This week my guests are Flames n Dames, Michigan's premier Flow Arts Troupe, specializing in Fire Dance Demonstrations and LED/Ambient Entertainment. There is some adult language on this episode.
Business contact info: NatSpinz@gmail.com or 810-373-2302
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Produced by Green Bow Music
Tia Time with Artists, with guests Nat Spinz, Paige Marie, and Anna Faye of “Flames ‘n Dames”, recorded on February 20, 2021
(Note: There is some adult language in this episode.)
Tia Imani Hanna: Welcome to Tia Time with Artists, the weekly podcast where we discuss the methods, challenges, and real-life experiences of living our creative dreams. What kind of creative warrior are you? Musician? Filmmaker? Painter? Choreographer? Poet? Sculptor? Fashionista? Let’s talk about it right now. I’m your host, Tia Imani Hanna.
Tia Imani Hanna: Welcome to Tia Time with Artists and my guests this week is “Flames ‘N Dames,” who is Paige Marie, Anna Faye, and Nat Spinz. Welcome to Tia Time.
Nat Spinz: Thank you so much for having us. We’re so glad to be here.
Tia Imani Hanna: This is a show about artists and we'll have all kinds of different artists on the show. And this time we're talking to people who do hula hooping, flame throwing, flame hooping, flame flow. Am I getting, I'm getting, am I getting the thing right?… the names right? Tell me about this. Nat, let's start with you. Nat, so how long have you been doing this thing, this flame throwing flowing thing?
Nat Spinz: I have been fire dancing for, I would say, about four years now. I have been a flow artist or hoop dancing for five. So, about a year into my hoop dancing journey, I went out to a place in Detroit. It's called the Detroit Fire Collective, where essentially performers from all over Michigan, it's like one place you can get together and learn and collaborate. And at the end of the evening, they have a fire safety meeting. Every time. And they go through the safety guidelines for fire spinning. And if you are comfortable enough, and you're wearing the proper safety clothing to do it, they allow new fire spinners and well-seasoned ones to go up and try. And all night long, I knew it was coming. And I didn't know, I was waffling back and forth between whether I was going to do it or not cause I was, like, so nervous, but by the end of the night, I decided to do it. I brought my fire hoop with me that I had never lit before. And I finally did it and it was the most exhilarating experience. It's like that… it was like a mix of emotions between utter fear, please don't let me catch myself on fire and holy crap; I'm doing this. So yeah. So about four years now to answer your question.
Paige Marie: So, I've been hooping for about same amount of time for five years. I started with hula-hoop. And then also started burning within like one year of my flow art journey. But yeah, I, since I started fire spinning, it's been like something that I've always wanted to do. I'm like, Oh, why would I play with this when I can put this on fire? Or when I can put this torch in my mouth? Or, when I can spritz myself? Once it gets to that level, it becomes all you want to do because nothing can compare to it. It's awesome. And I love it.
Tia Imani Hanna: And Anna?
Anna Faye: Yeah. So, I've been dancing for most of my life. I've been hula hooping first six. That was my outlet after not being able to attend dance classes anymore. And that's actually how I met and got to know these girls and I've also been spinning fire for four years as well.
Tia Imani Hanna: So, we can take this in any order, whoever wants to answer, but they call this “flow” because you have to get to a certain level for it to flow so that you're not thinking so much fire, fire, fire, you're thinking art form at some point. And that's my take on what you mean by “flow.” But is that true? Or is that just me throwing my thoughts on it?
Nat Spinz: So, no, that is accurate. That it's true. So, I would say flow is relevant in all sorts of art forms. Like when I first thought of flow, I thought rapping. And yeah, it's just like any other type of art form. It’s like, once you practice enough to where you can lose yourself in the music, or even if it's just the sound of the fire around you, it's just moving the way that your body feels inspired to. So, you can do that with any flow prop. And when I say flow prop, I'm talking about a hula hoop is considered a flow prop or a dragon staff or a poi, things like that. And in, of course, when you do go up to the level where you're lighting the props on fire, you have to figure out how to move differently because you can't do the same things. I can't do a chest roll. You can, but it can't really make contact with you unless you want to burn yourself when it's lit on fire. So yes, essentially, it's when you get to the point where you're moving comfortably with the prop where you just ‘go with the flow’, you just go with how you feel.
