When I look back on the last 30 years of my life it is hard to believe all of the things I have done, seen, and experienced. Picking out a few words that could describe my history; lonely, painful, misled, misunderstood, and invisible come to mind. I can honestly say that I spent the majority of my life to date lost. Trying to cope with looking different than other people, being outcast/put down/ beat up, trying on different personalities to try to make everyone happy or to hopefully find some kind of social acceptance, and so much more had left a lot of scars and much more damage than anyone on this Earth could possibly understand. When I thought I finally had true friends, they disappeared during the biggest event in my life. As much as I could try to vocalize the ghosts I fight on a daily basis, no one would ever truly grasp the depth. My Mom tried so hard to be so many things for me and I couldn't appreciate it more. In so many dark days, she was the warm welcome I could always count on.
Beginning in August, a series of events occurred to finally help me see myself. I started working on a degree in dance. Dance was always the one thing that the kept me safe. It was the only place, as a young girl, I was told I looked beautiful. I could escape the world by bellying up to the ballet barre and letting go off all words. In starting my degree, I came into contact with my ballet professor, Erin Royston. Ms. Royston is not only one of the best ballet teachers I have come across in my 23 years of dancing, but she is one of the greatest people I know. She demonstrates integrity, kindness, and what it means to be a lady every day. I am so thankful that Erin has been brought into my life. She helped me improve my technique so much, gave me confidence to to keep on trying, and showed me what kind of woman I want to be.
By luck, I had won a family photo shoot in September with my favorite dance photographer, Brian Mengini. A quick discussion in my college ballet class with Erin and I find out she and Brian are quite good friends. Again, thanks to Erin, Brian had found out that I was a dancer and I was asked to have pointe shoes and dancewear in tow for the shoot. The photos were beautiful but what happened next was pivotal for me. Mr. Mengini contacted me to take part in another shoot and I was more than happy to participate. What came out of this shoot was nothing short of awakening for me. After being told I was ugly and put down for my appearance for so long, I had never looked at myself as anything more than a deformed little girl that had nothing to offer the world. Along came this photo............
For the first time in my life I saw a picture of myself and I didn't see my eye....I saw a woman. I saw an attractive woman.....I saw something I never thought or imagine I was or could be. Because of the photographic vision of Brian Mengini, I was able to see passed the facade. Brian has also been inspirational for me in that he devotes so much to things bigger than himself. His passion to make things happen everywhere has helped me to change the way I think. I can just sit around and wait for things to happen..... I'm going to make them happen.
Moving along 6 degrees of separation, I was put into contact with a choreographer and company owner, Roman Baca. Mr. Baca is a former marine who has found a way to connect his love of dance to tell the story of his brothers in arms. Not only does he tell so many stories about our brave men and women through dance, but he brought dance to the kids effected most by the war in Iraq. Roman is another person who thinks bigger than himself and makes beautiful things happen. His drive, ability, and lack of fear in another inspiration to me. There is no such thing as impossible. He inspired me to do the things that scare me the most, because what's on the other side is beautiful.
Recently, my niece asked me to attend a role-model breakfast this passed week. Me? A role-model? I was very moved. At this event, several students spoke about their role models and a motivational speaker addressed the crowd. I sat thinking to myself........ who is my role model? It didn't take long to identify the person who has given me so much of himself and continues to give me strength everyday. My husband Christopher Lyle Gordon is my hero. He selflessly served his country in the U.S. Army, is the most devoted father I have ever seen, he has the strongest work ethic, helps whenever he can, and is my rock. When I am at my weakest, it is Chris who picks me back up. When I'm stuck in my own head, he can bring me back to reality. He never asks for much or complains. I don't know how he does it, but after working all day, suffering through back pain, and stressed he is able to throw it all aside to give our daughter his attention. He shows her so many wonderful things and teaches her so much .I wish I had an ounce of his creativity. I wish I could be more like my husband and I hope that I can offer him some of the same support he always shows me.
With so many inspiring people in my life, I, in my last year of my 20's, have finally discovered who I am and who I want to be. So, when I hit the 30 year milestone on Friday, I make this promise to myself.
I promise to let go of the past, because there is no reason to hold on to so much negativity. I promise to get involved in things that are bigger than myself and to do the things that scare me. I promise not to let another person walk on me because I am a person and I matter. I promise to do the best I can for my loving husband and amazing daughter. I promise to keep dreaming and make those dreams come true.
So bring on the next 30 years..... I'm ready.