I ran for officer positions of many organizations and teams. I even gave the graduation speech. I don’t believe that dancing gave me my voice. I believe it helped to unleash it. Today, I carry a confidence in my heart to fall in love with life and that loving passion will continue to fuel my voice in this world.