Updated: Aug 28
Among many other things, today I'm feeling extra thankful to be sharing my passion for creativity, movement, and building community, both online through Direct Motion Creative Collective and in person at Connect Community Center for Wellbeing. If it's cool with you, I'd like to take some time to fully express that gratitude.
>>> Heads up - I'm gonna get rambly &vulnerable now
(I won't share any triggering details, though)
Full honesty time: it is because of your continued support that I have the immense privilege of living out my childhood dream, and I am more grateful for that than I feel I can accurately put into words.
When I imagine telling my 9-year-old self that 20 years down the line, they'd not only become a dance teacher like they just started dreaming of, but that they also would establish a whole-ass creative consultancy and movement studio that holds space for folks from across the country to process their emotions through creativity and shared movement?
Let's just say I fully understand how dance teachers ended up with the reputation for crying on the mic at recitals.
If you want it to be, your movement-based creative practice can be deeply personal, introspective, and even healing. But no matter how you experience our time together, whether that's as:
💪 a fun occasional workout,
❤️ an intentional weekly act of self-care,
🫂 a way to access affirming community from the comfort of home, or
🌈 a way to regularly support queer + trans creative expression -
It is an honor to be trusted as a part of your journey.
If I'm being totally real here, my own creative and professional journey over the last 8+ months of launching and growing Direct Motion has felt like some seriously batsh*t-wacky divine chaos. I remember getting the news last fall that my 40+ hour-a-week corporate marketing contract client wasn't going to renew or offer me permanent employment after over a year and a half of being told I was working towards full time employee status (i.e. without employer-provided healthcare, PTO, or access to the same online resources as the rest of the team I worked with).
The parts of me that were the loudest at first felt rejected, defeated, ashamed, and terrified. But there was another part of me that had this gut feeling that it was time to take the opportunity to be the change they wish to see (or whatever). I've since learned that sometimes what exists needs to come tumbling down to clear enough space for something more fruitful and sustainable to have the chance to be planted and grow in its place. Significant change is scary, even when it's a good or necessary change at the end of the day. That doesn't make it any less of a net good, but unfortunately that doesn't make it any less scary to experience, either.
So far this year, there's been a lot of adjustment involved in realigning myself and my life to be entirely self-employed and doing creative & holistic community-based work. As I write this, for example, my precious giant goofy baby of a pitbull-mastiff is loudly announcing that she is still adjusting to my new roommate living here. But on the up side, I have certainly gotten my money's worth out of my earplugs and noise-canceling headphones over the last few weeks!
I think biggest thing that I've learned so far (by failing at it a few times first, tbh) this year, is that in order to have a chance at long-term success in self-employment, I had to first make sure my inner child felt safe. It is only from a place of fully- and somatically-experienced safety (i.e. my logical and emotional mind and my physical nervous system all know and trust that I am housed, fed, cared for, and not in any kind of physical or emotional danger) that I have been able to access enough mental energy to do all of the content development, self-promotion, and back-end website and administrative work required to keep Direct Motion, well, moving.
And somehow, through doing that internal healing work to be able to launch and grow Direct Motion, I also finally recognize more of my own empowered agency to choose to who I work with - and it feels pretty damn good to be lining up work with new clients who embody the same shared ethics and values in their everyday behind-the-scenes actions as passionately as they do in the words they share with their external audiences. And it's my responsibility to put my finite time and energy into the work opportunities that are most fully aligned in word and action with my and Direct Motion's ethics and values.
I notice how I feel fully, viscerally safe to share my most authentic self in all of the creative work that I do now. I notice my increased mental and emotional bandwidth that lets me intentionally take pauses and breaths that help me stay fully present for the difficult conversations that come along with business ownership. I notice how I don't feel as intense of a need to mask or fawn anymore (and it's a good thing too, because of how vital boundary setting and enforcing skills have also simultaneously become).
Here and now, almost eight months into full-time creative self-employment and small business ownership, I can see the ways that my work to reimagine my career really did root in and grow from the relaunch and expansion of my creative practice into Direct Motion. And in some ways, the fruits of this labor have already manifested into my daily life and routines, too.
I am so incredibly thankful to be abundantly connected with kind-hearted community who want to support my work, see me thrive, and help our community thrive, too.
For Direct Motion's dance and exercise classes, my core intention is to facilitate accessible and affordable online and in person spaces where we can show up authentically, engage in shared movement, and maybe even meet some shared creative expression needs together.
It is thanks to folks like you - Direct Motion's blog readers, clients, students, collaborators, and patron members, that I have the opportunities that I do to work with such great people on such values-aligned projects.
And it is because of the support of Andy, Liberty, and Dakota from Connect Community Center whose hard work has provided Direct Motion with access to a beautiful physical space in Tower Grove Heights in St. Louis in which we can collaborate, learn, move, create, and divinate together.
I am so damn grateful to be doing this work.