I was sitting at a table at Swing 46, a supper and jazz club in New York City. It was a Sunday afternoon during Buster Brown’s Tap Jam. I was a regular. Mable Lee was there this time, too.
This day was challenging. I was in a time in my life where I was training on my own mostly, missing the friends I had danced with in the recent past, and pouring all the energy I had into my dancing. I was often emotional.
I was sitting at a table at Swing 46 having a minor breakdown. I was having a deep emotional reaction to whatever was happening on the stage at that moment, and not in a good way. I put my head down, not wanting anyone to see my face. The next thing I know I hear Mable Lee’s voice.
She’s had come over and sat right next to me.
She said, “You angry, baby?”
I lifted my head and just looked at her. Words weren’t coming out.
She continued, “That’s okay. You’re angry because you care. Never stop caring.”
I will always be thankful for those words, for the naming of my emotion, and the guidance through the experience. I could have gone a few different ways in that moment – she showed me the one most suited to how I was made. And that right there is love.