Who am I?
The goofiest, awkward, weirdo you may ever meet! 25 years young and continuously discovering who she is every day!
My first LOVE is movement! I started dancing when I was 3, taking ballet & tap classes. As I got older, I danced competitively and recreationally. I've done choreography, contemporary, lyrical, musical theatre dance, cheer dance, pom, modern, ballet, somatics, yoga, & hip hop! But what about health & fitness? I was an active kid~swim team, running, triathlons, & gym life.
If you hear me talking about Lotus, that is my dance persona! Lotus was given to me, before I even knew I would dive deep into unlearning everything I thought I ever new about "hip hop". I stuck with the name because as the lotus flowers grows from the GROUND UP, so did I! I could NOT create movement outside of a 5678 *choreography*. Musicality was a struggle. I was SO TENSE. I started at ground zero. I used to teach a littles hip hop class and sub alot. I am both a dance crew member and education specialist, for a non-profit, which teaches character education through dance, spoken word, & acting. If you haven't noticed yet, I absolutely adore this art form! Spreading knowledge of this movement is my passion- a story for another day!
Just a lil about me :)
The first time, I was told I was "over-weight" was at a routine check-up around age 10. From that point on, my family was focused on creating healthier lifestyle choices, but as a kid who in the world wants to do that?..
I silently became OBSESSED with the way that I looked. As a teen, I was bullied for my more developed body than the other kids. Classmates picked on me for my acne, especially when I decided to cover my face in makeup; hoping to feel confident in my skin. I was picked on for my weight & being more "tom-boy". Oh can't forget, 7th grade being picked on for the food I had for lunch, as I was starting to become more aware of what I was eating...
How did dance affect your health & well being?
No matter if I was in a class with the older company kids or the dancers my age, EVERYONE was concerned about the way that they looked! This ideal image of a "dancer's body", toned with abs, able to wear XYZ costumes...EYE ROLLS! Always one of the dancers placed in costumes that covered up our "heavier appearances". Little did any of the coaches or owner know, this contributed to YEARS of poking, prodding, negative self talk, & body image distortion...
The summer before I went to college, I was on a "I'll show him what he's missing" phase, after a long distance break-up! My day to day schedule- Wake up, home workout DVD, run around the neighborhood 2-3miles, eat, get ready to open the aquatics facility, pack food, go straight to the gym...Run around the track 12 times. Go to the squat rack. Grab some dumbbells OR bench press. Depending on the day, either leg or upper body machines. Then pick an elliptical or the stair stepper. Oh wait, there's more! Go to the core leg lift machine to do a couple of sets then to the floor, for a core circuit. After all of that, I would either stay to swim at the gym OR go straight to work, to swim laps on my break (sometimes those laps involved the swim team's resistance bands). Here's what I can tell you! I was OVER-TRAINING! NOT LOVING what I was doing! ZERO real direction on how to achieve progress & proper nutrition! ALL filtering into college life, but worse...
I was doing home workout DVDS & apps, running around the campus, in the gym for hours, & swimming! ONTOP of DANCING every single day; both on AND off campus-private lessons, sessions, jams, & clubs! Emotionally eating PB by the spoonful. Bags of trail mix became meals! I ate one BIG MEAL a day. Some of my journey was more health based. Other times; a box of PIZZA, run to Tropical Smoothie & other fast foods! At one point during college, I began eliminating foods I knew were causing issues digestively-getting sick too often from eggs, gluten, fish, & meat...I WAS A MESS UNTIL I CHOSE MYSELF...
How did I get here? I was on a DARK downward spiral: end of '16 up until I joined Nov 17th, 2017!
Before I went to college, I wanted to DANCE. That's all. I knew a desk job lifestyle was not for me-my family showed me how much I did not want that life. However, I was told I was not going to school for dance. I had to pick something so psychology & I found "a loop hole" minoring in dance edu.
Within the first few weeks of school, I was introduced to a WHOLE NEW WORLD; hip hop: culture, elements, knowledge...I began training under a dancer from an AZ crew. Not too long into training with her, I broke down about where I saw my life. She knew I had to tell my mom. A couple of days later, I was heading home from my lifeguarding job, pulled over in an Albertson's parking lot, BAWLING to my mom. She shared how she didn't want me to go down this path & see me struggle as "other dance teachers" have done...the FIRST of many triggers: "lack" of support.
Through ALL of this, I was in school FULL TIME & a manager/scheduler for a 3rd party lifeguarding company! Overworked. Underpaid. Stress. Anxious. Random life issues like car troubles, money, close friends going through it, my own health, and wellness...ALL were getting to me! I coped the only way I knew: drink to numb out, smoke weed to escape reality, & go out to the clubs allowing things not so self loving to happen to my body...it became an EVERY DAY thing! Up all night & morning, go to class, nap, do homework & REPEAT. Resulting in: over the toilet throwing up. Crying over boys. I was in another long distance relationship with a dancer. I WAS A HOT MESS!
Trigger 2 happened within junior yr. My mom checked on me every Sunday! She could tell I was out partying again. I will NEVER forget the concern in her voice "Mary, I don't want to get a call from the hospital that you are in there, getting your stomach pumped. You need to be careful." Of course, stubborn me continued doing as I pleased...
Trigger 3 occurred Sept 2, 2017. The guy I was dating & thought I'd spend the rest of my life with, ended things. I TOOK THAT HARD! Escalated my drinking & smoking...
Now here's where I began this journey: I was in a meeting with my boss who demoted me. Walking out he goes "Go dance now! Jazz hands!" As he's doing jazz hands. I walked out, ironically going to a dance crew's meeting. Sat down at the table. Took out my phone. Found the email my mentor coach sent 3 days prior (this opportunity SMACKED me in the face via FBK AD FOR DAYS before I told myself, I am capable of doing this coach thing. I didn't think my mentor would even reply to me, but she did!) I filled it out with only a few thoughts in mind; I knew I would get results, workouts I loved, & impact my dance community (I had done these workouts, but ZERO clue there was a WORKOUT CALENDAR, NUTRITION PROGRAM, COACH, & COMMUNITY). All I wanted: find self love & feel comfortable in my skin as I moved along the dance floor. And that's how I decided to coach!
This journey has been such a process of growth within! I had no clue, this would create a space for me to tap into the mental + emotional + spiritual side of my being! This team, community, & family continues to remind me of how POSSIBLE EVERYTHING IS! ALSO~I am 3 YEARS SOBER from alcohol! Beyond grateful for this community and thankful for the younger version of me CHOOSING TO BETTER HERSELF!