Like many fans, I’m still mourning the series POSE taking its final bow a few weeks ago. For three glorious seasons I was transported into the glamorous, gritty world of the NYC ball scene while witnessing the beloved cast of characters navigate the challenges of love, acceptance, illness, heartbreak, and so much more alongside maintaining their pride in their queer identity. I laughed, cried, danced, and was left gagging.
Out of all the characters, Elektra Abundance-Evangelista (played by the incomparable Dominique Jackson) was my absolute favorite. She’s glamorous, determined, and can read one for filth shortly after lubricating her throat with a sip of champagne. She gave me “Naomi Campbell-meets-Dominique Deveraux” vibes throughout the entire series, and what a treat it was to watch her character develop and evolve into quite the goddess. Out of all the scenes that she was in, the one where she confronted her mother sticks with me the most. When her mother asks that she “tones it down,” her response is pure gold:
“My whole life is dedicated to toning it up! About settling for more! More love, more finery, more jewels, more power, more money! More, more, more! I am sorry that you are only able to look upon me with fear and disappointment. I’m sorry that you won’t allow yourself to see me. The pain of your disapproval will no longer distract me from going after everything I deserve in this world.”Elektra Abundance-Evangelista
Aside from the fact that she stood up for herself, I admire Elektra’s words for an additional reason.
How many times have we stopped short of reaching higher and striving for more to avoid the ire of onlookers? How many times have we talked ourselves out of chasing our dreams because to do so would mean pissing a few people off, losing a couple of friends, or risk having to stand alone? All too often, we stop short of our greatness and decide instead to blend with the crowd, lying to ourselves that we can accept personal mediocrity in exchange for “belonging.”
This is your permission slip to tone it up and settle for more. This is your wake-up call to aim higher and go after everything you desire in this life. Sure, some people may roll their eyes or question your worthiness of such lofty ideals. However, so many others will see your progress and realize that they too can go for their wildest dreams as they find strength in your choice to say “yes” to yourself.
Compromise is admirable, but accomplishment is valuable. Settle for more, and never discount your dreams in exchange for a third party’s comfort. Instead of shrinking to fit the world, demand that the world expands to accommodate you. You deserve it.