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Check Out Mia Laren’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mia Laren.

Hi Mia, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
It all began at age 5 when I was asked the question, “What do you want to be when you’re older?” I was always different, never feeling like I truly fit in. I was a dreamer, trying to imagine all of life’s endless possibilities. I was intrigued by thinking outside of the box. However, you are only a dreamer without the tools to build the dream.

My mother is the strongest woman I know, I truly thank her for providing those tools in which allowed me to build my dream. I was a late bloomer, starting off with a speech delay, putting me behind in school. I was a student with IEP, followed around by a special education teacher and put into a separate classroom. I was also born legally blind in my left eye and had to wear an eyepatch like a pirate. I was not “normal,” but I am glad because it shaped who I am today. I was constantly bullied. My mother helped me through my struggle, by sharing her love and compelling me to work harder in school. In 5th grade, I was finally in the on-grade-level classes.

In 6th grade, I joined the Peabody choir, inspiring me to be the lead role of our middle school musical Bye Bye Birdie. I felt on top of the world. I began to express myself with my fashion. I remember showing up to school in a cheetah outfit with a ball of fur necklace that I made. One day one of my teachers commented on my fashion in front of the whole class saying, “When you got dressed this morning, what were you thinking?”

By the time I got to high school, that’s when my confidence began to slowly fade away. I didn’t know how to wear makeup and I began getting acne all over my body. I was a part of the HS musicals and the HS choir including the women’s choir. I remember like it was yesterday, I auditioned for the HS musical, Rent, I was excited and had practiced the singing role dozens of times. When the day came, I stood in front of everyone to sing my solo and was suddenly stopped by the drama teacher only to say out loud, “don’t worry it’s okay, we are not all singers.” From then on I had my best friend at the time telling me that I didn’t have a good voice.

I became too embarrassed to try out for the musical leads and the magical’s choir. On top of not feeling good enough, I was put into a situation where I was sexually assaulted on a school trip by a boy I did not know. When I reported it to the cops, they told me that I wanted it. When I went to the school, they suspended me. I was 17, scared, and felt alone. I had a hate page made about me and I was the talk of the school, walking into rooms making them go silent. I wanted to leave high school as quickly as possible.

When college came around I was focused on my studies, a straight-A student. I met a boy and was put into another situation where he sexually assaulted me, this time worse, leaving me vulnerable, shocked, and confused. I felt as if the trust and kindness that I projected into the world had been taken advantage of. I fell into a dark tunnel in which led me to date narcissists, abusers, and people who would take more of my confidence. I felt unwanted, alone, and unworthy of love. I remember walking around with my head down hoping no one noticed me. I didn’t love my body, I didn’t love my life, I was just there. I stopped singing, letting my voice disappear into the dust.

I majored in dance at Howard Community College graduating with my associate’s degree in dance performance and science, later moving on to the University of Maryland Baltimore County graduating with a bachelor’s degree in dance. The way the body moved allowed me to let go and be free, away from the damage. I was dancing Monday through Sunday, I couldn’t get enough of it, I was in love. Eventually, I developed a back injury in which would change my path forever. My plan was to perform on Broadway as an ensemble. When I went to the doctor he told me, “The only choice you have is to choose a different career path.”

I was not going to take this as the answer. So, I began to work hard to build my strength again. This inspired me to open my own dance studio, teaching dance and fitness, helping those with injuries, anxiety, and encouraging self-confidence. I built a family, working together to build each other up with positivity. Through my journey, I found my mentor Thom Balentine, which showed me the powerful tool of energy healing, Reiki. I used this to evolve, change and find my purpose. With the support of my mentor, my mother, and my family, I slowly began to blossom.

While blossoming, I began to regain my strength and drastically recover so I could dance my heart out again. I began volunteering for my community and working for a non-profit organization of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) teaching the art of dance to Baltimore County Public Schools. My work with the kids was chosen for the Kennedy Center for National Dance Day. The beauty of kinesthetic movement drew me towards other aspects of creation such as music. I finally decided to sing after all of those years in silence, opening a part of me that would never be closed again.

So what do I want to be when I get older. When I was little and was asked this big question that was beyond my reach. I told my mom, “I’m going to be that one in a million.” As a child, I didn’t realize that being different was actually a blessing in disguise. Being different allows you to express all parts of yourself, to evolve into the complete person that you are meant to be. I am Mia Laren, a professional singer, dancer, producer, and songwriter. I get to dance to my music and connect with people from all around the world.

I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health from George Washington University so I can further help others. At the end of my life, it will not be about the things I did do, it will be about the things I didn’t do. If I never get to be that 1 in a million, at least I get to say that I gave it my all. The moral of the story is to never stop believing in yourself. Find the love within yourself so you can give and share the most love you could ever imagine with the world.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I have grown up to be the woman I am today, not because of what was given to me, but by what was taken away. Throughout my life, I was bullied, sexually assaulted, and harassed. I have faced rejection numerous times, I have made mistakes and I have questioned why I am here. For so many years I listened to people telling me who I am.

In high school my drama teacher calling me a loser, when I was sexually assaulted, the cop telling me that I wanted it when I was told I wasn’t pretty enough, my voice wasn’t good enough, I could never be anyone special… all of these words made me who I am today. I was able to overcome all of this. I love to share my story so people know that they are not alone. There is hope out of the tunnel. The hope stems from knowing who you are, standing up for who you are, and knowing to not let others’ opinions of you affect your mind, body, or soul.

I love what I do. I get to inspire others. I get to lead with kindness, helping others. Music is the connection between the soul and the world. That is truly powerful. The hardships that we face turn into the strengths that we conquer. We have the power, remember that. We have the power to change our lives by taking charge of who we are.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
You’ll know you’re on the right path when you get to that path and realize everything you’ve ever experienced in your life has led you to that moment. Everything has led you to that path in which you blossom like a flower. You won’t question, you won’t give up, you won’t let others judge you, you’ll stick to who you are because you have defined who you are in the art you are creating. That path allows you to be a leader, to be a mentor, and be the best version of who you are. That path won’t make you question if you should walk along other paths.

My path is a professional singer, dancer, songwriter, and producer. I began making music almost two years ago. My genre is pop, dance-pop, Latin, and folk. When I began producing music I fell in love with the process. I fell in love with being able to express myself through the power of words. Every song I write tells a part of me. A part of me that I don’t share often. When I begin to write a song, I imagine myself dancing to the rhythm, connecting with the melody, and wanting to hit repeat. With no prior background in music production, I truly believe that dance has allowed me to create music by imagining the patterns in which music flows.

With my music, I am not trying to be the best, I am only just being myself. That is successful, that is vulnerable and that is truly powerful. Remember don’t allow conformity to take away your individuality.

What makes you happy?
Being here today, life is simply beautiful, yet so precious. My mother and hero, who recently had a kidney transplant, inspired me to “live for today.” I am so thankful to have my family here with me. I am happy when I am surrounded by good people, good food, good laughs, and the things I love doing the most, like singing, dancing, making music, hiking, traveling, writing, learning, and playing with my three-legged cat Leo, who I rescued when he was four weeks old.

Lastly, because the smaller things make up the bigger ones, it puts a big smile on my face when I see someone listening to one of my songs. Not only listening but connecting, as if I was singing right there in front of them. Music is truly the connection to the soul. If you are able to connect with music, you are able to connect to the soul.

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