Best Nine : Best29

It’s days like today that I can’t help but be introspective and contemplative. It’s been nice just being by myself, sitting in the silence of my place just soaking life all in… Pondering on all that has transpired in this last trip around the sun… It’s got me thankful for so much. Tbh I don’t care for all the hoopla of New Years. I’ve honestly never really had a good time today… It’s always been filled with much anticipation and shaded with much disappointment. 

The big one this year is #bestnine. I love photos so I followed suit. Immediately, I wish I recanted that decision, because my best 9 was filled with a lot of great moments I guess… But definitely not my best 9… I realized in that moment how “not so best” this 2015 has been for me, but also just how important it has been. I have grown in so many ways, and when faced with life’s challenges, I have pushed toward finding the better person I was made to become. It was NOT easy… But, I am very grateful for the lessons that have been learned, and are still yet to come in this journey. 

This year, I turned 29. A year that, no lie, scared me. It felt like I was letting go of a part of me I didn’t feel I fully lived… My adolescence. Friends past and present have been well acquainted with my colloquial phrase “I’m old.” Sadly, I’ve said it for most of my life actually. Whether it was schooling the youngins in between dance classes at MDPA, or trying to keep up with the youngins while taking class at Shawl-Anderson, I have had a hard time with feeling too old. I know now it was more about these 2 things: 1) experience 2) energy. #1 makes sense right? Obviously when speaking to someone without experience, it makes you feel immediately old and the internal monologue sounds vaguely like “what the hell am I doing here?!” But let me unpack this a little more. 


… like the voice of C3P0 in my Waze, guiding me along the path toward a place I’ve never been… 

Seeing my younger self in the face of an eager artist, trying to be her best self… 

Crossing the stones of remembrance that lay next to the site(s) of my deepest broken self, remembering that life is worth living for… 

Watching the face of young students explode with humble pride, when they have made connections within themselves they thought unimaginable… 

Learning that relationships changing is a good thing, it proves it is alive and active… 

Recognizing that we all just want to be loved, even when it hurts…

This really has been a long year, filled with much doubt and accomplishment. I have learned that wisdom is like the rear view mirror in your car. Like Waze, it allows you to give the heads up to those behind you of what is to come. *hint hint* I may be young (as I am constantly reminded), but I have always been eager to share with others, with discernment, about the road ahead.

Funny sidebar: as I’m writing this section I’m literally being interrupted by a friend who just started a game that I started last year (and will admit, I am lightweight addicted to!). Our short text convo is as followed:



… Hence the rear view mirror effect.

I digress.

Energy… Let me tell you a thing about energy! You will never have enough! At least from my perspective… Let me explain. Unless you are a unilateral person who only desires to eat Kraft macaroni and cheese and play Minecraft every 6 days, energy is a source that is hard to contain and distribute effectively. For those who know me, I do a lot. Actually, that would likely be an understatement. I am the Queen of doing #TOOMUCH. As my dear friend from college says of me… “There she go…” It applies in almost all scenarios! I’m not going to stand on my soapbox and say “What do I want? MORE! When do I want it? NOW!” 

Actually… #1 says… #2 is sacred…

 I’d like it to be spent wisely and with intention. Intention to me looks like more ME time, more CREATIVE time, and more REJUVENATING time. It’s hard to carve that out, but it’s harder to accept dying inside… So little by little, I make it my focus. Don’t ever get it twisted. I LOVE. all that I do… The main problem is… I’m a dreamer, a visionary, an artist… I planned the dynasty of my world before I positioned the steps it takes to get there. Energy is only a problem for the out of the box thinker… The one never satisfied with the ordinary. 

Reaching for the stars will eventually leave you atmospherically shocked and covered in stardust. 

That is… Especially, if you are assuming your dreams are only made for one person. God through LIFE has taught me to open my arms and let others in… I would have never had enough energy to withstand that vision alone.

Coming back to my Best 9 of 2015, I chose to write about them versus get caught up in the likes game. These do not only encompass the good experiences, but the defining experiences that have shaped the growth in my life this year.

 image1. Desert(ed) (f)Tears: Creating Site Specific Video project with my dancers at Dance Affair. That experience was so invigorating and inspirational to me. I loved their work and I loved our collaboration together. I felt so alive working with them on this special project, later performing live with them in San Francisco months later.

2. If You Say Go: Putting (literally) everything on the line and trusting God to go to Malaysia. There is so much to be said about this experience, that I will refrain from mentioning here. Nonetheless, it was an extremely powerful and formative trip in my life.

3. June 1st of this year, I got my own place. Like literally… For the first time living by myself. No roommates, no siblings, just me. With it came a lot of clearing in my life. My safety net-chosen family moved away, and I was saying goodbye to some really close dancers, some of which were my first students in San Jose post-grad. June was filled with extreme highs and lows, and marked with loss. But for once, I was coming home to a place that I could call my own.