Anna Faye: So, the way we talk about flow too, is it's like a meditative state. And I think that you can be in that state at any level. But you want to be advanced enough to flow with fire. Just anyone, if you're picking up a boom for the first time and if you really start to get into it and you get into that meditative state. that's what we call the ‘flow state’.
Paige Marie: Burning also takes a level of confidence because I've seen a couple of times people pick up a prop, light it on fire, and they don't quite have that like self-reassurance and they're nervous and they don't know what to do. And that's when I think people can get hurt is when they’re not fully comfortable with what they're working with. So, I think practicing before you light something on fire is very important. Cause I know that, like, fire is exciting and people want to do it, but it's also, you have to know yourself and be comfortable with what you're doing before.
Nat Spinz: Like when you first start, like, when I first started, I wasn't comfortable moving was fire either. And so, when you decide that you're ready for that next step after you've been doing in a while, just take it slow. Like you don't have to do crazy tricks and stuff like that at first.
Tia Imani Hanna: That's the other part is how do you even get to that point? Because I'm going the use a reference for me, a reference for me would be that people used to tell me when I was younger, “You don't smoke. So, don't talk to smokers about smoking, like about not smoking, unless you've tried it.” And I'm like, yeah, but I don't run into buildings, inhale the smoke and say, I'm not a smoker either. So how do, you know, how do you get to the point where you say, “Hey, I want to light this on fire and play with it.” How, what is the thing I'm sure it's individual, but what is the thing that clicked that says, Ooh, this would be so much better with fire?
Nat Spinz: So, I tell you what it was for me, and this is why I pointed at Anna, because she's all about the community, like, the flow community. It's just like any community there's always a couple of cliques here and there, but for the most part, I would say that most flow artists and the community in general is very warm and that, no pun intended there, and welcoming of newbies. And you can get to this level. Don't push yourself to get here, to spinning fire first. You, you know what you're capable of and, and yeah, I think for me, that's the biggest thing, is the reason why I took that next step to spinning fire is because I was surrounded by so many people who had already done it and I felt safe, despite the fact that I was inside of a hula-hoop with five fireworks around me, I felt safe. Yeah. What about you guys?
Paige Marie: The community is a big part. Lot of seeing all these other people with their fire props and they finished and you're like, Oh, okay. But they're alive. That we're having a good time. This is awesome. And like another thing too, is that I've gotten to the point where I'm not afraid of getting burned because it happens every now and again, like little burns here and there. I've gotten to the point where I don't hardly even notice it, but it's also not the end of the world either. Haven’t ever gotten hurt so bad that we had to go to the hospital or anything? Because I looked at that, but we're doing pretty well. We're pretty talented. Yeah, we got a really good fire safety system. There's always at least one person that has the towel ready to put it on a fire, put it out, and ‘knock on wood’, we haven't caught ourselves on fire yet. We hope to continue that.
Tia Imani Hanna: Do you all have fire extinguishers and, like, that gel and stuff that you put on or anything like that too. Isn't there like some fire-retardant gel that stunt people use or something?
Anna Faye: There is, but we don't have any experience working in other with that yet. But we are interested, so we can keep ourselves safer in the future.
Nat Spinz: The equipment, so essentially our Flames ‘N Dames, we are the core three of the group, but we collaborate with other female fire dancers as well, if there's ever a need for more performers. So, there's always at least us three. So, when one person is performing, we have another person there with a wet towel or wool blanket, so if there is something to happen, we'll… so let's say that we're spinning fire and someone's leg or their arm get catches on fire. We'll say, let's see, “Paige. Arm.” Or something like that, and she will freeze.
Paige Marie: And then I'll wipe it out.
Nat Spinz: Or the person with the towel will come over and put out the fire. We have not had any incidences like that because we wear fire-safe clothing where… nothing is a hundred percent fire safe, but like natural fibers, things like that, better to spin in. And then, also we do… we try our best to, what do you call it, to get the fuel off of our props before we light them.
