“It is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory.” ‘ F. Scott Fitzgerald
AN INTERVIEW WITH TAYLOR FLOYD
BTCF: What has dance meant in your life and when did you begin?
TAYLOR: I took my first dance class when I was 2 years old, and then it became a consistent part of my life when I was 7 years old. My childhood was filled with long days at my dance studio, and long dance competitions on the weekends. As I entered my teen years and finally started high school, I became a part of my high school’s dance team where I devoted an immense amount of time and energy for the next four years. From a young age, dance has been the one thing that I turned to during good and bad times in my life. In moments having the feeling of defeat, sadness, frustration, I was able to lean on dance and feel everything through my body and through each movement. It is one of the most amazing feelings, and there are not enough words to describe it. Dance will always be my first love, my passion, and I know it will be a part of my life forever.
BTCF: These past couple of years has been challenging for many people. How has it affected you and what growth has taken place as well?
TAYLOR: These past couple of years have been very challenging for me and my mental health and wellness. I started my freshman year of college about 6 months before the pandemic came about. As the world shut down and I transferred from on campus to school online, it was a weird adjustment. In the beginning, I enjoyed doing school online and I was putting a lot of effort into making a schedule out of my day. It wasn’t as easy to continue as I started to struggle with depression and anxiety. I feel like a lot of people can relate to the idea that the first year in quarantine was a very lonely time with little to no social interaction, and that brought out a side to me that I didn’t know existed. I have had to work really hard to pull myself out from the bottom day by day, but that is easier said than done. Depression and anxiety come in waves, but I am finally feeling like myself again and I am so proud of myself and the progress I have made over the last couple of years. I started to dance a lot more in the privacy of my own room and it was important to me to have something to look forward to, even if it was just going for a walk or making a delicious meal.
BTCF: There was something special that happened in your life while taking a trip to Seattle Washington in March, can you share a little bit about it and what has meant to your wellness?
TAYLOR: In March I planned a spring break trip with my best friend to Seattle, Washington and it was one of the best things that I could have done. It was my first time traveling somewhere with a friend for a little vacation and I absolutely fell in love with the city. After spending a couple days in Seattle, we drove back to her college town where I ended up staying for about 3 months. During this time, I experienced an immense about of self-growth, self-love, and balance in my life. My over all wellness had improved so much without any force, as I was genuinely just enjoying life and time with my best friend, while meeting new friends, still finishing school online, and making so many new memories. I found a new sense of independence and I am so grateful for my time in Washington.
BTCF: As a college student during a time when things were shut down, what was that like for you?
TAYLOR: I was only in college for about 6-7 months before things were shut down, and it was a very weird adjustment. Before school started, I was already nervous to start attending and become adjusted to my new schedule and workload that was going to come with it. When everything shut down, moving to online school was an interesting experience for me. I quickly became introverted therefore doing all my classes online, while only having a couple of Zoom meetings was in my favor. I was able to work in my own space and I definitely enjoyed that part of it. However, with that came its on struggles. Actual interaction with my classmates obviously became less than it was before, and that was important because it was my Sign Language classes. With the lack of that social interaction, I felt my capability to fully learn the language and communicate during class were limited.
BTCF: We have enjoyed working with you on a couple of occasions – being a dancer in one of our board members, Alex Little’s breath-taking “7 Chairs” performance and a dance/paint/music experience we did in studio. We love to use art as a healing tool. Is dance a form of healing for you and what about it inspires this?
TAYLOR: I really enjoyed working with you and being a part of Alex Little’s “7 Chairs” performance, as well as the beautiful experience in the studio. Dance is absolutely a form of healing for me. There are so many styles of dance, so many different genres of music to dance to, and through that I have the ability to tell my story. There is absolutely nothing better than using dance as a form of healing because I have complete control over my body and the way I move. With dance I am able to express everything I am thinking, without having to use words.
BTCF: You graduated from College of the Canyons with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Science as well as being on the honor roll and awarded Valedictorian! What has this meant to you in your life and where do you see yourself going from here?
TAYLOR: I am so proud to say that I have graduated with my Associates Degree while being on the honor roll and awarded Valedictorian. School has not always been an easy thing for me and when I started college, I was very nervous for the amount of work and time I knew I was going to have to put into studying so that I can truly do my best. Graduating was an amazing feeling, and I am so excited to say that next I will be continuing my education at California State University of Long Beach.
BTCF: Since your main study of focus is American Sign Language, what inspired you toward this field and has it had a personal effect on your life?
TAYLOR: My grandparents have inspired me the most in regard to my main study of focus being American Sign Language. They are both Deaf, and I grew up learning Sign Language to communicate with them. When I started college, I had no idea what I wanted study or what I wanted to focus on for my career until I saw the American Sign Language Interpreting Program that was offered. Immediately I signed up, and I have had the most fun learning about the Deaf community and improving my signing skills every day. Communicating with my grandparents has improved more than I ever thought it would, and they have been so helpful and inspiring for me to continue to learn.
BTCF: What are three of your hobbies and how do they help create balance in your life?
TAYLOR: Three hobbies of mine are traveling, cooking/baking, and weightlifting. After traveling to Seattle, I realized how much good that did for me. It helps me get out of my comfort zone, and I like being able to adapt to new places and create memories in new places. Cooking and baking are something I got into within the last year or so more intensely. I really enjoy finding new recipes and the simple act of making a fresh meal from my kitchen and having it taste so delicious feels rewarding and makes me so happy! Weightlifting is something I started to do in 2020 when the pandemic hit but have gotten more into it within this past year. I have really fell in love with going to the gym and seeing how much stronger I am getting week after week is an amazing feeling. I get to listen to my favorite music, and I will typically workout for about an hour or so. Post workout is a feeling like no other and really excites me to see how much more I am going to grow and how strong I will become.
BTCF: Do you have three self-care tips? If so, what are they and why?
TAYLOR: My first self-care tip is to surround yourself with people who you love and love you in return. It is so important to have people in your corner who support you and be there for you but will also give you tough love if needed. Another self-care tip is to be more understanding towards yourself. It can be a little bit easier to be understanding to others more than to yourself but being compassionate and understanding towards yourself can be extremely helpful. My last tip is to find one thing a day to look forward to. A walk, a yummy meal, a new book, literally anything that you can look forward to because I think enjoying the simplest things in life, make life more enjoyable.
BTCF: Your smile is so contagious! What are the joys in your life?
TAYLOR: The joys in my life include my friends and family. I love my people in my life and in my corner with my entire heart. I love seeing them thrive and doing their best in their life and supporting them through everything. My people are my world.
BTCF: Social media is a constant and so many young people absorb a tremendous amount of it all – what tip would you tell a young person your age when it comes to body image and self-love?
TAYLOR: When it comes to body image and self-love in a world where social media is everywhere and so constant, I would tell someone my age to focus on real life, and the present moment. It is so easy to be captivated by everything on social media but when you put the phone down, all you have is yourself. You are the most important thing in your life and its important to act on that and give yourself love and compassion every day.
BTCF: What is your favorite form of dance and why?
TAYLOR: My favorite form of dance is contemporary or contemporary jazz because of the stories you can tell. I also love those kinds of songs, so I really enjoy dancing to them.
BTCF: Favorite inspirational song?
TAYLOR: My favorite inspirational song is “Vienna” by Billy Joel.
Thank you, Taylor!