They say she danced from her mother’s womb. They say her first yelps were a song to the ear. They say she was born with the pulsing rhythm of her heart glowing red beneath her golden skin.
They say when she was twelve, a white man of the cloth saw her dancing alone by a stream. Her hair flew and her skirts billowed as she twirled. She was bewitched by the blaze of the sun on her upturned face, the throb of the drum, the stomp of her feet, and the rush of the water. He saw her Passion and it made him wild. He loathed her for that. He began to yell and shake his fists at her, calling her names she had never before heard. He said the devil lives in the skin of the drum and demons were dancing beneath her skirts. But she continued to dance while he continued to condemn. And then she stopped. For a moment she felt her Joy, her Love, her Passion falter. The poisoned arrows of the man’s words had pricked her heart and she felt something she had never known: Shame.
But they say she then began to sing. She looked the man in the eye as she sang. She saw things there that frightened her. She saw self-hatred and weakness and sadness. But above of all, she saw Fear. She sang to the Fear. Called it out of its deep, dark place where it was festering and polluting the man’s heart. She sang and she sang, and as she did she felt her Joy, her Love, and her Passion begin to flicker again. The deep red of her dress and of her Love reflected in the man’s eyes and began to burn the hard, dark steel plate of Fear and Hate. As her voice got stronger, her Love grew stronger and his eyes became soft with tears.
Then she danced again. She danced right into the river and let the rushing waters wash away the poison the man’s words had embedded in her heart. It beat fully again in time with her drum.
They say when she was a grown woman, the tiny perforations that Shame had ripped in her young heart allowed in the light of Compassion. She sang to lead all voices in harmony with the wind. She danced to call up the energy of the earth. And she beat her drum so that the hearts of those around her might pulse as One. And just like a broken bone that rebinds stronger than before, her Love, her Passion, her Joy – her Voice – swelled so no one’s words of fear could ever cause her doubt again.