4. My brother, Jon, invited my family and I to his church one particular Sunday. He made a point that we would all be there. New to this split family dynamic, I really had forgotten that both of my parents had asked me about it until the day of. That day was the first day that my whole family was in the same building, since my parents split. I inwardly really struggled with sitting in the same row with them. But I hold it as a blessing now. That was also my first time at #c3sv, my now church home. All I can think of is, if I had bailed on him, I wouldn’t have found c3, and that moment of love that Jon wanted to give and receive, by having us all there, would have been missed.

5. Love Vacation + Puppy: My dear friend and I had a MUCH needed stay/vacation, after the mayhem of jobs ended and life for both of us needed a breath of fresh air. Just keeping perspective of the Ride or Die’s in your circle, reminds you (real quick) how important it is to continue fueling fruitful relationships. Just before she left, my brother got a new puppy and I was eager to hold her. I’ve been afraid of dogs my whole life. My mom was so funny while snapping the picture of me holding her so close to me. Instant therapy.

6. School is starting soon: busiest most dreaded time of year!!! But MY BEST FRIEND IS GETTING MARRIED! I had plenty to be thankful for, and not a lot of time to think about it! Around the same time, I auditioned for #SVdance at #c3sv. First big gig? #SVwomen conference… That’s when I met these new folks who have been integral to my life ever since. One special moment that was not captured in photos was when one of the visiting ministers gave a Word about a person called to missions. Hands outstretched, she prayed a prayer so powerful directly to my spirit. Though downtrodden, I grabbed hold of it and believed I would come out of this wilderness unscathed. That was a real turning point in my heart.

7. I was ready to give up… But then she asked me to impart on her company… What?! Me?! Don’t you know I’m old? Busted? Bruised? Well… Ok then. I taught my first master class (in a long long while), began choreographing a new work on her company… And the rest is history. The creative desert had found an oasis. Life was dripping into my bloodstream.

8. BirthMonth: I had the best most love filled birthday in a long time. Chill vibes. Full bellies. Wonderful. I had a sleepover?! It was great. But one of the most fulfilling things I was able to do was go down to LA to see Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s performance of Rosas Danst Rosas, one of my all time favorite works. I never thought I’d be able to see the work live. And it was more marvelous than I could have ever imagined. That 16 hour mini-vacay, plus dinner with my dearest friends and hostel staying on the beach on a Thursday?! Come on… I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I was grinning ear to ear with my early morning Lyft to LAX and my casual stroll in to work the next morning, feeling so inspired and energized. It is definitely an experience I will never forget.

9. The Anniversary: Dancing with #LīVDanceCollective at #c3sv and hosting our collaboration at Christmas in the Park was such a wonderful day but such a wonderful day for more than one reason. On this day, just one shallow year before, I was at my lowest place ever. I didn’t think I would ever make it out of that pit. I was broken and without any energy to lift up my head. That began the journey to today, through 2015, rebuilding, renewing, refreshing my heart mind and spirit to seek life above all else. Dancing that day with a smile on my face was the best way to say, I made it. I made it to the other side of that valley. Though deep dark and desperate, I’m not giving up on my destiny. Truly truly important day for me.

10. (BONUS) Last but not least This Christmas: such an odd holiday in this new phase in life, I get worried with how it will turn out. For the first time since I can remember, I was happy to spend my days with my family. The despair of not “acting” like a family is gone. We just are who we are. My dad’s quiches are freaking amazing, my Black Santa of a brother is still crazy, my mom cooked (over the course of 3 days) and nobody was mad at her for that! We just kept eating!!! My baby Bro slept on the couch with his bigger than baby Pup. It looks different but if feels better. A room filled with love is all that we need.

So now, we are left with just a few hours of 2015. Nope, I’m not at the club or even watching my mom cook gumbo… I’m in my place, by myself, collecting life’s lessons from this year. I’d say, though challenging, I’ve had a LEAP year of growth in these short 365. I am thankful for the gift of life. With that, I am looking forward to 2016, not for my “best 9” but calling forth my Best29. I am taking my life back and stepping forward into the destined purposes of God in my life. May vision continue to be the focus of my woken eyes and may love be the comfort of my resting self.

May God bless you and keep you as today ends and tomorrow begins…

Happy New Year.

Imani Tahira 


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  1. Benita

    I am soooo proud of YOU! I’m proud of us all. To many more years of living life to the full according to HIS plan and for your (our) better health emotionally, spiritually and physically. I love you! Mom

  2. Tall Pajama Man

    Kiddo, I love your synopsis of your year… even the hard stuff, cuz you (and we) can look back and see God’s faithfulness in all of it. I love who you have become this year and what you have established in preparation for next year. I love you much, and am very proud of you 🙂

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