"We don't grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges"
I don't know how it happened, but I get to do what I love for my life and have a community that supports my mission. I honestly feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world! I know now that music and teaching is my heart and life's work, but it wasn't always that way- I didn't always know this. I was trained as an artist with a craft and truth be told I was insecure about my ability to transfer that knowledge. After all, being a gifted musician is very different than being a gifted teacher and I wasn't confident in my ability to be the former.
I recently celebrated my four year D.C.-anniversary and I was thinking back to that day I packed my car with whatever I could fit inside and made the 600+ mile trip to the nations capital. I had a few ideas about my future here but there were still many unanswered questions. I'm sure we've all been there- walking in faith into the unknown. It takes a lot of courage to walk out in faith, but at the time I felt it was the right move and that I would find a way.
When I arrived here I had nothing. And when I say nothing, I'm very serious! I even slept on an air mattress for six months! I started teaching out of necessity in the Columbia Heights area. That wasn't enough so I also took a job at Starbucks which made for some long days... opening the coffee shop at 5 AM, working until 1 PM, rushing home to shower to be at the studio in the city by 3 PM for my fist student... six or seven days a week. Needless to say I was exhausted and starting to lose faith in my true purpose here.
God was at work though! Slowly and surely, I was able to connect with families through building relationships and before I knew it I had enough students to cut out one day of making lattes and traveling to the NW part of the city. I was teaching in-home lessons one day a week to only a handful of young beginner students. It's here where I began to discover my true passion for teaching and how much joy working with young beginners brought me. I was beginning to shed my insecurities about myself as an educator and realize why I was here after all!
Fast forward to present day... I have come a long way from those 16 hour work days. Slowly and surely I was able to cut out the coffee brewing until I was teaching exclusively full time. I still brew coffee, but it's in my french press at home while I'm tackling on the admin portion of my work. I still regularly stop by that Starbucks and it humbles me every time I scan my phone for my standard Iced Venti Americano with room. It reminds me of where I started and how much I've learned since the beginning days.
More importantly it reminds me of the beautiful gifts and talents I uncovered through my journey to becoming a music teacher. If you had asked me 10 years or even 4 years ago when I first arrived in DC if I thought I'd be where I am now, I'd have said no way. But through faith I walked out and discovered something about myself that brings me true joy and fulfillment and I wouldn't have my life any other way. I challenge all you, reader, and all my students to do the same. You might just discover talents and strengths you never knew you had!