“Mom. Did you know Mrs. Winborne is in the Smithsonian, has been in a Salt N Pepa video, worked with Spike Lee and was named the National Dance Society’s Master Dance Educator of the Year for 2016?” My answer to my daughter, “Of course. Valerie Winborne can do anything.”
After a successful career with international dance companies, including Urban Bush Women, she also owned successful dance studio in Brooklyn, New York. She now is the chair of the Dance Program at Brickell Academy, a pull-out dance program which provides studio training in ballet, modern and creative dance, as well as history and theory of dance to more than 350 students.
Truth be told, I want to be Valerie Winborne when I grow up. She is one of those people who oozes cool, but can command a room of 400 children in the snap of a finger. She brings out the best in people by pushing them to be truly who they are and be guided by their truth. Her advice comes through the page and makes you want to rock your inner child and go out and be a positive light in the world.
Initially, I said to myself this is a piece of cake. I’ll write this in an hour or less but as I conjured thoughts around what I’d say, I realized I was stumped. Days went by, sleep was lost and hours were preoccupied with what is the single most important advice I’d ever received. As I write this, I realize it wasn’t one piece, it was the realization that my life with all its imperfections, challenges, hurt and sometimes heartache, my life is just as it should be. Furthermore, it’s all the lessons, parables, visions and almanac-like tidbits shared from family, friends, co-workers and strangers.
Phrases from my parents like, “What you don’t learn from me, you’ll learn the hard way from the world, take it from me… cause I love you.”; “A lie is a reflection of the truth if you know what you’re looking at” ; “You throw a brick in a pack of dogs, the one that gets hit is the one that hollers,” ; “A woman can’t even understand or be beautiful until she’s 50,”; “With regard to relationships/marriage… your work is to stay in the room ,” on and on. Advice quotes from strangers like, “why are you worrying about people who know nothing about you”, or “what’s wrong with falling, getting up is the hard part” or “instead of looking around, look up, see the clouds, feel the sun and seek beyond.”
What I realized is there wasn’t one single piece of advice but the openness to hear, the humbleness to receive knowledge from any source as long as it was uplifting and the love that eeks out of moments when advice is given, whether it’s a moment of anger, concern or someone being a busy body. Take every moment and take the most positive interpretation of that moment while finding if that moment supports you. If it doesn’t don’t walk–run away.