I don’t just want to tell my story. I want to give people the space to tell their own stories. Stories in which people followed their own inner voice. Went in new directions. Broke rules. Grew. Because there are so many unbelievable stories that need to be told!
The Story of Jillien Harrer
Who are you?
My name is Jillien Harrer, I am 21 years old and live in Düsseldorf. I am currently studying social work, but besides studying I do something that my heart is burning for, namely dancing. I not only take part in workshops and I am a dancer, but I can also work as a dance teacher. I would describe myself as a cosmopolitan, crazy and wild person. I love traveling, getting to know new cultures and people. I love nature, music, festivals, just enjoying life. I always try to stay positive, even if I know that life is sometimes not so easy and I pay a lot of attention to my mind set.
What do you see as your calling?
I cannot fully define exactly what my purpose is, but I definitely feel in myself that dancing is my way, practically my tool, to give something to the world and to interact with my fellow human beings. That maybe I can even help people.
I don’t know if that’s my destiny, but I believe that everyone somehow has a place in the world and everyone has something that they can do better than anyone else where they thrive and should follow , A thing that can add something to society and be part of it. And I think that’s my way of dancing, that’s what I feel and want to do.
When did you start to follow your own inner voice?
It was pretty much a year ago. I used to dance standard and do a little Zumba. Last year, when I moved to Münster, I thought that I would like to get the Zumba certificate one day to work on the side. And then I applied to a dance school and because of this one decision everything started and suddenly I was in the middle of it. That’s when I started to investigate and since then I’ve also noticed that that’s my destiny. But it wasn’t a decision where I knew I was going to be a dancer, but a decision that had an impact on everything and since then this snow globe has been rolling and getting bigger.
What stumbling blocks did you encounter on your journey?
I also still notice that there are many people who cannot understand what I feel and what I do. People look at me like I have something crazy in my head that won’t work, especially in the society we live in. But I believe that this is my way and the feedback I get from the outside world is so positive that it just pushes me again.
My parents weren’t enthusiastic about it, they were the biggest stumbling blocks. Of course they want me to have a safe life, to study or to do an apprenticeship. I will do that too, but more in the dance area, so that it is balanced.
What I also notice is that friends think that I am talking myself into something and are more worried about me than they have to be. But at some point you have to learn, and I also learn this while dancing, that you should do what is good for you and that sometimes you shouldn’t pay attention to what others think of you, but what you think of yourself. Since I’ve been doing this more I’ve been very happy and that’s enough for me. There are still people who support me and see in me what I feel myself.
I also know that my path will be hard. Dancing doesn’t always mean just having fun, but above all it means a lot of frustration. This moment when you can’t do something or do something as quickly as others frustrates you. Yesterday I had another incident where I could no longer and was really angry with myself and this feeling afterwards that you connect more and more with yourself. By dancing I want to deal more with myself, get to know myself better and then see how I can take what is slumbering inside me outside to realize myself.
Are there parallels between your path and the Stranger’s project?
I feel it exactly that I have something to give too. I would still dance, but if it’s something I can share with people, where people are excited about, or even get help from me and don’t feel alone anymore, that’s the most beautiful feeling in the world for me. I haven’t been dancing since I was little, I think that was the first thing I did before I could walk to Mambo No. 5 danced in the playpen.
I love music, I grew up with it. My dad is also very open and crazy about dancing and I think that influenced me a lot. When I dance, it just makes me very happy. There’s no moment when I’m happier than when I’m just there dancing. It’s a different kind of communication. I believe that everyone can dance, that everyone can express themselves through movement. I want to spread that in the world because it is still missing. Just let go, have fun. I forget my worries every time I dance when I have a stressed day.
How would you encourage other people to follow their inner voice?
I can say of myself that I used to listen to what others say and what others think of me. And that’s why I always pushed myself down and went along with other people standing above me. The most important thing is that you know who you are, what makes you happy and what you want to achieve.
As for that, you shouldn’t set any limits because this world is crazy. Without dreamers, everything we created would not exist. There were always people who sensed or felt something, why there were new things and I therefore believe that everyone feels what they have to do, why they are here, what they can contribute to this world. Everyone can decide for themselves. There are as happy doctors as there are artists. You should listen to it and not just because you grow up in a certain family where there is a norm that you automatically do the same thing, but because you question it once. If it makes you happy, do it, but just try to listen to yourself. And if you feel something where others ask you what you are doing, stay with yourself anyway and if you know that it is the right thing to do.
There will be people who will support you and who will love you just the way you are and that is fine. Even if you are different, it is worth being loved. Therefore simply believe in yourself and then realize what you feel. Then you can experience complete bliss. I think that’s the way and I’ll go. We’ll see what happens, but I feel something is coming and I’m really looking forward to it.
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