I don’t know about anyone else, but I had mostly toxic friendships throughout my teens. Girls were mean where I grew up. I was picked on a lot and there was always this unspoken competition between myself and the other girls. Which girl in the class was best at sports? Who was the prettiest? Who had the most boys asking them out? My “friends” at the time put me down a lot and made fun of me for various reasons whether it was my body, my personality, my lack of basketball skills (which led to me quitting the team), or never dating anyone. I thought I was just letting it roll off my back and not making it a big deal, but deep down this had a HUGE lasting impact on me. I never knew how damaging it really was until I got older. I never trusted girls around me. I had a hard time making friends in college. Deep down I just wanted female companionship. Sure, I had friends and got along with my roommates, but most of them didn’t stick or we didn’t have much in common. Granted I could’ve easily put myself out there and been more social, but it was hard (and very stressful) for me.

Fast forward a few years and I went to my first class at Aerial Dance. To be honest, I was most nervous about what the other girls would be like. I was scared that everyone would judge me, and that there would be drama and cattiness. But anyone who has been to Aerial Dance knows that it’s the complete opposite. I was surrounded by love and acceptance the moment I walked through the front door. I’ve been a member of Aerial Dance for almost 4 years now, and it’s so incredibly refreshing to be surrounded by other women who truly support and care for one another. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and I owe a lot of that to Aerial Dance. I never knew what it was like to have healthy relationships with women around me, but I finally do now. Even though I don’t have any sisters, the friendships that I have here make me feel like I’m part of a big family. No cattiness, no drama, no competition, and no judgment. This supportive environment was new territory for me, and I so wish that I had this environment growing up. My life would’ve been a hell of a lot easier as an impressionable teenager (I think we can all agree that being a teenager kinda sucked). Aerial Dance provided this safe space for me, and I’m forever grateful for that.