The Road To (Re)Invention

Hey y’all-

Long time no talk. I know, I know … it IS, indeed, 100% my fault. And for that, I am immensely sorry. BUT you must know- I was going through a very strange phase of my life. In fact, I still am…

Reason be- No matter what had changed in the past: siblings, my parent’s divorce, puberty, high school, piercing (both sides of) my nose, moving from Texas to Pennsylvania, break up after break up – boy after boy (bleh), graduating from college, etc. This time, the change was different- something was missing. There was a very scary realization that I was not entering the next part of my life with the same security as before – and that terrified me.

Up until this point, every time I had experienced change, there was always one variable that seemed to stay the same –

Dance. 

As soon as I finally reached the week of my graduation, I very quickly began to realize just how fed up and finished I had been for quite some time. My whole family traveled to Pittsburgh to watch me graduate, and honestly, I could not have been more of a brat the entire time. I remember sitting at lunch with my mom and step dad the day they got to town, and my mom becoming very angry with me. She wanted to know where I could pick up my cap and gown – I didn’t know. She wanted to know if I needed to be anywhere for any type of rehearsal for the ceremony – I didn’t know. She even, so simply, wanted to know what time the actual graduation ceremony would begin – and again, I. Did. Not. Know. I ended up snapping at her, and quite frankly, I was even a little surprised with my behavior.

I had made “being positive” such a strong priority during my three years at Point Park, that when it was finally time for it to end, I began to release all of the anger that I had been holding in behind closed doors.

Don’t get me wrong – Point Park is a great place! My troubling time had nothing to do with where I was. Instead, it had everything to do with who I was trying to be.

Inside, I was traveling on a very negative personal journey. And to be honest, it was because I was trying my very hardest to be someone other than Montana.

Along with inorganically trying to stay in love with dance, I also struggled with self-image, finding a solid group of friends, and pretending to be happy in a very fake relationship.

They say, “you find yourself in college.” (Whatever tf that means, and whoever tf they are.) But, for me- I quickly realized that I spent no time TRULY “finding myself” until the day after I graduated.

For a while, I knew I didn’t want to dance. I actually went back and read journals that I had kept throughout my schooling – and even, in the midst of the most beautiful dancing I had ever experienced, in Tel Aviv, Israel, I was writing about how bored and disinvested my mind and body both were.

Eventually, through many tears, a few temper tantrums, and one really big fight with my mom, I got through it. Now, when I look past the actual situation, I see that what I truly learned was an extremely valuable lesson-

Before you can realize, admit, and/or change anything – YOU have to realize, admit and/or find the drive to change it YOURSELF. Nothing can ever be put into effect, in YOUR life, by other people. YOU have to be the change. (Oh, God. The cliché. Spare me. But for real…) YOU have to have the courage and the motivation to say it and want it yourself. 

Today – I can confidently say that I do not want to purse dance as a career any longer. Although, I am extremely aware of how far it took me in life, and I would never trade one second that I spent training and/or performing for anything in the world. Dance molded me into the human being that I am today. For that, I am forever grateful.

So, once I got past it… I thought, “What the hell am I going to do?”

I didn’t know how to go about living life, or taking the next step, without dance. I spent 8 months barista-ing at a local Pittsburgh cafe, and 4 of those months serving at a Mexican restaurant. (Shoutout to my food friends. I effing love y’all.) Those 8 months were great! It was the first time in my life that I wasn’t worrying about training, being thin, binge eating, self-image, auditions, cast lists, swollen joints, or eating ibuprofen like skittles (shout out to my girl Lindsay hehe). For the first time, I was actually making a tiny bit of money. I was straight-up chilling, and it was great. But I quickly became both exhausted and bored. I NEEDED to find something more- something that made me feel like there was room (and desire) for growth.

Well, luckily, an angel was sent into my life – Jorae Hassinger. @heyjorae – A designer at American Eagle Outfitters corporate.

Back story- Our boyfriends are friends from college. They introduced us, and I very quickly learned what an exceptional human Jorae is. (Don’t even get me started on the boyfriend. He is an absoulte gift. I would be so alone without his constant support, honesty, humor, ambition, affection and laughter. He is one of the main reasons that I was able to realize that I had been living a lie for the past 3 years. Since I have been with Matthew, I have never been more Montana.)

Long story short – (and for real: short) Jorae pulled some strings and got me an interview with the Marketing Photo Studio at American Eagle. With a B.F.A. in Dance and absolutely no experience with styling – I somehow got the position as a Freelance Stylist for AEO.

I’ve been at AEO for about 2 months and I literally love it more than I could ever explain in a blog post.

AEO is a Monday through Friday, nine to five job. But, I don’t stop there.

Side Hustle is a VERY real thing, y’all.

I am working on a side dance project with two absolutely beautiful humans both inside and out. Lindsay Fisher and Matt Pardo! (I know, I know – I just got done ranting about how I quit dance. Bare with me…) I still sometimes serve at the Mexican restaurant. I work parties slash banquets at my boyfriend’s family’s resturant, Mitchell’s, in Downtown Pittsburgh. And hell, I even have a profile on Rover – I dogsit during my free time. Whatever tf “free-time” means.

SO- long story looong—

This is officially the re-vamping of my original blog. (And I could not be more excited!!) Only this time, it’s not going to emphasize the steps to becoming a professional dancer, it’s going to EXPRESS MY steps to becoming professional. Period. No matter what tf that may end up entailing. Because let’s face it – we are all a little bit more confused than not when it comes to “life.”

I’ve decided to take a couple steps back and look at what I really want to do with my life, instead of trying to impress the people from my past.

So, please – join me on my journey! Monti’s Road To Reinvention!

Because Let’s be real –Life hands you shit, but there are silver-linings everywhere.

My first goal with this blog is to post every other week. Wish me luck!

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9 thoughts on “The Road To (Re)Invention

  1. Amy Michniak says:

    Best of luck to you, our dear niece. You are in our prayers and we are here for you if you need us. And I truly mean that. Love, Aunt Amy and Uncle Greg

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Noreen hinds says:

    Montana, you are a fantastic young person an you make me proud with your quest to be you. If you’d ever like to talk you just ring my phone. Love your dance but if that’s not your lot in life it’s ok. Most of us happen into our life. Not many people can say this was my plan. Life sends us in many directions an in truth will help you get to where your going. All we ask is that you try to make the best decisions you can an try to be the best you can be. Papa an I love Montana an know you will do your best. Which is all we can do. Go Monti! Love Mimi xoxoxo

    Like

  3. Terrell Rogers says:

    Montana,

    I am so extremely happy that you are happy and that your on this journey to finding who you are. Dancer or no dancer, you still inspire me so much. Please keep being the beautiful person you are. Love you tons!!!

    – Terrell ❤

    Like

  4. Aunt Buddy says:

    Montana! I love you! You are wise beyond your years! I knew the moment I saw you you were a special person! I love you more than you will ever know! Maybe you can help me figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

    Like

    • montifresh says:

      I miss you so very much!! I was thinking about all of y’all, today actually! I hope to come visit soon. Thank you for your kind words. -and for reading !! I love you 🙂

      Like

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