The most dreaded thing anyone can ask me is: What do you do?
The person who has asked me, probably out of courtesy, just ends up being very confused and all the while I’ve failed miserably at answering the one question that now consumes me.
Since I was nine, I have been a ballroom dancer. Not the ‘take a Broadway Jazz class on a Saturday afternoon’ kind of dancer, but a professional dancer. I lived out of a suitcase for 12 years, travelling the world and learning about the bogo pogo (and other oddly named dance moves).
I’ve worked in television (yes, I was Chris Hemsworth’s partner on Dancing with the Stars) and on stage and not once did I consider it a job.
It was what I did.
Two years ago, aged 30, I retired from ballroom dancing and have since been trying to figure out what it is I now do.
For me the whole process of blowing up my life to pursue a new career has been more confronting and, at times, overwhelming than I could have imagined. Even filling out an airport landing card is a struggle.
What do I write for occupation? Can I still put ‘dancer’ without being interrogated by a grumpy looking customs officer?
I never expected that applying for a television series would lead to me finding my ‘Dream Job’. When I was a dancer I honestly didn’t think about anything else, and the idea of a new career hadn’t even crossed my mind.
But now I found myself unskilled and over 30 and that meant either staying in a career I no longer loved, or pursuing a new one. My newfound anxiety was telling me that something needed to change, and now was as good a time as any.
Being a part of ‘Dream Job’ allowed me to step into life as a writer, for a moment, just to see if this was potentially what I wanted to do. My experience of pursuing a writing career was equal parts scary and exciting.