Anna: Spin off.
Nat Spinz: There, that's what it's called.
Tia Imani Hanna: Who did you all learn from?
Paige Marie: Oh boy. I started learning hoop dance things from Anna and from a mutual friend, Missy. She would do these weekly get together s at the park. And that's where I just got comfortable with props in general and got to meet other people and learn about poi and staffs. And I don't know, that's how I got introduced to the community. But where I learned how to spin fire, I'd say more from like the Detroit Fire Collective and the people that go there. I miss going there. I don't like this corona nonsense. But yeah, Maggie and Deanna.
Anna Faye: They are hearts.
Paige Marie: They are fire-spinning goddesses and I love them.
Anna Faye: Yeah.
Paige Marie: It's really the community itself that drew us in because that was my first exposure to the community as well at Patriarch Park, we would go outside and that's just where we started and that's how we all found each other, actually. So, we were all at the park. I remember Nat came up to me and she was like, yeah, Are you Patri one, two, three on Instagram?
Anna Faye: And I'm like, Oh my God, you're on the Michigan Hooper's tag? It was the weirdest thing. And then like… [group laughter]
Tia Imani Hanna: Aww, that's awesome. Yeah. So, there's a lot of fun involved in the whole thing. So yeah. I know you guys are super serious about the safety and all of that sort of thing, but I just wanted to make sure everybody knew that it wasn't, it's not just fun. You have to be serious about what you're doing and pay attention and practice.
Nat Spinz: At least once a week, every week, unless we have a terrible snowstorm, like we've been having out here at Michigan. It’s been cold, but we still make it to our weekly practices because we want to stay sharp. And even though we're not doing a lot of gigs right now because of the time of year, we want to stay sharp, we want to… and that's the best way to stay safe, to continue practicing, keep our bodies conditioned for it, and run through our rotation and things like that.
Anna Faye: It's so good for us to meet weekly too, because there's been a lot of isolation this last year, and it's just been so much fun to just play, you know, with my girls once a week. It's had a significant effect on my mental health. Oh my God.
Paige Marie: Yeah. It's nice to have a tribe.
Nat Spinz: We have great chemistry. It's a great dynamic. Yeah, we're lucky.
Tia Imani Hanna: It's one of those things too, that I was thinking about, you've got the hula hoops you've got… now what's a, is it ‘poi’ you said, ‘poi’?
Nat Spinz: Yeah. So, poi are balls attached to string that people swing around and do fun things with. I guess that's the only way I can explain it.
Tia Imani Hanna: So, you have poi, you've got hula hoops. You've got, what, you've got chains with different things on them?
Paige Marie: This dragon staff behind me. So, it's like a staff with spokes on the end. Yeah, since it has the spokes on it, it spins slower. So, it gives you more time to like work around. I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't spin it, these two do. I'll get there eventually okay.
Anna Faye: It's fun. She's got one now.
Tia Imani Hanna: I've seen the, again, they must be poi and they have a double poi?
Anna Faye: Yeah.
Tia Imani Hanna: Okay. Yeah. You weave them together. Yeah. Okay. Wow! That's terrifying!
Anna Faye: This whole thing gets lit on fire.
Tia Imani Hanna: Unbelievable. That's… yeah. What talent and what skill? And fearlessness. Nobody can say you're not a bad ass. That's cool.
Paige Marie: Yeah. With these two around as well, because when you're up performing and you're spinning fire, you, especially as a professional, you really want to focus on your performance and how you're engaging the audience. And it's hard to do that when you're like, “Oh my God, don't burn yourself.” But when you're like with other, okay… First of all, that's where the weekly practices come in, is that way we can focus on our performances and our audience engagement, things like that. But then also it feels good to be with people that are looking out for your safety and if an emergency were to arise, which we haven't had any yet, knock on wood, then we're in good hands. So. that's the biggest thing about it. Yeah.
Nat Spinz: I think another big component is that we are each other's biggest cheerleaders.
