few years. I’m a very different personnow
than i was back then. I’m almost
unrecognizable to the people who knew
me,but yet oddly familiar to myself.
I was raised in a very conservative home and homeschooled from 3rd grade through high school. I never was taught dance or attended any classes – it wasn’t permitted. While it often spoke to me, I didn’t know I had a true love for dance until about 5 years ago. At the time, I was a stay at home mom of 3 beautiful boys, all homeschooled. My husband was working from home and I was pregnant with our 4th son. During the pregnancy we were told that, due to some complications, our son would not survive. Determined to fight for him, I continued to carry our son. For me, this was a time of darkness – I became a different person. At the end of the tunnel though, we were presented with a healthy, 9-pound baby boy.
This experience left me altered; searching and re-evaluating my life. My purpose. Life is so fragile and short. I felt a calling to make a change starting squarely with myself. Like many of us, I wanted to make a change but didn’t know where to start. I became restless, depressed, and unsatisfied with the way I lived out my days. There had to be more. I was out of shape, overweight, tired, and stressed from the day to day responsibilities and having everyone home all the time. I needed a release. I needed an out. I needed time away to re-set. There were so many years of giving and it was taken a toll on me. I didn’t know who I was anymore.
One day a friend asked me to her dance fitness class. I hadn’t stepped foot into a gym in 12 years. I was the girl who ate potato chips on the couch through 10 seasons of the Biggest Loser. I hated to workout. Hated it. It was never part of my life. But I was desperate to get out of the house and do something, anything, different. So I went. And hated it.
Everything on me jiggled. And not in a good way. I couldn’t figure out the steps and I was sucking wind, running to the bathroom to sit with my head between my legs from hyperventilation. I was feeling worse about myself than before I went. After the class was over, I swore I would never go back. Three days passed and I started having this deep desire to go again. Something in me had woken up. I realized that I really loved it.
I loved the thought of it. I wanted to learn how to do it and I wanted be good at it. So I went back. Once again, I came home discouraged. The following week my friend was unable to come with me so I felt it was a good time to try another class. A different instructor. That night, I walked in to Ashleigh’s class. Her music, her style, her fire – it immediately clicked with me. She clicked with me. I was hooked. It was the first time I didn’t look at the clock for an entire class. I wasn’t worrying about how I couldn’t do the moves. The music was loud and the choreography was different. It reached deep within and found a place that ignited everything in me that had been lying dormant and undiscovered. After that moment I never looked back.
I started going regularly, it was my night out. This was the first thing I had ever done for myself since becoming a wife and mother. It became the highlight of my week, something I couldn’t wait to do. The stress relief that came from dancing in that class was lifesaving. It was freeing. I was letting go of myself in a way I never had. There were no apologies. I had found what I was missing. I found ME.
Fast forward a year. Ashleigh and I had formed a great bond. She gave me a platform to teach with her. We began choreographing routines together. She encouraged me to become an instructor. The dancing, our format…began to evolve. It became “us.”
Groove was born.
Dancing was not about weight loss for me. It was purely mental. The physical changes were simply a by-product. I lost 45 pounds and went from a size 12 to a size 2. I then transitioned into trying other forms of exercise and became a certified barre instructor, group exercise instructor and personal trainer. I studied nutrition and received a certification in that as well. Five years ago, if you told me where I’d be be today, I would’ve laughed in complete disbelief. This wasn’t who I ever was.
A fitness instructor and coach? At now 39 years old, however, I have found my purpose. I can confidently say that I help others (specifically women) discover themselves and become stronger, not only externally, but internally. This all started by stepping outside of my comfort zone.