To The Dancer Who Walked Away

To The Dancer Who Walked Away

Take a moment to think to yourself, will the dancer inside of you really ever be gone fully?

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Years of costumes. Years of memories. Years of recitals. Years of competitions.

Somewhere in between, you still hold a place in your heart for dance. Whether you stopped dancing due to an injury, preference, or graduating, you definitely share this one thing in common. You have to admit you probably start dancing around when you hear your recital song from when you were 5 years old, just reminiscing on those times.

Somewhere in your old studio lies a piece of you that cannot be replaced. You probably have cried tears, sweat buckets, and achieved many goals within that room. Dance is not just a sport. Dance is not just an art. Dance is not just an activity. It is something that cannot be categorized.

Countless hours at practice. Countless lessons learned. Countless friendships made.

Somewhere in your home lies the good luck tap shoes, puffy pink ballet tutus, rainbow hip-hop sneakers, and hangers of costumes from years ago. You probably have had many memories from all of these and traveled to many different places in them. The lessons learned from being a dancer is something that cannot be taken from you for the rest of your life.

The smell of worn out dance shoes, sweat, and hairspray sticks in my mind forever.

Somewhere in that room lies the "dancer" part of me. The countless leaps, turns, and kicks. The number of formations and transitions practiced. The stereo set in the back corner. The ballet bar on the wall. The place I was for most of the week, every week.

Do you remember the last time you competed?

Competing for years was an amazing experience. Learning how to take a compliment, but always knowing there is room to improve. Knowing when you fail, all you can do is try again. Being taught at a young age that you do not always win, sometimes you lose. Learning when your body is tired or just being lazy. Taking criticism and using it to improve.

Lessons were being learned each and every day.

Some people will never understand. Being a dancer requires strength, perseverance, and patience. Getting up in front of an entire auditorium and expressing yourself through different movements is definitely not for everyone. Having the confidence to dance solo at times in front of judges critiquing you takes strength.

Having the mental strength to keep going even if you mess up during the middle of the routine. Having the physical strength to dance with injuries, yes accidents happen! Perseverance is definitely important as well. Dancers could be working on one specific trick for over a year or even years at a time.

Practice makes perfect. The more we practiced and bonded as a team, the better we performed. Dancers in my world were a unique group of girls. Dancers love to be themselves. Dancers love to immediately step on the dance floor. Dancers love to travel together as a team.

This sport was not just about the recitals, competitions, or dances. Dance teaches young women the power of being yourself. When you step out on to the stage, you are creating a piece of art by moving your body to the music.

Having young women constantly encouraging one another to do their best was an amazing aspect of many teams. Bonding as a whole was vital for success on the dance floor.

Being a dancer is something special. We all have had those "I'm sick of this" moments. But hey, that comes with any sport. Thinking back on my years of being a dancer, sometimes I'm not sure if the "dancer" part of me is really gone.

5, 6, 7, 8!

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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If Shonda Can Do A Year Of Yes, Then So Can I

Yes.

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A few years ago, Shonda Rimes decided to do a year of saying yes, after her sister told her she says "No" to everything. It ended up changing her life.

So, I've decided to embark on my own year of yes.

Sure, it may be easy to say yes to everything when you're a millionaire with a bunch of record-setting televisions shows, but the rest of us can do it too.

Say yes to treating yourself.

Say yes to taking care of yourself.

Say yes to saying no, don't stretch yourself too thin.

Say yes to new opportunities

The year of yes is about taking better care of yourself.

My year of yes starts right now.

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