Paige Marie: Say we have a performance, that we have a gig, if we're safety, like if I'm safety-ing it or if I'm, like, fueling up my prop, I am also screaming and cheering on whoever is burning.
Anna Faye: Yeah. It does help.
Tia Imani Hanna: I was glad to see the unity of that. So, do you all have… so the group in Detroit that you are mentioning, now, do you have a group in Lansing that you have new members come to, to do trainings and things like that?
Nat Spinz: So, that is actually in the works. We have, we have a lot of big things coming up on that we're working on this year. One of the things that we would like to do is create a Lansing community, like, fire dancing community. And so, where no, it has not been established yet. It is in the works.
Tia Imani Hanna: How do you go about doing that?
Nat Spinz: So, I think the first order of business is finding a place that we can do it within the guidelines of the city. And having one central location that will allow us to practice and teach and network and do all of that stuff. And so that's the first order of business there.
Tia Imani Hanna: And then with those folks, when they do come, do you start them with this hula hooping and spinning poi that aren't lit and things like that, or?
Nat Spinz: So, what it would be and there, since COVID a lot of this has stopped, but what we call it is, we call them Flow Jams. So, it's basically like a hula hooping party or a flow party. Like people come with their flow props or people come that don't have any flow props and we share with them and all of that. And essentially, people that are a little bit more well-seasoned and are ready to move on to the next step of fire, we would do something similar to like the Detroit Fire Collective. And we would have a fire safety meeting that as well-detailed, and you need to be wearing this kind of clothing, this is the kind of fuel that we use. We use this bucket system because of this and go over the safety guidelines at each one of these. And at the end of the night, people can take turns spinning fire, and they would be surrounded by well-seasoned people that are watching their back, if something were to happen. It's mostly a place… the Flow Jam is the biggest part, so people can dip their toe in. But then at the end of the night, people that are confident enough can try spinning fire as well. Did you want to add to that?
Paige Marie: So, what's really interesting about the Detroit Fire Collective is they operate out of Tangent Gallery, which is already an established business. I don't think they're making any money at all off of this. They have a $5, you know, donation cover fee and we would want to do something similar. So, I think what we're looking for is like a partnership maybe with a studio or art gallery who would be comfortable with us, like spinning in their parking lot. So, we're in search of that kind of hospitality.
Tia Imani Hanna: Yeah. Because it would have to either be a stadium sized thing or something outside, because of that fire and everything, so…
Nat Spinz: Either that, or some kind of industrial building, cause the Tangent Gallery they do fire spinning indoors, but there's also a place indoors and it's like all cemented in there, so it’s actually an okay place to spin fire in the wintertime, which is like, what? So yeah, that would be even better if we could find something similar to that.
Tia Imani Hanna: Okay. So, would there be any other group that you could partner with as far as… that does like… a bunch of welders or something.
Nat Spinz: So, I'm open, I'm opening myself up to the universe.
Anna Faye: If something like that comes up, we will be right there to collaborate.
Tia Imani Hanna: I'm just trying to think of who is already doing stuff in cemented situations that are fire safe because glassblowers, welders, people who work with metal in general. That kind of stuff. They're throwing metal and fire around. So, I just…
Nat Spinz: I know somebody who does that. I might reach out this week. Yeah. Thank you.
Tia Imani Hanna: This is something I'm known for is, I'm not a producer in the sense of if you watch any documentaries about bands are special bands, they have these wild, amazing producers that come up with these great ideas. And I just do that with everybody. I don't necessarily do it in the studio, but I do it like, oh, cause I don't have any skin in the game. So, I'm like, try this, and then it'll be like, Oh, So, I give those for free. So, on a more personal note now, I want you guys to dig as deep as you feel comfortable, but tell me, like, as far as the self-esteem building part of this, what is it… what was it that you were looking for when you started doing this? And did you find it when you… now that you're doing the fire dancing?
