Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
When was the last time you did something new? Or reconnected with an old passion?
Recently, I asked my mom if she could tell me what she noticed about me when I was a child. I mostly asked her this because I wanted to see if my current 29-year-old self was still doing the things that I was doing when I was younger. “You were really focused on dancing, writing, fashion, music, and drawing—artistic expression,” she remembered. When I look at my life now and how I spent this past year, I am happy to say that I often engage in artistic expression.
However, it hasn’t always been like this.
I was pleasantly surprised when my mom confirmed that I spent a lot of my time engaging in the arts as a child. Societal conditioning can steer us away from our passions, especially if we do not think we can make a living doing it. So, instead of pursuing a degree in dance like I wanted to after high school, I chose the safe route and studied social work instead. Unfortunately, that is the case for many creatives, artists, and people who are simply passionate about something that doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional career. I bought into the narrative that artists starve and cannot make money.
For four years, I dedicated my time to social work. While it was rewarding in many ways, I knew deep down it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I decided to take the leap and quit my 9-5 job. I started to host my own yoga and dance classes that focused on serving the BIPOC community. I also started to focus on creating content including poetry and dance to help cultivate my online following. While being self-employed has many risks, it allows me to reconnect with activities that are authentic to who I am and bring the most joy to my life.
After talking with my Mom about how I loved the arts as a kid, I was inspired to reconnect with old passions and try some new things. I took the opportunity to attend two dance classes at Playground LA and Millenium, which are world-renowned dance studios based in Los Angeles. I have always wanted to take classes in Los Angeles, but felt like you had to be a certain level of dancer. I remember watching dance classes on YouTube and being filled with admiration for the dancers, and thinking that I wanted to be a part of it too. However, my lack of confidence and fear of stepping out of my comfort zone prevented me from doing so. This year I decided to stop living in fear and to do things I want to do, including exploring classes in calligraphy, makeup artistry, and mixed media arts.
Most recently, I went way outside my comfort zone by taking a voice lesson and it was a blast. Singing has never been my forte (except maybe when I’m alone in my car), but I really wanted to explore it. As a child, I was always nervous to use my voice. Though I had many ideas and plenty of things to say, I was shy and lacked the confidence to speak up let alone sing. When I became a yoga and dance instructor, it helped me to find and use my voice to support others. I thought that taking voice lessons would help amplify my journey in discovering how to use my voice. I learned exercises to harness the power of breath, but more importantly to be okay with messing up.
My teacher, Dante Haruna, encouraged me not to worry so much about the sound coming out of my mouth and to concentrate on my intention, and what I want to communicate through my voice. I may not be the best singer, but supporting my desire to sing is another way to nurture and nourish my voice. For me it’s both playtime and learning to express myself in whatever ways feel good—and connect with my authentic self.
Trying something new or rekindling an old passion is part of the process of being able to gift yourself an enjoyable experience. I learned that confidence is not necessarily the lack of self-doubt. Confidence is what you experience when you recognize hesitation, worry, fear, or anything else that is holding you back but you don’t allow it to take over. When self-doubt presents itself, that’s the most pivotal time to keep pushing. Now when I walk out of a class feeling like I was challenged physically and emotionally, I know I’ve grown.
My advice is to let go of specific expectations and just play. Too often we equate self worth with doing a good job. We become our most confident selves and find something truly rejuvenating when we set the intention to simply be present. We become our truest selves when we allow ourselves to reconnect with our inner child and explore our dreams.
Trisha Fey Elizarde (she/they) is a dance creative, model, and yoga instructor dedicated to nurturing radical resilience and creative expression—and Yoga Journal’s 2021 Live Be Yoga Experience Ambassador. This year our intention is to SPARK JOY through movement, mindfulness, rest, gratitude, and kindness. The Live Be Yoga Experience presented by NOW is sponsored by Cetus, JointFlex, NOW Essential Oils, NOW Supplements, Visit Sun Valley, and Zebra CBD. Follow the 2021 Live Be Yoga Experience and stay connected with us @livebeyoga.