By Nyesha Stone
When Bernadette Pleasant was a young child, she won an award and couldn’t wait to get home to tell her family. She held her excitement in at school, but she didn’t want to cause anything with her opponent, who was popular.
However, Pleasant didn’t share her emotions like she had planned once she got home. Her mother suffered from depression, so Pleasant usually bottled up her emotions—good or bad—to not off set her mother’s emotions.
In a way, she dimmed her own light, she said.
“I was not able to show my emotions,” Pleasant said, and this affected her into adulthood. She always felt less than, so she tried in any way not to make herself bigger than with her emotions.
Never wanting to be that Black girl who was always angry or that needy girlfriend.
“[I was] living my entire life shutdown,” Pleasant said about never sharing her emotions.
Eventually, she noticed her habits and used movement as a way to express herself. She founded Femme! —a movement class that’s focused more on feeling than how you look while you move. It’s not a dance class but a transformative one, Pleasant said.
“This is a place where they can go and move,” she said.
According to Pleasant, most of us our living “half ass emotional lives,” because we tend to tone down our emotions for others in order to look less crazy or abnormal.
We need to break these stereotypes and feel all of who we are.
The first step and the healthiest is acknowledging our emotions, Pleasant said.
“To give [a] voice to it,” Pleasant said referring to the emotions we tend to ignore.
It’s time to stop living emotionally shut down lives and Femme! is a step in that direction.
Femme! is not available in Milwaukee but has 60 certified instructors across the country.
To find about more about Femme!, visit https://www.livefemme.com/.