Nat Spinz: I know that we all have our own story, so if you guys want to go. Okay. So, for me, for a long time in my life, I struggled with depression and anxiety and my depression in, it was in 2015, had just gotten to an all-time low and, I have kids and stuff and they need their mom. And I was having a hard time just peeling myself off the couch. It was like, I just couldn't, I was just in this cloud and I just could not get out of this heaviness, the sadness. There was no reason for it that I can understand at that time. And so, I'm really big into New Year's resolutions. And I decided going into 2016 that I was going to make some changes in my life. I was going to cut back on social media because that can hit your self-esteem really hard too and stopped drinking so much pop because the caffeine was probably part of the reason why I was anxious. And then I was going to find my thing. I didn't know what it was, but I needed something to bring color back into my life. And I try wire working, like jewelry, making things like that. I tried yoga. I tried all sorts of things. I'm really like a Jack of all trades, master of none. And then halfway into 2016, it was in June of 2016. I was scrolling on Facebook and, you see how long that lasted, staying off the social media. And I was scrolling through Facebook and I see one of my friends that I used to go to school with, who had this big hula hoop and she was like dancing to music and she did this little crazy duck out thing. The hula-hoop went around her shoulder and then she ducked back into the hula-hoop and kept going. And I was like, I want to learn how to do that. That same day I Googled how to make your own like dance hula loops and stuff because online they are so expensive. I went to the hardware store. I got all the accoutrements for making your own hula-hoop at home. And I started. And it was on June 26th of 2016 that I started my hoop dancing journey and slowly, I started to see color come back into my life. I was starting to lose weight and I was building up my confidence. And the thing about hula hooping is it was like, like it was the place for me to release emotional energy. It was also a place where I could challenge myself and learn something new. There were times I biffed myself in the face with the hoop and I'd had to drill the same trick over and over, but it was like, a challenge for myself. And when I accomplished it, it was like, it was huge. Nobody else in my household understood. They were just, here's a 30-year-old woman playing with hula hoops! I feel like most of my family still looks at me like that. But I just, I can tell you right now that I didn't imagine that hoop dancing would bring me to where I am today. But I am so thankful that I made the decision and the promise to myself, to begin that self-love journey and that healing, however I had to do it. And yeah, that's how it happened for me. I'm grateful for that.
Paige Marie: Would you mind restating the question?
Tia Imani Hanna: Basically, just what was it on a personal level, that brought you to hula hooping and then what escalated it up to, I really need to do the fire dancing next? And what made you want to even do the hoop hooping in the first place? Because I look at hula hooping and I said, I can’t, never could do it as a kid. And now I'm so out of shape, I can't even move for less than 30 seconds and I'm like, I'm on the floor gasping for breath.
Paige Marie: So, what started me hooping was this lady, this Anna over there. We went to school together, but we were never really like friends in high school. Not that we weren't like friendly, we just didn't hang out or get together or anything. And I think it was out of the blue that she was just like, “Hey, do you want to come over to my house and play with hula hoops?” And I, same as you, like, I couldn't hula-hoop. Like I couldn't keep it on my waist. That took me so long to get, honestly, like my on-body hooping skills, still not the greatest, but I can whip it around and do everything else. So, I got that going for me. But so, it started there and honestly it became an obsession. Because at that time in my life, like I was living on my own for the first time. I didn't have a car. I was struggling. So, I had to bike to work. So, I was really fit because I was biking to work, biking everywhere, and hooping, because I was obsessed with it because that's all I wanted to do. So, I think I got good at it pretty quickly cause it's all I wanted to do. And then, as I've progressed and as I've continued doing it, I started off probably in some of the best shape I've ever been in, in my life, because I had no car, so I had to bike everywhere. But now, like getting a more personal note, now, like later in life, like five years later, I've gained quite a bit of weight. So, the confidence thing has been a struggle, cause I'm always been the big girl. My whole life I've been big-boned, heavy set, big shoulders. And I cheered, so I was the biggest girl on my cheer team and that was always hard for me. And now being in a group of women again and being the biggest has been a bit of a struggle, but I like finding my own confidence and joy in what I do. And I have support of these two. Cause the second I said, they're like, no, and argue with me about it and I don't know, it's so… there's definitely still that like internal struggle and I'm losing weight up and dieting, yada, all that stuff that you continue to do into forever. It's, I don't know, I really enjoy what I'm doing and I never thought that it would come to the point where I would be doing something I loved and something creative and getting paid for it. It's insane to me. I never would have considered it, especially I dunno, like I said, with the low self-confidence that I have from time to time and I don't know. I think a different side of me comes out when I perform, because I love being in front of people. I love sharing the things I love.
