Our main goals here at ((305)) is to #MakeSweatSexy and to make all you beautiful junkies feel good in your own damn skin. No matter what you look like, who you love, or how well you know the choreography to “Juicebox,” you deserve to feel fierce as f*ck exactly as you are, because you’re a motha-effing champ and proud of it, baby.
So in the spirit of NYC Pride Week, we asked our NYC instructors to share the deetz on the moments they learned to say, “Here's who I really am world, and I give ZERO f*cks if you don't like it."
"One of my first memories of feeling like my true self was I planned my 10th birthday party, all behind my parents' back. It was such a monumental experience in owning my identity because it involved a lot of leadership, confidence, attitude, and tellingly, a fascination with all things sexy and different. In fifth grade, while everyone was still doing the typical day-in-the-park or pool party, I just wanted to play spin the bottle. Thanks to me three older, awesome sisters who were going to things like prom and homecoming, I had my heart set on throwing a dance party.
In this pre-Google era, I had to go through the yellow pages to find a DJ. I called him and asked him to fax over the quote. Yes, fax machine! My sister drove me to the mall and helped me pick out my special outfit for my big day -- .a shiny metallic halter top and a red pleather skirt (yasss Charlotte Russe!). When I broke the news to my parents, I simply said, "I'm throwing a party in our backyard with a DJ. I already made the invitations. It's going to cost this much. Here’s who you make the check out to."
So that was me, being myself, trying to slow dance with every boy in my grade on my humid Miami patio wearing my red pleather skirt and halter top at the birthday party that I had planned all on my own!"
"I came out to myself when I got into Columbia University. Although I grew up in a more progressive southern state, North Carolina, my familial upbringing was more restrictive, so I made a decision my freshman year of high school that I was going to get out. I remember the moment quite clearly: I was studying for a major science test and debating whether to do the bare minimum - aka the easy route - and study hard to get the A - aka the boss route. I chose the boss route for that test and every high school test thereafter. When I was accepted early decision to Columbia, I finally felt like I was going to a place where I could physically be myself: a fierce as f*ck gay queen.
I came out to my family a bit differently. To make a long story short, it was just a few days before I was leaving for Columbia and a family member caught me and another guy mid-sloppy make out. I was later called "sick," to which I responded, "I'm the healthiest person in this family and I won't take this." I left for Columbia -- my first true home -- a few days later (on a full ride mind you) and haven't looked back since."
"I started feeling more confident and secure in myself when I became able to laugh at myself more … or all the time. I'm big into laughter now (#305jester, ya know), but I was a pretty serious kid and would get embarrassed easily and often. I don't know when exactly it happened, but I realized that things don’t have to be so serious. Most things are actually hilarious.
There is so much freedom in letting laughter take over and just rolling with the punches. I started giving no f*cks because I learned how to laugh."
"I really came into my own during my very first live performance of my own music at the now-closed NYC gay bar, Splash. They were famous for this raining waterfall effect built into the stage -- totally timed the water to start pouring right at the climax of my show so my dancers and I could splash around in there like maniacs. It was such a meaningful debut for me -- my "coming out" as an artist -- and I got to do it in the most carefree, young n' wild way!"
"Freshman year of college I was devoted to my studies in architecture, I was recruited and training with the track team, I had a plan (like so many of us do) not just for how I was going to crush college, but the rest of my life.
So it was a really big shock to my parents when I confessed during my junior year that I wanted to switch majors to pursue dance, which I'd only started doing the previous year. Though my parents completely support me now, at the time my mom had no idea what to say to me (and instead called everyone she knew for advice), and my dad told me I was making the biggest mistake of my life. Dancing is hard -- a career in dance is even harder. They were afraid that someone who started dancing when they were 20 years old could never be successful.
But in one year I had already become inexorably entangled with dance. It revealed to me what it meant to be truly vulnerable, emotional, honest, and generous. It was a powerful enough discovery for me to abandon my plan (and god am I a planner!), two years of study, and a stable career that let me spend three hours dancing in a park this weekend."
"I recently read a quote along the lines of, 'Other people's opinions don't pay your bills.' That instantly clicked for me. In my experience, giving less f*cks about what people think is a constant practice. We are human; We naturally care what other's think about us. However, there are so many pressures from our friends, family, work, and society, telling us who and how to be. Other people's opinions of who I am and what I'm doing don't put money in my pocket, and they don't have the power to build or destroy the life I'm dreaming of. We might believe otherwise, but that's just the voice of fear talking.
This quote made me realize that, personally, giving fewer f*cks is about listening to my heart, trusting my gut feelings, and using that as my fuel to move forward. Everyone has an opinion, don't forget that. And, truth is, if people do have an opinion on what you are doing with your life, then you must be up to something interesting!"