First! Thank you for wanting to hear what I have to say!
Whew, where do I begin? There are so many routes that I could take you on to get to where I am today! Well, I guess let’s start with the basics. I’m a native of Atlanta, grew up in the late 80, raised by both parents (who are still married), and grew up with 4 siblings.
Education. Using a few words, elementary school – “Teacher’s Pet” (I actually miss those that I went to school with) , Middle school – diversity/exposure was introduced, high school – the rough years, and undergrad – “found myself.” I’ve always been the chick that know of a lot of people but could only call a few friends. Can’t really say I was the most popular or coolest for that matter. Those that I hung out with were a part of my church. I grew up heavily in church and have always had that foundation. God has always dealt with me through my friendships with others, so most of my young adulthood was me learning that “reason, season, lifetime” thing. Once I graduated and this is from any school, I never really kept in touch with many people. I tend to deal with in the present. From time to time, I’d catch up with a few people, but nothing lasting. I can count on one hand the people that I actually keep in touch with from any school that I have attended. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood. I had great friendship in each season of my child/young adulthood.
One thing, I dealt with, though, was bullying. Not the bullying, children today have to endeavor, but bullying nonetheless. I was teased about my weight (never have been thin), and about my opinions (never followed the crowd.) I was often called a “hater” cause I wouldn’t just go with the flow so I struggled internally. That struggle started to eat at my self-esteem. Being a teenager and struggling with self-esteem is difficult, but I am really grateful for this testimony because it’s my make up of the woman I’ve become. I didn’t confide in my parents much about it. Don’t really have a reason for that. I do remember praying to God after my 9th grade year, asking him to remove the drama from my life. From tenth grade on, life was a bit better. As far as self-esteem, it took prayer, taking value in my thoughts and opinion, even if it wasn’t the most popular route to take, and accepting myself to successful gain high self-esteem. I remember after college, I came home (to Atlanta), I was confronted with a situation that taught me that GROWN people struggle with low self-esteem. I always thought it was something that EVERYBODY mastered by adulthood. So I then after I took my lesson as a blessing because now I can others see the value in themselves as an adult.
Fast forward to today…
Since college, I’ve received a undergrad, I’ve received a Master’s (International Business), two certificates (Event Planning and TESOL), and am currently seeking a career in teaching English as a Second Language. I’ve done social media marketing for some of the most brilliant musicians, creative arts professionals, and business gurus around. I even picked up a little thing called dancing.
Now dance, which I could talk about all day, is fairly new in my life. I’ve only been in the “dance world” (as we like to call it) for 5 years. I picked up dance because it looked classy and I’ve never been a club goer. I remember my mother had a co-worker who used to sent my flyers to come learn with them. On the flyer, it stated, “no partner needed” but somehow I convinced myself I needed a partner so that would prolong me attending a class. It wasn’t until September 2011, I went to a local STIR event, which showcased many creative art forms, where I saw “1 STEP ABOVE.” They were doing a demo of Detroit Ballroom, Chicago-style Steppin, and Line Dancing. Although I didn’t participate, I watch on as I saw these young professionals enjoying themselves. I remember sitting down to look up when their class met. I was in class that Wednesday and the rest is history. After 6 months of classes, I finally went out to a Detroit Ballroom event.This was a whole new world. I was so intimidated, yet intrigued. Being the shy person that I am (many would like to differ), I was so scared that I’d mess up and men wouldn’t want to dance with me. After a while, I noticed that though I was shy about getting on the floor, I would keep coming out and learning in class as well as on the dance floor. Eventually, I realized this was the most consistent thing I had ever stuck with. I’ve been embarrassed and I still didn’t let that stop me from getting better.
Now I am heavily into Chicago Stepping, more than the other dance styles I’ve learned over the years. I travel (probably a little more than I should) but it has literally taken me out of my shell and introduced me to LIFE! Although I’m a baby compared to others in my Steppin family, they take many forms in my life, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, and great friends. Among working with a girl’s mentoring program, church, work, and family, dance keeps me sane, balanced, grounded, and is a major outlet. My friendships I have now with those I dance with are probably the longest relationship I’ve had to date. (Being that we see each other at least once to four times a week.
I’m proud of my story and I’m excited to embrace the next chapters.
“Everything’s better with Butta in it!”