Anna Faye: Cause you're a fucking queen.
Paige Marie: I love feeling myself. And I love getting out there. And I love freaking people out by putting fire in my mouth and it just, I dunno, I've become, not become, I've I found a new obsession. Because I started off just obsessed with like plastic circles. And now I'm obsessed with that, like, that adrenaline rush when you light the wicks. You step out onto a stage, it's just, it's good. I think it's really good for me and my mental health to, to feel one, a part of this group and to share who I love with others. Thanks.
Anna Faye: You're good.
Nat Spinz: That was good.
Paige Marie: Thanks.
Anna Faye: It’s emotional because it is such a big outlet for us. And that's how I got started too is, like I said earlier, is dance was just my foundation. If I was really feeling something, I didn't have to go to therapy, I could go to dance class and express it and push it all out. But when I stopped, there was like a whole year that I was stagnant and it was the worst year of my life. I gained a bunch of weight. I had terrible self-image. I thought, I'll never be able to dance again. And then I took a master class. This is an older group, so I don't know if they're around anymore, but it was a woman from a G L and M performance agency, The Glam Dolls. And she did a little LED hula-hoop performance for us. And it was the first time I ever seen an LED prop. And I just remember every hair on my body was standing on end and I just felt something so special, and just being able to observe that. And that day I bought a hula hoop from her and I took it home. And shortly after I invited Paige over. And most of my life, I've been an adrenaline junkie. I love performing. I longboard. I bought a motorcycle last year. Like, I just have a need for something. And when you're spinning with fire, there's a whole new respect between you and the fire itself. You really do have to treat it like a good lady, to be a little bit afraid of her.
Nat Spinz: Excellent analogy. I’m quoting you the next time we post.
Tia Imani Hanna: So, when you guys have rehearsals, d0 you get together and sing a song to the Goddess first and then… [laughing chatter]… yeah.
Nat Spinz: I love spinning fire under the full moon. I feel so drawn to the moon. Like, it holds so much symbolism in my lifetime. And so, that's a big thing. Whenever there's a full moon, like, I always get super excited. I have to mention at least several times, “It's going to be a full moon! It's gonna be a blue moon!”
Paige Marie: Hard -core witch vibes
Tia Imani Hanna: That's wonderful. It's good to see the comradery in the group. It's good to see the support of each other because in so many circumstances, women, we eat our own. We just do. I don't know why we do that, but we do. So, it's nice to see the support.
Anna Faye: That's something I wanted to touch on too, because I think that all three of us have been affected by it in some way. But I find, throughout the six years I've been doing this, I'll have really high highs and somewhat low lows. And most of the time, those low lows come from stewing on social media for too long. You watch all these people who've been doing it for three times as long as you have and you're like, “Oh, I'll just never be that good. And I'll never get that. I'll never look like that when I spin.” And that's not true, but that's still, even today, if I spend too much time scrolling. I get down on myself and I won't spin, but the second I forget about all that and I pick up a hula hoop and I dance around, I'm 110%, no matter where I started. I think it's important not to feed into that too much and quit the scrolling.
Nat Spinz: I think it's a societal thing for women to be against each other. And I feel like, in my younger years when I was a little more insecure, I was more like that a bit, like more in competition with other women. And I think that's what you were talking about. And so, it's actually an intentional, it's actually something that's intentional, that's to fight against those feelings that we’re supposed to be in competition with each other. And we literally put the crown on each other's head and adjust it, “No you're a queen. You can do this.” And cheer each other on. I also have two daughters and that's something that I talk about with them too. And they're awesome kids. They like flow arts a lot too. And so, I want my girls to grow up in a world where women aren't, like, less than. We're not less than men. We're not less than each other. Like, we can cheer each other on and support each other. I don't want them to feel, like, any kind of negativity toward other women because that just, it hurts you when you do that. I don't know. It's something that's really important to me on a personal level. It's important to us. I know that we've had to have some intentional conversations sometimes.
