This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion.
If I had listened to all the "no’s" I wouldn’t have received all the "yes’s".
The amount of "no’s" that I have faced in my career have been endless, and have truly made me doubt my self worth and purpose.
But what I have grown to understand is that all the "no’s" have simply been guiding me to bigger "Yes’s".
My dance journey began at an older age than most, so for me I was always the underdog, always one step behind those of my peers. It used to frustrate me, because it seemed like no matter how hard I worked I wasn’t reaching the level of those around me. Little did I know this struggle was developing me & prepping me to receive all the blessings that lied ahead.
I began to build a humble foundation, understanding that nothing great would come easy, and that hard work, sacrifices and pain would make receiving the reward that much more valuable.
With time & continued dedication my training lead me to become a dance student at Ryerson University’s Dance program. Accepting my offer was an absolute dream come true. I was a small town girl moving to the big city to pursue her dance dreams. I felt like Jody Sawyer from "Centre Stage", the ballerina with the non stereotypical ballet body, and average ballet technique that Ryerson was taking a chance on, and funny enough that was exactly how my story unfolded.
I was in a program that was stripping everything beautiful about me away, and trying to squeeze me into a box that I would never fit into.
It was so damaging and so heartbreaking because I wanted nothing more than to meet their unrealistic and unattainable requirements so badly, but the truth was, I never would. The program beat me down, and stole my love for dance completely away from me. I was told that I would never be enough, that there was no place for me in the industry and that it was best if I looked at other career options. Ouufff, at the age of 19, those words were so damaging, because I admired and respected my teachers so much. My dreams of pursuing dance professionally, slowly seemed unattainable & unrealistic.
Now this was a defining moment for me, because I faced a crucial "No" at such an influential time in my life. I was young, impressionable, and easily influenced by my mentors, but something deep inside wasn’t allowing that "No" to define who I was.
I knew that there was a place for me in this industry and if there wasn’t I needed to create a place, and that is exactly what I did.
I used all those “no’s” to drive me to so many successful “yes's”, one very important "yes" being my heels company Sensual Heeling Inc.
Many times I’ve been asked “how did you know you wanted to be a dancer/choreographer and found your own heels company Sensual Heeling?” and the answer is I didn’t know, I didn’t know that any of this was achievable, let alone successful. I think the most beautiful part of it all is that I just didn’t give up, even at my lowest of lows, I kept on striving to be the best version of myself, despite what that looked like to others.
Many laughed at me, judged me, and doubted that my talent wasn’t enough to turn my passion into a success story, but here I am still standing strong, inspiring so many women each and every single day through my heels company Sensual Heeling. It truly comes down to your own personal happiness. Dance makes me happy, despite all the "no’s" I’ve received and continue to receive, dance always brings me back to a place of joy. Just as much as it has brought me joy, it has also brought me heartache. But nothing worth fighting for comes easy, and I’d rather have moments of unhappiness building a career that continually brings me back to a place of pride & joy then a career that is just sufficient.