“I turned to alcohol when I was thirteen years old. I didn’t know my worth or value and became obsessed with drinking. I drank all through high school with no way out. My mom told me to go to AA, or I was going to die. That was a wake-up call. I started AA when I was 19. I knew I had a problem, but it was hard letting go of the obsession. I would go for two or six months without drinking, then fall back into it. I had anxiety, dark thoughts, and heart palpitations. When I was 27, I got on my knees, promising to be sober this time. I finally loved myself enough to walk away from the old people, places, and things. Three years into my sobriety, something clicked. I got into positive affirmations and started looking at life from a lens of love and forgiveness.
I battled with alcohol because I bottled up my feelings until I exploded, but I’m finding new ways to release those emotions. I’ve always been a dancer and love moving my body. When I went out drinking, I danced like a mad woman. I started dancing outside about a year ago because it feels free. It became a healthy way of letting out emotions and expressing love through movement. It also helps me stay in the present moment. I do this for me—it doesn’t have to be perfect.
I struggled with perfection most of my life, but I am breaking free from that, too. Dancing is meditation and feeling free, not specific moves. I can dance for hours. Dancing outside is also a chance to appreciate the flowers, grass, and leaves; each day is different.
I can finally be myself without being ashamed of my alcohol story. My purpose is loving people. Every day, I’m on a quest to bring a smile, fun, or entertainment to the person in front of me. I love to make people laugh.
(I met Julieanna because of a video of her dancing on The Fairhope Inquisitor, a satire site based on Fairhope. Here are a couple of the questions T.F.I. had for Julieanna. Here’s their video of Julieanna dancing.)
T.F.I. Obviously, what are you jammin’ to?
Julieanna: “I focus on high-energy stuff—anything with good beats. Sometimes I’m in a classical mood and listen to musical instruments. The music depends on what I’m feeling on that day. I’m careful what I watch and listen to, avoiding anything too dark. My quest is to be as emotionally intelligent as possible to handle the real challenges that come in life.”
T.F.I. You have many fans wanting to join you. Are you willing to be the pied piper of the Fairhope dancers? Guiding them through your routine– walking route slowly amassing a small army of dancers willing to do your bidding until you slowly take us over?
Julieanna: “Bring it on. I would love that. My dancing may inspire someone else to be their truest self.”