Anna Faye: Paige and I both have really strong personalities. And sometimes when, when we are collaborating, we might have a different idea of how things should go, but we both do a really great job of communicating. Like, we're having to step back and have a side chat with each other about things. And then there's times where one of us has to, okay, you get to have… you have this project and surrender control in that area. And I think it's important to be, in order for any relationship to work, you have to be honest and raw and you have to communicate. And there's going to be times where you get frustrated with each other. But if you want any kind of relationship to work, whether it's domestic partnerships or in a business relationship or friends, which we're all, both friends and in a business partnership you have to be able to communicate and not think of each other as competition. I guess I feel like competition isn't even the best word for it, but you know what I'm saying ultimately.
Paige Marie: I definitely struggled with that for a long time. Cause I, and I still do this, I'm still guilty of it. Comparing myself to other people and to these two, like I said, the self-confidence, big ol’ legs, big ol’ tum situation. But I remember, I think this was right before we started Flames ‘N Dames, I had Nat come over, and she was like, “Be straight up, what did you think of me, like, when we first met?” I'm like…
Anna Faye: This was over drinks, by the way.
Paige Marie: This is when she came over and we were doing that doubles practice.
Nat Spinz: Oh really? Oh ok.
Paige Marie: So, she I was like, if I'm being like, for real, I felt threatened by you because we both started at the same time and she just got so good. It blew my mind and I'm like, “What in the fuck?” Can I swear? I don't get it, like she just, I don't know, she blew my mind. And then in my own head I'm like, Oh, I gotta be better than her. I gotta work hard or whatever. And it was just ridiculous. And it was needless because it doesn't have to be like that. And I told her that, and I'm like, I'm just being straight out. That's how I felt from the get-go. And I'm so glad I got to know you because you're not, it's not warranted. And the fact that I took issue with her for no reason was ridiculous. And I'm glad that I have the voice I do now to just tell her that, hey, just being straight up. There was a point where I had this weird image in my head of you. And that just totally isn't the case. And I'm glad that we've gotten better in our communication. not butting heads.
Nat Spinz: Yeah. So many women could benefit from just having real conversations because our friendship has developed so much more since we were able to do that.
Tia Imani Hanna: There's a level of trust there. And I think that most folks, you guys have created a tribe. Most folks are coming at you from their own tribes and everybody outside of that tribe is outside of that tribe period. There's already a level of distrust there, with good reason, because that's just how we are. So, to allow somebody else to become part of your new, you're expanding your bubble outside to pull that one person in. But when you take that one person you're taking in their whole group and you don't realize that. So, that's how you end up getting hurt because you're like, I'm taking you in, but no, you're actually taking everybody in their group into your group. And that's where we're going, “Whoa. Wait.” You know, and it's a very real thing. It's just that we don't know that because we have to live long enough to know that. It's like when you have that first relationship and you say, oh wait, I haven't met your mother yet. Wait a minute. Or your sister, or your triplets, the twin brothers or whatever, that are always at the house, that kind of thing. You just don't know that. So, there's a law. And once it happens to you once, then after that, “Whoa. Stay away. Stay away.” So, we have to give ourselves a little bit of a break because that is for real, that's a very real thing. But to have the communication that you guys have. You can't trust somebody with fire if you can’t trust them.
Nat Spinz: I think society wants to pit women against each other so hard because if we all uplifted each other and supported each other, we would become too powerful.
Tia Imani Hanna: The other part about that is, we are powerful. We don't have to become anything.
Nat Spinz: Oh yeah. I agree.
Tia Imani Hanna: It's already there. And with all of this stuff going on, this time in history is, there's, if you want to go into the celestial stuff, the shift has happened. Female energy has come up. And that's why we have the whole Trump versus the World situation happening right now. That’s the pushback of that energy coming in. It’s the old energy is trying to push back and saying, “No, you cannot have control of this.” It's going to be okay to say this about women and do this to women. So that's what's happening. So, we're just in that shifting phase right now. He's out. He's moved through his time. Those who are in that range are moving through their time and it's happening. So, there's not anything anyone can really do to stop that. It's just going to be what it's going to be. So, if we stand in our own energy and make art, make flow, we're going to be fine.
