I’m all about honesty, so I’m going to be upfront about what’s been going on in my life recently.
I’ve been happily busy with going to school full-time, working with my wonderful partners at Team Not Ashamed, and doing so many exciting things with committees and advisory boards for my county. It’s been incredible to do more for those living with mental health issues in my community, especially Transition Age Youth (people 18-26), but I’m not going to lie, some days I’ve been overwhelmed. I decided to go back to basics and do the one thing that makes me the happiest: dance.
Dancing has always unofficially one of few things that I have always loved. I used to tell my mom to buy me tap shoes because I had a “tapping in my heart” and I inherited my mom’s impeccable rhythm. I didn’t get formal dance training until my color guard instructor, a fabulous dance teacher, made my squad have a dance boot camp my Freshman year of high school. She helped me find some confidence and brought me out of my comfort zone while I was dealing with my mental health issues.
Once I started performing on football fields, I felt like I star! I was apparently good at dancing and people were shocked when quiet, little ol’ me would show my true self through dance. Whether I was performing pirouettes or hip hop, I felt alive. I was at par with many of the girls who had been dancing their whole lives and it made me feel special.
I continued my dance journey in college by joining the school’s dance ensemble. I got to perform so many styles, ballet, broadway, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop (my favorite genre). I felt like I found my people. Even when I was feeling suicidal and probably should have left my college sooner than I did, I stayed so I could dance once more. It was largely what kept me going during the lowest point of my life.
Dance is my release. Everyone knows me as the girl who is the first on the dance floor and the last to leave. I get a high like no other when I synchronize my movements to the beats and lyrics. I used to make up dance routines to songs on the radio for fun and since I have been was feeling bogged down, I decided to start getting back into the groove and make up some choreography. I’m convinced there’s a direct correlation between my level of happiness and the amount of dancing I get to do.
My kitchen is my studio. I glide across the linoleum with my headphones in my ear. I feel like I’m on stage again. I try to get 15-30 minutes a dance a day to clear my head. To me, it’s a form of self-care because I show that I love my body by expressing myself through it. I meditate to the melodies. When I dance, I see my strengths and all flaws are blurred because I see my true beauty.
Find your dance. Find your passion. Find what makes you happy.