Las Vegas • Nevada
My name is Rachel. I first started dancing when I was two. I am now 14. To me, dance is like air; I cannot live without it. It has literally saved my life!.
I have major challenges with severe social and general anxiety and depression, nightmares, PTSD and eating disorder.. and I have mostly dealt with all of it in a negative way.... The anxiety is so bad that it affects every part of my life. Sometimes it makes me not want to be here. I have to homeschool because going to a regular school is too much for me to deal with. Also, people can be very judgmental and not understanding of this sort of thing, so it doesn't help matters. It is extremely isolating and lonely and it's very hard to make friends.
My mom is a struggling single mother. We are very close and she is my only family that supports me 200%. No matter what, she always finds a way to pay for my lessons and what I need for dance. She would do anything to see me succeed and to see me happy with my dancing.
BUT...Dance is my positive way of dealing with all of my challenges!!! It is my relief, my only truly effective therapy. It is my escape. I feel so free when I dance and it is home for me! I was born to dance!
I want to be a professional one day. Misty Copeland is my role model. I am built muscular like her and she gives me hope because I'm not the typical skinny, tall ballerina. I'm athletic and muscular like Misty. I am learning to embrace that instead of body shaming myself.
I am also teaching and mentoring other dancers to teach them what I know. It gives me such a sense of confidence and purpose because others look up to me. I have been on pointe a year now and I'm learning quickly . I put my whole heart and soul and everything into dance. When I'm not in the studio, I'm working out at home, conditioning, stretching, practicing at the studio when there's no class, trying to eat as healthy as I can, watching videos of how to be a better dancer, etc...
I'm never going to give up what I love so much and what has helped me... dance!!!! DANCE is truly my life saver!!!