Anna Faye: Yeah, if we just stop fronting too, if we just stopped putting on the face and just be real with each other, “Let our tummies out,” as Lauren Hill says.
Tia Imani Hanna: Yeah. Yeah, that would be nice. Wouldn't it? There's an old episode of “Living Single” that used to be on in the late nineties. And it was Queen Latifa and Kim Fields and a couple of other actresses that I can't remember all the names right now. But there's a scene, and she's… because they were talking about men or something and they were like, they were trying to date them and they were like, so sick of them, but they wanted to date them, but we're so sick of them. And she's, “If it wasn't for men, there'd be a lot of fat happy women.” Yeah. [laughter] So, on that note, Flames ‘n Dames, if you're going to give it a creed to say to the world, what would you say to the world, to the women coming up, to the young women coming up, to women in general? What would you say?
Nat Spinz: My message to the women coming up and stepping into themselves in the world is “Don't let anybody tell you you can't. Don't let anybody tell you what your truth is or what you're supposed to be.” I’m a professional hula hooper. This is what I do. This is my main income. Five years ago, if you would've told me that, I would've said, “No, I don't believe that.” But this is the same thing I tell my daughters is, “It's okay to be a handful.” Step into your truth, whatever that is. It may be a goal that's super far away, but just keep taking baby steps to whatever you want to be. Look at Kamala. Look at that queen. So, nothing is impossible. Just go for it.
Anna Faye: That was really well said.
Nat Spinz: Thank you.
Anna Faye: Because I've been told I can't, several times, you're not going to be able to bond that hill on your longboard. You're a girl, you're not going to be able to do this. You're not going to be able to do that. And every single time someone's told me I can't, I've given it a year and then I've gone and done it. And every single time, that triumph has been worth it even, even though it hurt at once, you know that's what made me who I am, sure.
Tia Imani Hanna: So, did you want to add anything to that Paige?
Paige Marie: I think if I were to add something, it would be not worry about sacrificing your own needs to make everyone else comfortable. Because it's not about appeasing everyone. I've spent a lot of time trying to please other people and make other people happy. And I've found through therapy that like, I need to start putting myself first. And it's something that I would like to share with others is you are number one. You have ‘you’ for the rest of your life. So, if you don't make yourself happy, that's on you. Take ownership of your life and how you live it and just be happy with who you are and what you do and don't take no shit.
Tia Imani Hanna: So where can we find you ladies online?
Nat Spinz: You can find us at flamesndames.com. So, it's not ‘and’, there's an N in the middle. Yep. And we're also on Facebook and Instagram as Flames N Dames.
Tia Imani Hanna: And there's video too up there or?
Nat Spinz: Oh yeah. All kinds of stuff around.
Paige Marie: We're on Tik Tok and Instagram. Flames ‘n Dames everywhere, I think.
Nat Spinz: Yeah. If you Google Flames ‘n Dames, we're the first that comes up now.
Paige Marie: I remember when we were trying to come up with our name and we…
Anna Faye: She came up with the name.
Nat Spinz: But like we were Googling it to make sure no one else had it. And we're like, we found some ladies that do barbecue!
Paige Marie: I clicked right on that button site. [laughter]
Tia Imani Hanna: Thank you so much ladies for being on the show today. So, I want to say thank you to Nat Spinz and Paige Marie and Anna Faye, Flames ‘n Dames. Thank you so much for being on Tia Time.
Nat Spinz: It's been a pleasure. Thanks so much. Bye.
Tia Imani Hanna: Thank you for joining us this week on Tia Time with Artists. Make sure to visit our website, tiaviolin.com, where you can subscribe to the show in iTunes and never miss an episode. Please leave us a rating wherever you listen to podcasts. We really appreciate your comments, and we'll mine them to bring you more amazing episodes.
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