My Story of Healing and Body Positivity
You don’t have to be a prisoner to the pain. I want you to strip away the layers that are holding you back. Now’s the time to start your journey on discovering your Brazenly Beautiful soul.
I invite you to read my story and how I continue to heal the relationship with my body, live in the moment and have learned how to be truly BRAZENLY BEAUTIFUL.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
I have been a dancer since the time I could walk. I learned at a very early age to rely on my mirror to tell me the way things should be. It told me about my body and my talent. I learned what looked good and was pleasing, and what was out of place.
I was a natural when it came to dancing. There was no higher satisfaction for me than the praise and admiration of the audience, even at four. This was probably the beginning of my torrid love affair with praise and criticism.
When I was doing everything right, I was on top of the world, if I received a correction from my instructor, I was devastated, especially when it came to my body.
If Only I…
As I got a little older, I used to watch myself in class. In my mind, I would think, “everything is perfect, except my tummy.” If only I could suck it in harder, do a few more sit-ups. I could skip dinner. I thought if just I lost a little more weight, I could be truly happy. I thought my body was the thing holding me back. I was afraid if I let my stomach go, they might figure out I’m not perfect, they could see where I hid my deepest pain. My fear, my doubts about myself and self-hatred were all right there, living just south of my belly button.
Too Fat and Not Good Enough?
As time went on, I went to great lengths to achieve the perfect physique, I continued my education in dance through college, and after I graduated, I was cast in a Las Vegas Review. It was a classic Vegas show, with feathers, rhinestones, and scantily-clad goddesses parading around under bright lights.
At the peak of my career, I was 30 pounds underweight, and despite all my best efforts to fit in, I was often told I was too fat, I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have the right shape.
After a while, it got exhausting hiding from the world. I blamed all of my problems in my life on my weight. When there was criticism that endorsed my negative self-talk, I dove deeper into the hatred. I went to any length possible to keep myself in the illusion of perfection.
Eventually, I left the show, no longer having the identity and validation of being a Showgirl, I leaned into addiction, binge and purging, and depression.
I quit dancing. I tried to navigate the new waters, but my intuition had been broken for a long time. I didn’t know how to trust myself. In trying to make my “gut” disappear, I forgot how to listen to it. I swirled for years in confusion about my body and my worth, a chaos tornado of my own making.
Healing and Body Positivity – Self-Love and Self-Respect
It wasn’t for many years until the relationship with my body began to change for me. I realized I had spent too much time postponing my joy and waiting around to be someone else’s idea of perfect before I could allow myself to be loved or happy.
I began my journey of healing and body positivity and focused on my recovery. I rewrote the stories in my head. I learned how to accept and have an appreciation for the amazing gift of my body. I found ways to grow in self-worth, which included body confidence and most of all acceptance.
I realized I didn’t have to stop being sexy. Being sexy doesn’t have to be shallow or based on societies definition. Real, sincere, sexy was about being comfortable with who I am, in my own body this very minute without having to change a thing. It was accepting myself where I am on this journey and being able to forgive myself for the abuse from my past.
I let go of the shame, the guilt, and other people’s expectations of the way I should look.
I learned that the only thing that really had to change was my perspective.
I discovered parts of my soul that had been buried for a long time.
Most importantly, I learned to respect and love myself, just as I am, through every chapter of my journey.
I am a light-maker and a cycle breaker…
Once I was able to make peace with the pain the dance world had brought on, I understood that my heart is truely happy when my body is moving. Despite painful memories of abuse, it was never the movement that was hurting me. I had to forgive my critical mind for the self-hatred. I had to forgive my many instructors and mentors, for they were just following a cycle which probably had been instilled on them from a young age. I knew I needed to do something different. I want the cycle of body shame to stop with me. I want people to understand and feel the pure joy of moving in their bodies.
Dance and Yoga allow me to emotionally process feelings that talking just can’t do. When I am moving to music, I find myself in the present. Through cherishing only one moment at a time, and relishing in all my body can do, I realized that this message of acceptance could only really be taught through a mind, body connection.
When I am not in a dance class, choreographing or performing in a show, my mat becomes my stage. I have loved the openness and centering Yoga has brought into my life. Yoga is so much more than a physical practice. My body ignites in the slow burn of a strech. My mind learns how to focus only on one thing at a time. I learn perserverance as I push through poses, or exercises that are diffucult. I learn how to quiet and control my anxiety through meditation. I can still find gratitude for my body, if I am carrying a little extra weight. I can feel beautiful, happy and free by acknowleging my souls desire to move. I am literally glowing from the inside out when I am serving myself in this karmic celebration of flow.
The light inside of me, acknowledges and sees the light inside of you, even if you think it has stopped shining.
Let Me Help You Gain Body Confidence through Movement
Above all, I understand how limiting and detrimental the opinion we have of ourselves can be. You don’t have to be a prisoner to the pain. Strip away the layers that are holding you back and let me help you discover your Brazenly Beautiful soul. It is longing to dance, and to play!
I have developed a series of movement based Yoga and Dance Classes which speak to the needs of all women. Our hearts are hungry for something deeper, richer and more fufilling than what we have been settling for. The Mind, Body, Heal, Recover Method will transform the relationship you have with your body in a very sacred and spiritual way, through movement.
Brazenly Beautiful LLC: Mission Statement
A life long learner, Jessica brings a passion for education and a dedication to her craft. The foundation of her work is over 25 years of Dance and Theatre expertise. She began her training at the age of 2, where she studied Cecchetti Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Hawaiian, Tap and Musical Theatre dance. As a young adult, Jessica competed in both Regional and National Dance Competitions, as well as performed as a member of the Plymouth Canton Ballet Company. Throughout her High School career, Jessica found her love for Musical Theatre by becoming a three-strand performer in The Creative and Performing Arts Program at Churchill High School, where she focused on Dance, Theatre and Voice.
Jessica then went on to achieve her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Western Michigan University. Upon Graduation, Jessica moved to Las Vegas where she joined the Cast of Donn Arden’s Jubilee. In addition, while in Las Vegas, Jessica also worked as a Model, Actress, Dancer and National Spokesperson for a variety of productions. From there, she moved to Chicago, where she performed as a lead actress with The Murder Mystery Company, and became the Resident Choreographer for The Kiss Kiss Cabaret. In 2015, Jessica achieved her License of Cosmetology from the State of Michigan, as well as her Certification in Make-up Artisty. Additionally, in 2019 Jessica achieved her Certification for Body Confidence Coaching, from the Institute for Body Confidence Coaching. Finally, she is currently in progress of achieving her Pre- and Post Natal Yoga Certification.
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