Did you ever wake up one morning and take a look in the mirror and think, “Who is this stranger looking back at me?” Well, that was me just over six years ago. I was standing in front of the mirror criticizing every part of me. Where did the little pooch belly come from? How about those love handles? Where is the woman I used to know and see?” I was disgusted by my appearance and that transferred into how I felt about myself as a whole.

After a lot of thought and soul searching I figured out the cause of my struggles. It was the many nights and weekends spent in class, working full time, and spending every extra minute completing assignments. I never took the time to take care of myself and that is how I got so lost.  I know everyone has their own struggles, but I was not happy with who I had become and decided to make a change. Granted I am very thankful for my hard work and the degrees that it has awarded me. Truth be told, I wanted to be the girl I once was, she was confident and loved herself inside and out. I knew one way to make this change was to begin exercising. I tried exercising on my own and found that I can not keep myself accountable. It would come down to….. I could put that exercise DVD in and exercise or I could do the dishes…… Dishes won every time and I absolutely hate doing the dishes!  With my many failed attempts of exercising on my own I discovered Aerial Dance WI on Facebook. I viewed the pictures on the  Aerial Dance WI page and was intrigued by what these women were able to do. They looked so confident and beautiful, I knew then and there that I needed to try it. So, I signed up for my first beginner class.

On the night of my first class I was extremely nervous! I remember sitting in my car thinking, “What if I wasn’t able to do this? What if my instructor was this perfect beautiful woman in which everything comes so easily to her? What if she judged me? What if? What if? What if?”  All those what if’s almost caused me to back out of my decision to take the class. I looked in my rearview mirror and said, “Janelle you can do this!” Yes at times I do talk to myself, but hey everyone does at some point. I walked into the studio and was greeted by a very bubbly woman. She was super friendly and all at once I could feel my self doubt about my decision start to slip away. I was the only one in my first class as everyone else had switched to a different time. When my instructor came out I was blown away. She was a real woman. She wasn’t the stick skinny prudish woman I had painted in my mind. Instead she had curves, a beautiful smile, and a confidence that radiated from her. From that moment on I knew that I had  found the place for me to start my journey of rediscovering myself.

Aerial Dance has changed how I view my body. My body is not perfect nor will it ever be, but I have learned to love and appreciate what it can do. After shutdown and quarantine those feelings of old were starting to creep up again. That’s how I knew I needed Aerial Dance back in my life to help me continue down a positive road of self love instead of spiraling out of control into disgust and self hate. I know it won’t happen overnight, but I know that Aerial Dance will always be there to help me view myself in a much kinder light.