As I’m entering what it seems to me like an art gallery, I see a woman sitting there calmly with her computer on her lap. I take a good look at all of her artwork that she has surrounded herself with.
I walk up to her and asked, “Did you paint all these yourself?” And she says, “Yes I did.” Looking at her artwork amazed me. Her success spoke to me. Inside of me were questions that have dwelled in me for so long to ask someone who has lived through the career of an artist. All I wanted to really say was ‘How did you do it? How long did it take? Why did you choose this career path? What is it that inspires you to do this? Was it difficult?’
Instead I told her straight up that I wanted to be a dancer. I was letting my words speak instead of my own artwork. Of course there wasn’t music playing so how could I show her? Well she answered that for me.
“You have to get out of your comfort zone and out yourself out there.” My leadership teacher told me the same thing my senior year of high school.
“An artist should take these words that Im telling you to heart.” Oh I took it alright. I could really hear her words because it wasn’t some teacher at my school saying this. It was someone who actually pursued a passion and did it. She can go to the grave and still cry out that she did it because her artwork said she did. She proved she existed.
“You shouldn’t be here watching movies with your friends, you should be at home working on yourself, marketing yourself, putting yourself out there. You are a dancer, people have to see you, if no one sees you, no one will know.” I didn’t know how to take this all in, because all summer I haven’t even stepped foot in a dance studio. It’s as if Ive already retired from a passion that I never lived to fulfill. And her words pierced me, it was as if she knew already that I haven’t been doing anything with myself. It put me in awe for her to tell me that because I never had anyone tell me anything like this. Most of the time I just listened to her speak, and take in every inch of advice.
There were moments in this conversation where I wanted to just say, ‘Help me please.’ I wanted her to guide me through life and get to the top. Yes we live for different passions, but what makes this woman and I in common is that we are artists. And it was amazing how she was already helping me, knowing we just met 10 minutes ago.
“If you do what all the other dancers do and not do something new, you will fall in line with them and you will starve. You will starve as an artist.” This was a wake up call. Because as harsh as it sounded, it was true. It was a slap in the face saying, “If you don’t something now, you will die.” This is what I needed. From that moment, I knew it was time to work. It was time to push forward. Because it is one thing to talk about how bad you want thing to be great, but it is another to show it. To express it. And here I am, being  surrounded by the beauty of art, painted by the one who didn’t starve as an artist.
I will forever remember that day. I remember I was creating a choreography for my second video to be posted on youtube, and I was frustrated. I was angry at myself because I couldn’t think of any moves to make up for a part of the song. But then I kept whispering to myself, “I will not starve. I will not starve. I will not starve as an artist. Because if I do, I will die.” Her words seeped into me, engraved in my heart. Her name is Anabela and I will never forget her.
Dancing is a little like painting, making movements with the brush, stroking the open spaces around you, spreading colors of wonder to create beauty in one piece. A piece of Anabela remains with me, she has given me the brush, and told me to paint my passion. To paint my life with every movement to the beat.