There are only a few people in our life that can truly impact who we are and what we do in our life. For me, I can say it’s my parents because there’s no one else I look up to the most. But if I sit here and talk about how their hard work was such an inspiration while growing up I will probably end with many tears all over my laptop. So instead, I’m going to talk about my dance teacher, iykyk.
Growing up with two older siblings I’ve always grown up really quiet and extremely dependent on my family. There are many scenarios that I can sit here and list but I’ll give you one to describe how introverted I was. Going through a drive-through at a fast-food restaurant was enough to give me a panic attack. I could not sit there and order to a machine. But before I embarrass myself even more let me go on to talk about how this actually matters.
I started taking dance seriously my freshman year of high school at 15 years old. Many dancers know that if you start after the age of 7, then there’s a lot of work to be done. I was a drill team dancer so I wasn’t super technical but that didn’t stop my teacher from pushing me any less. She was a 4’11 young, very intimating-looking teacher that everyone was scared of, and I mean EVERYONE. For a good 2 years, I was one of those, but after many practices and experiences, I realized she was just a normal teacher that wanted the best for us. That sounds bad but her love was shown in a tough way.
Coming in freshman year, I was the quietest most introverted self I had ever been. A new school and a team of girls that were so different for me made me think why am I even doing this. Even though we were all very different we had one thing in common…..maybe two. One we loved to dance, and two we were sacred of our teacher. Okay before I carry on let me make this clear, she wasn’t THAT scary, we just dreaded doing anything wrong because that meant we were gonna have to do 50 kicks. I specifically remember one day I was so decided that I was gonna quit. I had been sick but was at practice and hated my life. I walked out and cried in the restroom and decided I was gonna leave. But as I was gathering my things she walks in and tells me that she believed in me as a person and dancer that I just had to get out of my head. After that, I realized she genuinely cared for me and thought I could be great.
Eventually, I became an officer for two years. During those two years, she challenged me to do many things that I had never thought I could do. I started becoming less shy, just a TINY bit less introverted and started to be seen as someone that could help others. She trusted me to do many things that I never thought anyone could do.
Even after graduation, she still challenges me to make new friends here at UT while exploring new things. I kid you not, I still text her when I’m trying new foods since she swears I’m a picky eater. And I’ll make sure to know everything of a new friend I make because I 100% know she will in fact interrogate me about them.
Remember how I said there are only a few people who will truly impact our life? Well, she was one of them. I will always be thankful for her because if it weren’t for the fear of those kicks I would have never thought I was capable of doing the things I do today. I am able to be independent, make reasonable choices, and continue to work on becoming a better person.
So, if you’re reading this, hi. And thank you for helping me become who I am today.