Why Motown?

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It’s no secret that life has ups and downs. Right after Bodhi was born I had a major “down” moment in my life. It had nothing to do with my baby or my relationship and everything to do with my transition into motherhood. This is not a blog post on post-partum depression, but for the better part of Bodhi’s first year of life, PPD was the root of my struggles. Smiling, laughing, showering, speaking intelligible sentences to other human beings; all of these things I’d once viewed as the most basic functions of existence were now major challenges and felt like insurmountable obstacles between where I stood and living the life of a well-adjusted person, much less a parent capable of raising a happy child.

Motown music got its start in 1960’s Detroit. In the same way that this is not a blog post on PPD, neither is this a blog post on the complexities of the shameful history of racial oppression we carry in this country. However, it is true and worth noting that many of the ground breaking, earth shattering musical artists credited for Motown’s first hits and overwhelming success were poor or working class African Americans from Detroit itself; people who knew true oppression, had fire deep within, had important things to say, and had nothing to lose by leaving everything they had in the recording room. That passion, fire, and fearlessness translated into music that instantly struck a universal chord with people from all walks of life. Black or white, rich or poor, everybody got their asses on the dance floor. This was obviously not a cure or a solution for the issues of the time (many of which unfortunately still persist today), but it was a moment of connectedness, a spark, and a hope for better things ahead.

It took a long time for my PPD cloud to lift, and some days I wonder if it’s really gone for good, but one of the first glimpses I had of myself as a woman who could be happy as a mother was when Bodhi was about four months old. I put on some Ray Charles while I was making dinner. I opened my mouth and started singing along. Bodhi smiled so I smiled back. I sang louder. He smiled bigger. I started dancing and he started cooing. And then I was laughing. This sounds like a simple interaction, but at the time it was such a big deal I had to step outside myself and say “Ok. My son is smiling. I am smiling. I am singing. We are dancing. Life is good. I don’t know what comes next, but right here, right now, I can do it.” I’m eternally grateful to the incredible spirit of Ray Charles for the gift of that moment. With Motown blasting in the background and my kid smiling, I began to believe I really could do it- not just survive, but maybe even hope to one day thrive again.

Motown music has obvious soul, and those beats connect me to something great; a movement bigger than me, a culture completely different from me to remind me that there is more to life than just the great, ever-present SELF. By helping me travel outside of myself, Motown music jump-started my journey back into my (healthy) self, and has inspired me to consider and keep close to the surface the importance of attempting to balance just that: both internal and external perspective on my world. And most importantly, Motown music gets me singing and dancing whether I’m already happy or whether I’m in the pit of despair. That is a power unlike any other, and not to be taken lightly. I invite you to let that power into your life as well. Come and get lifted at our Motown Groove on August 1st!

–Marla

Cost is $15 for Members, $20 for Non-Members and $25 day of per class. Buy Now or register at any studio or over the phone. There are no refunds or exchanges for this class.

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