Accomplished one of my huge life goals today. I hope this story inspires.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I was raised in a single parent household on welfare. My mother had me when she was 20 years old. She worked extremely hard at allowing me to pursue my passion for dance. At times when my goals seemed grandeur she amused me and kept supporting me. I could never afford to attend dance conventions to train but I made the most out of the training I received in San Diego by being very disciplined and soaking it all in. In heinsight the training I received was stellar and that was all thanks to the work my mother put in by seeking out the best. To all of my dance teachers and mentors I bow to you.
I decided at a young age that I would show my mom gratitude by buying her a house one day. In 2012 I purchased a 4 bedroom house in San Diego for my family (mom, little brother, aunt). I then made another goal to pay it off as fast as I could. Here we are Aug 2016 and it’s paid off!!!! I did it! I’m proud of myself and I’m so grateful to my mother and her sacrifices. Just last year I won an Emmy award for my choreography but that feeling doesn’t compare to how I feel knowing that I gave my mother a place to call home.
I want to tell all of you who may get discouraged and feel like you’re climbing an uphill battle, you can do it and anything is possible!
I was at Walmart with my brother on Thanksgiving and a man walking by says, “man the shoes here are so over priced!” He was definitely serious and appeared stressed. His comment put many things into perspective and made me realize how different my life is now compared to my childhood.
I remember as a kid my mom putting clothes on layaway and also me yearning for certain material things that my mom couldn’t afford. I was raised on welfare and money was always the barrier to me obtaining many things I wanted. I fell in love with dance at 5 years old and thankfully my mom worked endlessly to nurture my passion. I didn’t grow up competing dance or going to dance conventions but my mom made sure that I was constantly dancing and training. She allowed me to fly in the field that made my heart happy. She allowed me to believe that this dream could be a reality. She NEVER once told me that it wasn’t possible. She just kept trying to open more doors for me to walk through.
Ultimately I worked obsessively in the profession that brings me happiness. I earn a solid living and I never want for anything anymore and most importantly I love what my “job” is. I often feel like I’m stealing because to me it isn’t a job. A wise woman recently told me (Julia Eastwood), “if you don’t understand the business of your art then it is just a hobby.” I innately understood this theory early on or you could say the desire to succeed made me understand this theory early on. Either way, understanding the business of my art has allowed me the ultimate freedom in life; doing what I love and making money while doing it.
What this Walmart experience gave me was the reminder that through hard work, passion and devotion you can achieve anything you want in this lifetime. It may not be in the perfect package and it may take longer than you desire but ultimately if it’s what you really desire then you will eventually be rewarded. For me, not having the finances to be on the fast track to dance success held me back from immediate success but it allowed me to appreciate every opportunity and accomplishment which ended up being a blessing in disguise. Just 20 years ago, I was in a store like Walmart with my mom financially imprisoned just like the man I spoke about earlier. We all have decisions and we can always change our path. Do you choose to turn lemons into lemonade? I did.
In 2012, I purchased my mother, 13 year old brother and aunt a home in my hometown of San Diego. It was a very proud moment to have the ability to do such. As I sit here typing I’m enjoying the view from my balcony here in San Diego. I worked hard for this moment and I am grateful.
I hope that I have inspired you to pursue your dreams or change your life for the better. It’s always in your hands.
I was sitting here thinking about how 4 years ago my engagement ended with my boyfriend of 8 years and how I spent 2 years recovering, healing and learning about myself. In 2010 I made a decision to drive forward aggressively and make up for lost time by pursuing what I always dreamed of. In those two years I’ve conquered MANY of my dreams and goals. Here’s a quick list to give you an idea of short term goals I set. 1) Get on SYTYCD 2) Work for and with Brian Friedman (I worked for him on America’s Got Talent, X-factor & Kevin Stea’s music video) 3) Get on The PULSE Convention as permanent Faculty 4) Work more in general as a choreographer and teach less 5) Lose weight and be healthy 6) Find balance in my life between work and friends 7) Take risks and be happy. Those were my goals and I can proudly say I have and AM conquering them! I had no rigid structure in my approach. I just internally believed in my goals and visualized them and spent everyday working towards achieving them. I also don’t do anything that doesn’t make me happy or fulfill me. I have an ongoing joke with my partner in crime, Kevin Frey that I never know what choreography job is coming next so (since he’s on the Lady Gaga World Tour) he may have to pay my rent should I not have a job. LOL….. (I have a nice savings account and a convention teaching gig so I’ll never really need it but it’s fun to joke with him). He laughs because every time I complete a choreography job he asks me what’s coming next and if he’ll have to pay my rent for the next month. He always laughs at how things just fall into place for me. I’ve been blessed to have booked choreography work back to back for the past year or so. It’s all about believing friends! I hope sharing my short story with you has inspired you to work hard and believe.
Til next time!
I am beyond honored as well as humbled to have the privilege to teach along side such legends as Brian Friedman, Wade Robson, Tyce Diorio, Gil Duldulao, Laurieann Gibson, Dave Scott, Desmond Richardson, Cris Judd and Brooke Lipton. These are all people that I have looked up to as I was growing up in this industry. It’s a dream come true to know that I earned a place next to them. I am so excited to embark upon this new journey of inspiration.
I feel so blessed that my initial love of dance at 5 years old has turned into my way of life. I truly believe there are no mistakes and that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I am grateful for all of the trials and tribulations that I’ve been through because those pains are what fueled me to push forward into my purpose.
“When I felt like giving up I kept going….”