Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Wanna Dance!

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to welcome Sonia as a guest blogger:

Sonia is an economist from Barcelona. She discovered flamenco and decided to make it her profession at the age of 24, completely changing her life. She's convinced you can do anything you want if you fight for it and never lose your passion!

When I sat down to write this, an avalanche of questions and doubts came to me... Who am I to be writing? What do I have to say?

Well: I’m 31, with a degree in Economics; at 24, I fell in love with dancing; at 26, I quit a great job to become a professional flamenco dancer. And after seven years of struggle, I AM HAPPY and want to share with you my journey.

Leaving work was perhaps the easiest part. At 24, I was dancing at the same level as a 6-year-old and my body prevented me from moving as fast as my mind was going. Needless to say, though I didn’t lack desire or dedication, I felt powerless. Accepting my physical limitations and learning to handle destructive feelings of impotence and frustration, are perhaps two of the battles won I'm most proud of because they provided me with the tools to face other challenges. In my case, these challenges included the death of my mother two years ago and, of course, leaving a career my family and friends were proud of to be an artist. (I won’t tell you what my father said when I announced: “Papa, yo quiero bailar” -- “Dad, I wanna dance!”)

After quitting, I had more to overcome. I was good and people believed I had danced for several years but I kept hiding the truth because I saw my age as a handicap and something to be ashamed of. We’ve been sold the idea that the age when you started doing something defines how well you do it and how authorized you are to teach it to others. The younger, the better. I was not even allowed to participate in many contests for “new talent” because I’m too old, despite my limited years of training.

But isn’t it just as valid to have started something in later in life and achieve success?

I realized that my age was something to be proud of. When you start a new life at a later age, it means you’re sailing alone. But as your arms move your boat forward, those arms get stronger, providing better support for the weight of the challenges, disappointments, failures, as well as opportunities and success that will come to you.

I hope my story will encourage you. If you are someone who’s a little unhappy and needs a final push to start changing it, know that you can! In these troubled times when everything is changing, maybe we should take advantage of this global confusion and embrace change. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who understand and support you.

The next step for me is going to New York. I don’t know what will come of it, but neither did I that first day I put on flamenco shoes thinking that it was just a leisure activity for after work... and it changed my life!

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