“Movement is life: without movement life is unthinkable.” -Moshe Feldenkrais
From the time i was a little girl until now, in my adulthood, i’ve always been a kinesthetic learner and a mover. I used to watch mtv music videos and obsess over the dancing and choreography of paula abdul, janet jackson and madonna! In fact, I used to pretend I knew how to tap dance and put on my “fancy, dress up “ shoes and “tap dance” on the kitchen linoleum floors as a four year old, trying my best to imitate paula abdul’s dancing from her “straight up” music video.
When I was 5 years old, my grandma Nora enrolled me into ballet classes at my local community center. I was absolutely in love with ballet! I enjoyed wearing the pink tights, the pretty, sparkly tutus and being able to imitate being a prima ballerina. I continued to dance throughout my childhood, up until I was 21 years old and graduating from san francisco state university. In fact, I was so lost as to what to do with my life when I graduated high school, that after changing my major a couple of times, I chose to be a Dance Major! And in 2007, I graduated with my first college degree: a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance at San Francisco State University.
Truthfully, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my dance degree because I hated auditioning and was terribly self conscious about my dancing. I’m the type of person that overthinks and is super critical, so dancing wasn’t always the most therapeutic for my mentality. But I just knew in my Heart that I could NOT LIVE WITHOUT DANCING! As I finished earning my BA in Dance, graduating Cum Laude I might add, I decided to declare a second major and move to southern california.
In August of 2007, I moved away from home in the Bay Area to Long Beach, California. It was one of the biggest moves of my life because this was the first time I would be living away from home, away from my family, away from the studio and dance teachers I had growing up. I started working on my second bachelors in Kinesiology at California State University, Long Beach. I chose the focus of Exercise Science, which meant I traded in my dancing shoes for a lab coat and goggles. It was so hard for me to have to sit down for hours at a time in a classroom or in a lab, to study chemistry, biology and physics. It was awful… I would have preferred dancing. As a compromise, I tried to take at least one dance class a semester.
During my time at Cal State Long Beach, I met a Certified Athletic Trainer that worked specifically in the dance department, helping to take care of the dancers. I had never heard of an Athletic Trainer (AT) before and I KNEw this was my calling! Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, I was unable to switch my Exercise Science focus to Athletic Training, so I finished my Exercise Science Bachelor’s of Science in 2010 at CSULB and was preparing for Graduate school!
I had a strange transitional period where I was completing classes at CSULB and also at Long Beach City College finishing prerequisites for Graduate School for athletic training. I had also for a very brief moment completed EMT courses. I had originally planned on Physical Therapy school, but after a few interviews, some rejections, being placed on a waitlist and not actually getting in, I had put all my eggs in one basket: CBU. I waited to hear if I got into California Baptist University.
One of the most defining moments of my life was my in person interview at CBU. I had taken out my nose piercing for this moment and practiced repetitively with my boyfriend (now husband) my interviewing skills. When the day came, I was sitting at one end of a huge conference table, in a room with seven other people at the opposite end, holding folders about me. It was also one of the most nerve-wracking moments in my life because this was the moment I had to prove myself. CBU only accepted 20 students or less each academic year. I had already visited this school two times in the past year to help me with preparation to make the decision of commiting my academic and future career life here.
All that hard work and preparation paid off because I was accepted into California Baptist University for the 2011-2013 school years! And in those two years of being at CBU, I literally revolved my entire life around athletic training. I had sacrificed so much to get to that point, including not being able to dance as much as I wanted to. But I constantly reminded myself that my purpose in life was to help others, specifically dancers and performers. I would do whatever it took to get there!
So fast forward through all of the work, stress, pressure, hours of studying for my certification test to become a Certified Athletic trainer on top of all the time also spent interning with student athletes at various colleges and schools along the inland empire. Those two years of my life were a complete blur looking back and I remembered I got sick a lot during my second year in the program because I definitely overworked myself. In May of 2013, one of my proudest accomplishments in life was finishing with my Masters of Science Degree in Athletic Training and passing the BOC to practice as a Certified Athletic Trainer!
The cherry on top was two months after graduating with my masters, I started working at my “dream job!” One of the other reasons I got into Athletic Training was not only to work with dancers and performers, but to also have the opportunity to one day, get to work at Disneyland Resort! I’ve always loved disney, even as a child and When I met the athletic trainer at CSULB, he had mentioned to me this job opportunity. He told me my background was perfect for disneyland and that was one of the “grains of hope” i held onto during those tough times of graduate school. I remembered feeling so much contentment when I was offered to work at Disneyland!
I have a lot of wonderful memories working at disneyland as a Certified Athletic trainer. I met some incredible people and was able to help a lot of cast members out during my time there. I worked as a full time AT for 5 years and still work there now as a per diem staff member. I have currently transitioned into the profession of teaching in the high school setting career technical education (CTE). I have taught at 3 different high schools in the last two years and have taught the subjects sports medicine, medical core and career focus medical. Teaching has been an interesting transition, where I have experienced a lot of professional and personal highs and lows.
Being an educator is such a humbling experience. I love all of my students, down to the ones that may be the most difficult to work with. Although there are definitely days I miss being in the corporate setting around more adults, I have enjoyed being around my students and being able to impact them. One of the main reasons I became a teacher was because I wanted to inspire my students. I have always chosen the “non-traditional” paths with my education and career. And i remember how frustrating it was during my journey to find “my life’s purpose.” And honestly, i still struggle with the idea of “what’s my purpose in life?”
My current life chapter involves more time being spent home due to the coronavirus outbreak. It has been a blessing in disguise because I have overworked myself the last couple of weeks, juggling my hats of being a teacher, an athletic trainer in the high school setting, being an athletic trainer at the happiest place on earth, and being an instructor & coach for pole and aerial dancing! (Yes, i keep myself very busy and still have the spirit of trying out “non traditional” means of fitness and dance!) During this time home practicing “social distancing,” I've been reminded of how much I love movement. Which is why I'm trying to be more mindful of utilizing my skills to help out students, student-athletes, dancers, performers, aerialists, of just helping people that love being able to move and be able-bodied!
“My why” has always been Movement and dance! SO take this time to consider and/or reconsider what you’re personal why is. =)