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A Name in Lights

| This is the 549th story of Our Life Logs® |

In 2007, I was born into a family that had an unspoken creed, and that was to follow your dreams. Before I was even thought of, my mom and dad had tried to get into the world of showbiz. Mom tried singing, and my dad tried rapping, and together they had such an amazing journey—one that I’m still learning about. Once I was born, however, my mom learned how much she loved being a mother. Even when our dreams change, we go for them. I grew up with stars in my eyes.

Now, I know you did the math back in the first paragraph. Yup. If I was born in 2007, that makes me 13 years old as I’m telling you my story. Well, listen up because I have one.

I was born in Coney Island Hospital on St. Patricks’ Day in 2007. My mother called me her lucky charm. Harmony Lyte was a name already destined to be in the lights. After moving from NYC as a baby, I learned to walk and talk and make people laugh in Hollywood, California. We lived about five miles from the famous Sunset Blvd and six miles from the walk of the stars. I remember tracing the stars with my eyes as we made our way down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I always thought my name would look good on one.

After living in Hollywood for seven years—just after I started ballet classes, mind you—we moved back to NYC. My dad was originally from there and, since he was the only son, he felt the need to be closer to home. So, we all went back east, and let the record show that I was sad about it. How was I going to be a celebrity ballerina?

Tiny Harmonie, age 4 😊

When moved in with my grandmother, I realized that I was glad to be around our extended family. And if I had to bear it, at least I had my parents, my little brother, and the promise to myself to get back into dancing. Geography had nothing on my dreams.

I was not enrolled in ballet, but I was enrolled—seriously—in the most ghetto school I had ever been to. Nothing worked and everyone was just loud. The teachers yelled at the students which made the students yell at the teachers, which made the teachers yell at the students. I didn’t care if it was the chicken or the egg, I just wanted to learn. It was…a lot.

Now, around this time, I began going through a growth spurt. And not just a few inches. At seven-years-old, I was 5’5”; I could see over everyone’s head when we had to make a single-file line and look at my teacher in the eyes. I stood out…but I didn’t really want to stand out. Not like that. Overnight, the other kids had names picked out for me. Tall Girl, Girl Guy, and Sir were the repeat offenders.” I also got all the super unoriginal slams like, “How’s the weather up there?” I can’t tell you how much I just wanted to spit in their faces. New York kids were brutal and had no filter.

Me in the second grade at an awards assembly.

When I would talk about ballet, the other kids would laugh. Ballerinas are little and you’re so…big. Listen, I knew I had big bones, but they were strong. And I knew I was tall, but I was also lean and flexible. Still, their insults made my confidence grow fuzzy. The more they pointed out my weaknesses, the easier it was to let my strengths fade away.

At this point in my life, I saw my parents’ relationship crumble. One day, I heard my parents arguing in the bathroom. I was so scared I hid in my grandmothers’ closet until I heard my dad slam the front door. Everything went quiet. I burst out of my hiding place and cried to my mom and she cried to me. That day we sat on my grandmothers’ kitchen floor and spoke our truths. I loved my dad, but I did not want to live with the arguing and fighting anymore if it was going to make my mom cry all the time. My mom looked me in my eyes and promised me she would make things right. And two weeks later, we did. My mother took my brother and me and we all moved to Las Vegas without my father’s knowledge. He found out from Facebook we’d left.

It was such a weird thing. I was happy that she cared enough about my sadness to leave, but in the back of my head, all I could think about was leaving again. And even more, I missed my dad and I could not help but feel somewhat responsible for them breaking up.

For the next year, our family just had to survive. The memories I had of the Hollywood Walk of Fame were nowhere on my radar. My mom was now a single parent. I would watch her get up at 5 AM to take my brother to daycare, and then take me to a neighbors’ house so she could be at work by 6 AM, so she could be off by 2:30 PM to pick me up from school at 3 PM, to then turn around and pick up my brother from daycare, go home, cook dinner, help us with homework, bathe us, clean up, and tuck us in for bed. Rinse, repeat.

These endless days lasted for almost two years until my mother met my stepdad and got married. I was eight when they first met, and ten when they got married. I was not mad when my mother told me about my stepfather, in fact, I was incredibly happy. I even asked to call him dad after a month or so. He seemed so patient and kind and happy to be a dad. All their happiness made me happy too.

By the time I was in 5th grade, I had found out about a performing arts middle school. Anybody could apply no matter how tall and awkward you felt you looked. After three excruciatingly long months of waiting, I was accepted. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. I would now dance and sing every single day as a part of school. I thought about all the times I wanted to go to dancing school, but my mother could never afford it. Now, I would have professional training for free.

I was in the performing arts school for two years before Covid-19 hit. Because of the pandemic, I went from singing and dancing and performing for four hours a day to sitting in my room on my computer for eight hours a day. For most kids, this was hard, but for me, it was the straw that broke my back. Dance had been ripped from me once again. I felt like God was playing a cruel joke. My eighth-grade year was supposed to be full of performances all over Las Vegas, but instead, I’d only be able to perform in my bedroom. All the years I had practiced getting to this level of advanced dance and choir all seemed like it was pointless.

The teachers tried to make it fun, but without the vigorous practice, I began to gain weight. I developed severe asthma out of the blue. I was given breathing treatments and an inhaler. Then, my eyesight started to get blurry from staring at the computer for eight hours. Next, my anxiety flared up. My teeth were growing on top of each other and causing headaches. I ended up with braces, glasses, asthma, and extra fat, all while I was still tall and awkward.

I was starting to feel sad every day and I did not know what I was experiencing. I was never hungry, and I could not figure out why. I could not get tired at night and I did not know why. Then my mother told me, “Honey, I think you have depression.”

I know school is not all about dancing. But to a girl like me, it was my whole world. And my whole world was gone. Again.

It wasn’t until I was able to join my church’s praise and dance team that I started to cheer up. After my first practice, I began to see the rise and fall in my life. There would be times I would dance, and times I would not. Happiness and sadness. Ebb…and flow. This too shall pass (albeit, like a kidney stone, but it will pass), eventually.

Impromptu leap at the park, 2019.

I spend the days being homeschooled in Las Vegas with my three little brothers, mom and, step-dad. My father remained in NYC and I speak to him from time to time. I’ve had a lot of time to think since the beginning of this government-ordered downtime. Now, I have developed a passion for choreographing dances (what else can I do alone in my room?!) and my dream is to one day own my own dance studio. I plan on making it cheap for all little girls to be able to dance—no matter what kind of money they come from. If my name isn’t in lights, I’ll make sure I help someone’s become bright.

This is the story of Harmonie Lyte

When Harmonie was a small girl, she wanted to become a dancer. After being enrolled in classes and gaining a taste of what would be her life-long passion, her family life became challenging. The constant moving and all the coming-of-age experiences in her childhood took a toll on Harmonie’s relationship with dance, and subsequently, her self-image. It was the major turning point during COVID-19 that Harmonie was truly able to see where her dream could take her, as long as she could be persistent through the storms of life.

This story first touched our hearts on December 6, 2020

Writer: Melodie Harris | Editor: Colleen Walker


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