Guest Post by Stefanie Lein
Hi! I’m Stefanie, otherwise known as the Biggest Girl In The Ballroom. I was fortunate enough to connect with Nicole and we’ve been conversation for a little while since we both love dancing. Plus it turns out we are both writers – and Nicole is a poet as well and I’m just starting to explore poetry. Anyways, we have a lot in common and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to get to know her a little bit better.
In our conversation we decided it’d be a good idea to do guest posts for each other’s blogs. I believe in community and absolutely adore connecting in a meaningful way with people who read my blog. It’s even more fun when they have a blog, too! So I like to get the word out about other great bloggers, other inspiring people, and build a supportive blogging environment, which is why I wanted to cross-promote with Nicole, especially, because I think it’s pretty obvious, she’s a pretty incredible human being.
I first found Nicole’s blog because I’m always scouring the blogosphere for anything ballroom dancing-related. In one post she wrote about dancing and even posted some videos of herself. I was instantly deeply touched and smitten! I love dancing, and to me, it is most beautiful when people dance because they love it. Nicole’s joy screamed at me from the video screen. And it was even more powerful to watch, from my perspective, because she has overcome so much. I mean, it’s apparent Nicole doesn’t move like most other people. But that’s not really what I saw as I watched her dance. I saw her beauty, her zest for life, her strength of character. It was, in a word, breathtaking.
I recently posted a link to Nicole’s blog and the videos of her dancing on my Facebook page and said she’s one of my dancing heroes, and that’s the truth. Nicole may not have the technique or physical prowess of Yulia Zagoruychenko (most of us don’t!), but instead she has something precious and special in just being her authentic self when she dances. In that sense, Nicole is unlimited. For certain her spirit has no limitations. And she even said so herself:
My SDR journey is teaching me to stop believing in limits – those imposed by myself or others. All of us are capable of much more than we imagine.
This is inspiring! Nicole is an inspiration to people like me. We all do have certain limitations, that much is true – but all too often we let our limits today prevent us from reaching further so that we have larger, different, more expansive limitations tomorrow. We so often give up and give in at the first sign of resistance, the first inch out of our comfort zone. I admit that for myself I’ve come up against many limitations with my dancing, but the truth is that the vast majority of them have been self-imposed mental projections. I’ve also discovered what Nicole attests; we are all of us more capable of much more than we imagine.
I love the fact that Nicole dances. I love the fact that she gets out there when so many people opt to sit on the sidelines with all sorts of excuses, again, most of them only real in their head. And here is this woman who, if anyone was to have a valid justification for not dancing, it would be she, and yet, there she goes, dancing the Mambo with sass! She lives her life as an example of what’s possible instead of settling for anything less. She explains:
I dance because I love it. I dance because I CAN. I sat on the sidelines of life for many years. I rarely got asked to dance. Now, after my surgery, I’m going to dance like EVERYBODY is watching! If I mess up – “SO WHAT, WHO CARES!”
Nicole exemplifies what I wrote about in a recent poem on my blog. I call it, “Dance Anyways.”
I don’t know how. I will look dumb.
I’m not the right size, not a size one.
My legs are too thick, like trunks on a tree,
and my body is round, there’s no hope for me.
I am afraid to do it myself, though I do love to see you fly.
It’s better I sit back and watch than to give this thing a try.
You are so beautiful and lovely to see.
I wish I could be like you, but clearly I’m just me.
The voice in side me says I’m not enough –
I’m just a dud.
My heart wants to dance, that much is true,
but I know I can’t do it, I’m nothing compared to you.
How can you know that if you don’t try?
Why halt your soul if it wants to fly?
This is the saddest story to tell,
of someone who died inside when their spirit was quelled.
Oh sure, you can see them stomping around,
but they have no sparkle, like zombies dug from the ground.
Their eyes have no light, inside they wither,
under the burden of woulda, coulda, shoulda, it’s no pretty picture.
Don’t cow yourself in, you deserve better.
The world has enough zombies, it’s your passion that matters.
If I could give one slice of advice it would be only this:
Dance your bliss!
Dance when you are fat, dance when you are thin.
Dance when the music is playing and you can’t hold it in.
Dance with a partner, dance with a friend,
dance with your dog or a room full of men!
Dance in your kitchen, barefoot and free,
or dance in the studio with legwarmers to your knees.
Dance in silence and dance in the rain.
Dance when you feel wonderful and when you feel pain.
I said it before and I’ll say it again,
For there is no greater sin,
than to deny your soul nourishment
and to starve from within.
There may be a million reasons NOT to dance under the sun,
but the reason TO dance, there is only one.
If you want to dance, it’s enough that it’s in your heart,
In truth that is the one reason to start.
It doesn’t have to make sense.
Dance your bliss!
I want to thank Nicole for taking me up on the offer to write mutual guest blog posts. I’m honored to get the opportunity to connect and share with such a lovely, powerful, fearless woman. Thanks for inspiring me, Nicole! And keep dancing. Oh, and good luck with the bike riding! I can’t wait to hear all about this next challenge that you are going to overcome, and a dream come true for you. I celebrate you for taking on life with passion and courage and being an example to so many of us.
Your Friend, Stefanie (AKA The Biggest Girl In The Ballroom)
Stefanie began dancing at the age of five but gave it up after high school to become a “responsible adult.” She gained a lot of weight and was pretty unhappy. One day she discovered ballroom dancing and something magical happened; Stefanie began coming back to life, finding passion, joy, and connection. She also started getting healthier and has dropped over 85 pounds so far. She competes in ballroom competitions and chronicles her journey with her hilarious and wonderful Bulgarian instructor, Ivan, on her blog, The Biggest Girl In The Ballroom.
You can follow Stefanie on Facebook: Biggest Girl In The Ballroom.
Or Twitter: loveablestef.