a simple thank you…

Both 2015 and 2017 were incredibly pivotal years in my life, and I’m relating the confidence that I gained through watching Strictly to the incredible changes that I made in those years. It can seem sort of silly how much a show can impact you, or the people on it, especially when there’s a chance that you’ll never meet them (time has since proven otherwise after 2015), but the idea is the same. So this is a blog post to thank two incredibly wonderful women for being who they are and inspiring me to do the same.

In the fall of 2015, I was struggling with feeling stuck in a job that no longer appreciated or respected the time that I had put into working with them. At the time of my departure from that job, I was the more senior staff members, even though I had taken a medical leave earlier that year. I had worked there for nearly four years, and suddenly, I was treated with very little respect when presenting my superiors with issues reporting my health. That job meant the world to me, and to this day, I still keep in touch with some of my coworkers and families from that centre, but leaving was the best thing that I ever did.

During that time at the centre though, I first discovered Strictly and after very little convincing from a close friend, discovered my support for Katie and Anton. From them on, I spent countless hours reflecting and reading over various interviews that Katie had given. I wont ramble on for hours about how much she means to me, because at this point, I’d hope that you all know just how important Katie is to me, but knowing her own strength inspired me to do something that – at the time – terrified me more than anything. I am forever grateful for the kindness she had shown me then, and continues to show to me as time goes on. She will always be one of my favorite inspirations and has played an important role in helping me become a more confident person. (K, you know how much you have helped and inspired me.)

2017 has been another pivotal year in my life – in September, just as Strictly began for the new year, I found myself living 3,000 miles away from the place that I had spent the rest of my life calling home and far away from almost everyone who I trusted and considered a friend. While I have been silent about it, and instead, focusing on my new life in university in England, there have been many moments when I have wondered if I have made the right choice in this move and missed the feeling of comfort and familiarity from back home.

But each weekend, to see Debbie and Giovanni on Strictly, and watch their partnership grow over the past three months has been incredible. I have found comfort in this year’s Strictly thanks to them, and while it doesn’t ease the feeling of being homesick, it has brought back memories of sitting back home, when I first fell in love with the show in 2015. Each week, Debbie has inspired me, not only as a dancer, but as a person. She never fails to let a bad week get to her and her positive, determined energy to give it her all reminds me of what I love so much about Strictly in the first place.

So thank you Strictly, for introducing me to two incredibly wonderful and inspiring women who have helped me through very difficult times in my life.

Debbie, no matter what happens this coming weekend, you will always be my Strictly 2017 winner, and thank you for bringing your heart and soul to the dance floor each week.

Katie, you already know how much you mean to me and I’m so thankful for your kindness and love. I am forever grateful for you, never stop being your incredible self.

(And PS: Thanks you both Giovanni and Anton for teaching two of my inspirations to become beautiful ballroom dancers.)


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