Last year, on the Sunday before Memorial Day, I rose before sunrise and began to get dressed for Carnaval. I had asked to be able to sit on the float in full costume, my Wound-Vac covered in our theme colors. I began the long process of applying my makeup. As I applied the beautiful shades of color to my face, I began to feel sad. I had wanted so badly to be off the Wound-Vac. True, I had never finished learning all the choreography. But the best part of performing in Carnaval is feeling a part of a body, a body of alegria and axe, a body which exudes grace, strength, and pure joy. With the little machine literally attached to my body, I knew I exuded pain and weakness. I burst into tears and called my mom. “No puedo hacerlo. (I can’t do it.)” She understood and plan B, which was to sit in the grandstand with M and my mom, went into effect. I took off my beautiful gown and donned my samba school tee. I stopped crying, grabbed my camera, and headed to the parade.
|The morning of SF Carnaval 2014|
I cheered loudly for SambaFunk; they were magnificent. I also cried. I consider it one of the more painful moments during my recovery from surgery. That was nearly a year ago.
I came to SambaFunk through a lovely woman I met on Dance Party. A brilliant dancer, she had asked me to check out her samba community sometime. I expressed mild interest; I had taken two samba classes prior to my difficult pregnancy and had always wished I continued. A few months passed before I finally took initiative and asked when I could join her in class. On a cold January evening, I walked into the second floor studio of the Malonga and within two hours, I had found a second home. King Theo’s wisdom, love, and positive energy inspired me to take on this new creative and physical challenge.
|After my first SambaFunk class in January 2013. Photo by Elise Evans|
At exactly this time, I was preparing for a job interview. I would be competing for a vice principal position in a different district. I am convinced the energy I received through my dance class helped boost my confidence. I got the job. I was learning how to be a carnavalesco at the same time I was learning to succeed in a new work environment. SambaFunk has been more than a dance class. The energia it provides has been a blessing.
Taking part in Carnaval has tapped into so many aspects of my personality. I rediscovered the superhero in me as a Funky Gogo Love Bomber. I also learned half-marathons are nothing compared to parading nearly two miles in 6-inch platform boots.
|GoGo Bombers doing their thing, SF Carnaval 2013. Photo by Yvel Sagaille.|
As I struggled with illness, I reexamined the grace and power that is inherent in being a woman, beautifully heralded in my incarnation as a regal Star Mother. While I didn’t get to parade in Carnaval last year, I was able to take part in the San Diego Brazilian Day parade.
|SambaFunk, Brazilian Day San Diego 2014. Photo by Soul Brasil.|
My mother and M traveled with me and stood proudly on the sidelines cheering for us. With each Carnaval, I learn more about costuming and parading. I also realize it is more than a parade.
Obrigado SambaFunk for welcoming my little family into your embrace.
|Rambo and M, Pan-African Film Fest 2014|
|w M on the red carpet at the Pan-African Film Fest 2014|
Thank you for the prayers and love you gave me when I feared the worst about my health and for your loyalty and support during my recovery. Thank you for helping me become the best version of myself.
|Preparing for SF Carnaval 2015, M’s first Carnaval|