by Eloise Kropp
Last year, I met up in a coffee shop with my friend Tanya. We had both just been on whirlwind adventures and were exchanging stories. I had just been out of the country for the first time to Spain, Italy, and France! She had just finished leading a yoga retreat in Italy. Our lives connected in the small warm up room during On The Town but our friendship and sisterhood has lasted far beyond that.
I told her in that coffee shop last year that I wanted to go on the retreat with her one year. It sounded incredible. Yoga in a small village led by one of my friends who I’ve seen blossom into a wonderful teacher, public speaker, and miracle maker. I’m not sure she knows this, but she inspired me in that coffee shop, by the way she just had released her life to the universe, she had no plans, just intention. But it was crystal clear she was doing something right because of all the abundance she was receiving back. She was a magnet, living a life better than she could of ever dreamed up.
Real Talk. Honestly, the past year I’ve worked less that I have in the past four. I was burned out after Cats, truly I was burned out after Dames at Sea but didn’t take the time because I didn’t know how, or think I could. Physically and emotionally, I was so weak. My body was injured and couldn’t dance the way I remembered, but I was scared to stop moving. I was struggling mentally with many insecurities that I had just hidden behind a cat face for a year. I knew I needed time away, but I was scared to take it. The idea of stepping away scared me so much, because much of my success has been because I’m such a “go getter."
After working a job in the fall, I decided I needed to change my focus. I needed to rebuild myself, I felt like I had nothing to offer. I shifted my focus on family, teaching, and only doing projects I was passionate about. I wasn’t auditioning. I couldn’t force myself into those rooms. Mentally I wasn’t strong enough to go in and deliver. I decided in order to keep doing what I was doing, something had to change. And that needed to be me.
This year I had my first Thanksgiving off in four years. I was home for Christmas, I took a ski trip with my dad, I was home for my niece's first two weeks of life... and so much more. Don’t get me wrong. I was also doing the work. A lot of work! Any of my close friends know I’ve worked my freaking butt off this year. But the main focus was on me and the things I had put on the back-burner since I moved to New York City. I was only taking the projects that were falling into my lap, and trust me. I am so thankful I had projects that fell into my lap.
Cut to... March 2018. I am at home with my sister, my nephew, and my newborn niece. Tanya posted about the yoga retreat on her Facebook, I don’t usually comment or respond much on social media... but I decided to respond to it, saying “I wish I could go." She immediately texted me the information and was like you have to try and come it would be SO incredible to have you there. I looked at the dates and cost, and just told her “I wish I could afford this, but I’ve not been working this year like I have in the past." She then informed me they had a scholarship program... and the deadline was the next day. So off to work I went. I wrote a whole essay about why I would be a good “candidate” for the scholarship program and why I wanted to go on the retreat. I was madly typing away and made my mother edit it, just like she did my papers back in high school. Some things never change.
I found out a week later I got a scholarship to go.
And I said yes.
Last year was my first time leaving the country, and when I was in Spain by myself I made a vow. I promised myself I would leave the country once a year. Just working wasn’t going to cut it, I needed life experience, I needed travel and if work wasn’t going to bring it I would give it to myself. Now after this whirlwind year, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it happen and in the blink of an eye, it was a reality. I was buying a plane ticket to Italy. In April, I decided I would save money and sublet my apartment all summer and spend the summer between Texas and Oklahoma with family. I’ve spent many summers in New York and I figured summer by the pool being a “sister wife” to my sister and her kids sounded amazing since I only had two things in my agenda; a show in Arizona and then the trip to Italy.
I was wrong. The summer ended up providing me with four incredible shows, and they all included paychecks. Each of the shows has been fulfilling, challenging, and allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful new friends that I know will be in my life for many many years. I’m now on my way to Italy smiling the silliest grin. I know most people celebrate their birthdays as milestones, but this year my August anniversary “traveling out of the country” is my milestone. I’ve made some crazy decisions this year but I feel alive again, happier, and more supported than ever. I remember how I felt about Tanya last year when we were in the coffee shop. How I wanted what she had. I can honestly say I no longer need to want what she had, I have it. I surrendered this year to regaining my happiness, getting my confidence back, and enjoying my friends and family more. I have experienced miracles every single day, and more abundance than I ever thought possible. The place I was last year leaving Cats for a trip out of the country for the first time and the place I find myself in this year are completely different. Last year I was looking for an escape... this year I’m just looking to enjoy the adventure.