I dance nearly everyday. Dancing is my medicine…my therapy…my joy. It has been etched into my soul perhaps from past lives. Fact is, I know that I need it in order to function. Since I was a little girl I remember listening to a record called, “Tina the Ballerina” and would pretend I was this gorgeous French ballet dancer and twirl all around my room on the regular. It brought me much happiness.
My journey thus far has provided me with the opportunity to own and operate a dance, fitness, and nutrition studio – which I consider my first born. My business is my baby and every day I aim to grow and nurture it.
Many people do not know my story of how I got here…the pivotal point of having the opportunity to tap into my joy on a daily basis. And thanks to an innate response inside me, I never let my adversaries steal my joy or make me believe I was not capable of succeeding.
In 1997 I was on a quest to break-free of living under my parents roof and began searching and dreaming of my career path. My senior year of high school we looked into a few local universities. I had it in my crazy-mind that I wanted to be a Dance major. Despite my lack of competitive dance training, I was set on thinking a college would make me “the-most-outstanding-dancer-that-ever-existed.” Ha ha, or something like that. My dance training was what my family could afford – one day per week. Which was better than zero days and I am grateful for having at least that. However to BE “the-most-outstanding-dancer-that-ever-existed” one must train daily for hours a day, to say the least.
The spring of ’98 I scheduled my first dance audition – EVER. Talk about NOT being prepared. I was thrust into a collegiate level 1 Modern Dance class at Slippery Rock University (which later became my alma mater). I had the WRONG attire for Modern, had zero clue what Modern was and OMG I was probably the most insecure I had ever felt in my life up to that point. To put it nicely, I sucked. But I did my best in this class because I knew I was being assessed by SRU professors.
Then came Ballet. “Ok,” I thought. “I have ballet experience, I’ve got this.” Ummm, NO, NO I did NOT. And holy sh*t it took everything in my body not to run out of the room that day knowing full well I was out of my league…however I did do better in Ballet than that Modern class – yowza.
After the audition my dad and I sat down privately with the chairperson of the dance department (who ended up retiring the following semester). She looked at my father square in the face and vehemently said, “Your daughter needs to choose a different major. She is not meant to dance for a living.”
Those words echoed in head and my heart sunk so low that I could feel it being devoured by my stomach. Tears began pooling behind my eyes; so much so they were probably floating off of my face.
We exited her office and I just started to ball. I completely lost it and lost all hope for becoming “the most outstanding dancer that ever existed.”
Then something happened that I did not expect. My dad put his arm around me and said, “Aubrey, don’t you let anyone tell you that you cannot do this! If this is your choice, then you work as hard as you can and you will succeed – I promise you.”
For sure I thought my dad would side with the department chair. But he saw something in me that she did not – he saw my passion. My father knew that things never really came easy for me. He was my tutor growing up and I was a straight-A student only thanks to him. He helped me work hard – he knew I was never gonna be “the gifted kid.”
Through a waterfall of tears and sobbing I looked at him and hugged him. As my eyes dried something pulled my attention to a sign on the wall near to us. It was this list of all the majors and minors Slippery Rock had to offer. I saw this one major I had never heard of – Exercise Science. And I also saw that I could take Dance as a minor.
That was the moment I decided. I was determined to integrate Dance into my life for the rest of my life, even though I would never become “the-most-outstanding-dancer-that-ever-existed.”
Unfortunately my adversary in college never saw this next accomplishment I made thanks to her help. Upon my senior year at SRU I was awarded, “The Most Outstanding Dance Minor of the Year Award.”
Yes, friends I did IT! I became outstanding as best as I could with the tools I had been given and through a LOT of hard work and dedication.
This is a memory I will never forget…it has set me up to better understand how to handle my numerous adversaries I have encountered along the way and even battle an evil nemesis – and to all of them who will never read this blog I THANK YOU anyway. Our paths were meant to cross and because of you I continue to fulfill my life purpose and provide others with joy through dance.
How about you? What or who has been your biggest adversary who pushed you to do bigger and better things?
Curious on who is my Nemesis? See my blog titled, “The Nemesis” for more!