... dance, fitness, food, health, life...

Monday, October 7, 2013

#31Days, Episode 6/7: Influence + life lately + freedom

Hello friends and welcome to Episode 6/7 of #31Days to the Lindy Hop, the writing challenge linkup hosted by The Nester. Today is detour from straight up Lindy story-telling, though. I have another story to tell today, one that explains a little bit of my life lately... but it circles right back to dance.

Just over a week ago, I returned from Indianapolis where I attended the Influence Conference.

I've had a really hard time articulating to people just how awesomesauce the Influence Conference was. When asked, I stare at them for a second and then blurt out "so great" or "just what I needed!" Not too profound, and it definitely doesn't do the conference justice. But amigos?? It changed the trajectory of my life. Them's fightin' words, I know. And while even this post won't do what is going on in my heart and head justice, it is the best I can do for now.

Leading up the to the conference, I was not in a good place. My life was full of busy-ness, but I was expending what little time and energy I have outside of my full time job on pointless things. To add insult to injury, I knew that I was wasting and losing time. But I felt helpless and stuck and I had no idea how to even begin to dig myself out.

Add to that bitterness and pure, black anger that had been residing in my heart since leaving Colorado in August 2012. I hated Pittsburgh, y'all, just hated it. And I hated that I hated it, because I am not a hater. My essence is joy and energy and life and glitter and sunshine. For real. But somehow, somewhere along the way, my first year living in the 'Burgh was filled with ugly, hot anger. I tried so hard to fight it, I really did. I tried to "have a better attitude", to pretend that I was okay, to fake seeing the good in the city. It was exhausting and it flattened me.

Then God took me to the Influence Conference and in the span of three days, shifts on a tectonic scale occurred within my heart.

The point at which I realize it had happened was while riding the bus back into the city from the airport. Instead of the usual knot of lead in my stomach, I found myself eager.... what the what? I was in shock. Then, as I transitioned back to normal life and returned to my daily routines last week, I experienced another strange feeling: I felt at home. What on earth happened to me in Indianapolis??

Call me crazy, amigos, but that is nothing to me but proof that prayer is no joke. Because there is no other explanation for such a sudden 180-degree turn in my heart. The power of positive thinking? Please. God really does hear us. Through last year, He heard all of my sobbing and my f-bombs and everything in between. Go figure.

So how on earth does this nice little story have anything to do with the Lindy Hop?? Well, I find God in art, specifically dance and music. When I am on a dance floor or stage, or listening to my Louis Armstrong Pandora station, my soul feels things that can be nothing else but God. But while I was stuck in the hamster wheel of busy-ness and anger, this was impossible. Art was impossible.

via Pinterest

Now, as if awakening from a paralytic coma, I'm free. Free to do art. Free to find God again on the marley, at the barre, in a swing out, in the wail of the trumpet...

Get down with your bad selves, amigos!



  1. This post makes me really, really, really happy Jessi! You are so sweet and awesome . . .even though you tried to ditch me that first night:). Hahaha kidding! Miss you guys and that weekend so much!

  2. This is beautiful. Freedom is a wonderful thing.

  3. I tried to hit the "like" button on this post,lol.

    Yes, something magical happened at Influence where we were able to see something bigger for ourselves. When we let go of what WE want and focus on what God HAS for freeing is that?

    I'm glad you are able to go back to the 'burgh with a new set of eyes. A new way of looking at your new/temporary home. I am so blessed to know you! (hugs)

    1. And I tried "liking" your comment, lol! Oh Facebook and Twitter, how you have us trained :)

      I, too, am so glad we met and you are a blessing to me, too! I truly hope our paths cross again... and I really wouldn't mind if that happened in Chicago ;) Many, many hugs right back at you.