Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for four truly motivating stories by the women who experienced them firsthand.
Photography by Emily Long / Photos taken on location at Miller Park
In almost every area of my life, I accommodate other people. But when it comes to ballet, I’ve always pushed back – pushed back against voices that told me I couldn’t do it. At a young age, I knew I wanted to dance professionally, but major injuries, an eating disorder, and unsupportive voices were all things telling me that wouldn’t happen. I pushed back, and I started a ballet company at the University of Washington.
When I moved to Chattanooga, I was told that it would be impossible to be part of a ballet company. I was told there were no positions for me. So, I pushed back. I showed up to class every day, and I eventually became a member of Chattanooga Ballet. I’ve been dancing with the professional company for 14 years now.
I was told my body was too athletic for ballet. I pushed back. I worked hard to celebrate being strong over being skinny. I discovered yoga and weight training and became proud of the body I had.
I was told that 30 was too old for a dancer. I pushed back, and I worked even harder. I earned the principal role in The Nutcracker at 34.
When I got pregnant with both my children, I was told my dance career should be done. I pushed back. I danced, pointe shoes and all, until the week my kids arrived. After my first child was born, my position was filled, but I pushed back. I continued to practice and rehearse, even if it meant stepping aside to feed my baby or change a diaper. My 1-year-old son watched me as the Sugar Plum Fairy that year.
Even now, voices still show up. I don’t know what is next, and it can be hard to think about giving up something that is such a part of who I am. Regardless of what comes next, I will take what I have learned from ballet and continue to push back when voices tell me I can’t. I am going to make sure my kids learn from example that they can prevail.
So, I’m going to continue to push back because that is what this journey has taught me. To push back against the voices that say you can’t, even if it’s your own. Whatever voices are telling you ‘you can’t,’ push them away … and take that bow. HS