And With a Broken Wing by Natasha Renee'
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
My name is Natasha Renee’, and I am a queer biracial woman.
My Dad is black and my Mom is white.
I grew up in small towns in Wyoming and Indiana, in a single-parent home, with my mother. My dad was basically absent from my childhood. I grew up thinking he didn’t want me but didn’t find out until the summer of his death, that he was pushed out of our lives because of his race.
My mother has several siblings, and we have many cousins. Most of them were openly racist, with my sister and I being the “exceptions”.
There were many conversations I wanted to hide or climb inside of myself. I could feel my ears and cheeks get hot every time the “n” word was used, or even “that black guy” when his color had nothing to do with the story.
“Faggot” wasn’t an uncommon term thrown around either.
Unfortunately, there were no exceptions when it came to homosexuality. I heard many conversations where people in our lives, even family, were harshly judged for who they were.
It was a sin, a lifestyle that should be ignored, avoided. I was taught to be submissive to the man I was with.
I hated sex.
I tried to talk to my family about that, and I was told it was my job. “Men have needs.”
In fact, I tried to come out, say I liked women, several times, only to be told to “never say that again”, that I would “go to hell”.
So I pushed those feelings far down and tried to live a life my family approved of. I felt so alone, now I know many people go through this same experience.
As a child and teen, I also lived through sexual abuse, molestation, and rape. Some of which was inflicted by a family member.
Again, when I tried to speak up I was silenced.
“I would ruin his life.” I was asked and ultimately coerced to sing in his wedding, months after the rape.
The main outlet and therapy, and I suppose, “superpowers” I had were music and dance. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life, I literally can’t remember wanting anything else.
Everything I was going through was released when I sang or danced.
But in my house, those were not considered “real jobs” and not something to be pursued. So like everything else, I pushed those desires down and studied more traditional careers.
Changed majors maybe 26 times, you know the drill. Lost, searching.
But it didn’t stop me from singing and dancing in my room, outside, at friends’, church, funerals, weddings, competitions... anywhere I could possibly create a stage.
When I was 15 I started working, I paid for my own dance class. I could only afford one, so I chose Jazz. I would go after my vocational beauty school program, before work.
I don’t even think anyone in my family knew for a while.
It was a beautiful escape and kept me from dealing with my sadness, grief, confusion in negative or destructive ways. I am thankful for that.
I also competed in the Miss Wyoming pageant, and won! I was so excited to have the opportunity to travel and sing, and speak about things I cared about.
Fast forward through a few moves, marriages, searching for something that felt right...thinking something was wrong with me. I raised my children, which by the way I must say that they are the best gift ever given to me, and the greatest thing I have done with my life. They are also the biggest supporters in my life.
A few years ago I finally found the courage to come out to myself first, then my best friend, and then my children.
They were all supportive, happy for me even. And they already knew. But there was still freedom in honesty, truth, in saying it out loud.
I also told them the extent of my dreams in pursuing music and dance. Again, supportive. Weight lifted.
And, with so much support, I am finally chasing my dreams.
We moved to Oregon, and I was accepted into my dream school at the University of Oregon, into the first B.F.A. Dance program in the school of Music and Dance, with a minor in Music.
I earned my aerial yoga teacher certification and hot yoga teacher training. I received an affiliation with my favorite studio and will have the first aerial studio with them in my state.
Ultimately I am working to open a non-profit, after-school music and dance program for children. I plan to include every bit of knowledge I have gained and make the safest environment and outlet possible for them.
And I don’t care about money. I’ll do hair to pay the bills. I know that what I dream to do is what matters.
If there was a place like what I had dreamed of, I would have been there every day.
I know I still have so much work left to do. For my dreams, for my family, for myself. But I am ready for it. Eager. Elated.
I am excited to learn myself more, love myself more, evolve into the woman I was meant to be.
Now don’t get me wrong. Many of my “friends” and “family” have disowned me. But I don’t care.
I want to live authentically, I want to be an example. A representation of strength and fortitude, a strong, proud, queer, brown woman. A gay mother. A brave human.
And I want everyone to know and believe that they are perfect, exactly the way they are.
Love yourself. Love yourself first.
Natasha Renee' is a queer biracial skater, dancer, singer, cosmetologist, aerial-artist, yogi, and mother. For more content from her, follow her on Instagram (@natasharenee_the.twisted.yogi).
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