chosen attention

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I hate my birthday.

No one ever really believes that when I say I hate my birthday, I actually mean I hate my birthday. Generally, people assume its a passive aggressive way of saying that you better make my birthday awesome.

But no, I hate my birthday.

I have a lot of wonderful, caring, and sometimes sensitive people in my life that I love and cherish and care for. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to react to things as they happen. Specifically, I don’t know how to react to things when people are paying attention to me.

And this is why I hate my birthday.

I appreciate gifts and gestures and all these things, but I barely know how to react when someone in the grocery store says “How are you?” without retracting into my shell, much less opening a present that happens to be something that I’ve wanted or going somewhere I’ve really wanted to go. Opening presents is like negotiating a hostage for me. I can’t even express how much less stress I feel when a box comes in the mail and I get to open it in my room by myself and then call the sender and thank them genuinely.

It’s not that I mind attention, I could speak to an audience of a thousand about Flash mobs, I’ve danced in front of several hundred. But those are situations in which I have chosen the attention, practiced to near-perfection, and am ready to give a performance. Birthdays are not performances, and therefore I am not adequately prepared for them.

Birthdays are really hard. I don’t know how to react to gifts or parties and then seem unappreciative and ungrateful, and then in the aftermath people are upset with me. This happens every year that someone else plans something wonderful for me. I love the things that are planned, I appreciate it, I try to be excited but there’s a fine line between under-reacting and having fireworks shooting out of your ass in excitement. I have not been able to find that line.

I am grateful for the love and affection and support of people, but rather than bringing me joy (as they really should) it’s a source of stress and worry that ends up in backlash that really hurts my heart.

And so, birthdays are hard, and I hate my birthday. And this has been the longest Monday I’ve ever experienced.

Love,

B

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on ‘the scary thing is…’

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I don’t update often because I don’t often think of things I should say. Most of the time I want to make corny lists about the ten most wonderful things about loml, or why I’m in the best graduate program in the world, or seventeen things that I’ve learned about dance in cold war America this week…things I’m not sure that anyone but me is really interested in.

That being said, this thing has been on my mind. That, and I don’t want to post about how wonderful my family is (they are.) and how much I love Christmas (I do.)

A few months ago I wrote something about being injured, and how dancers have a different relationship to their bodies. I’m still channeling my warrior heart as I work through this injury, but this wasn’t the type of thing that stretching and conditioning was going to take care of.

Lord knows I’ve been conditioning.
My leg might be broken (*read: not functioning the way I want it to)
but I’m going to have the core strength of a…of Jeff. 

Anyway, five professional opinions later, I’ve opted for surgery to fix the problem. It’s gross and complicated so I’m not going to go into details but I’ll be in the hopsital for a couple of days, then on crutches for 8 weeks, then rehab for a few more months.

The surgeon said I won’t be in dance class again for a year. Or two.

Oh yeah, there it is. The scary thing.

I know I can sit in a chair and take class while I heal. I know that I continue to use my other “gifts” in the field (other people’s words, not mine). But it’s scary. All I’ve been doing for almost ten years is dance. When I’m sad, I take class. When I’m happy, I dance. When I’m inspired, I create a piece. When I’m discouraged, I take barre. When I’m alone, I dance around like a nutcase. It’s my thing. If not that, then what do I have?

I am nervous about having surgery. I am nervous of letting someone else (or a team of someone elses) be trusted with my body. I am nervous about not being physically capable enough to do everything on my own.

I’m having surgery on the 31st. Happy New Year! I would love and appreciate any of your messages, hellos, prayers, whatever. Because it is scary. 

The P.A. said “This isn’t our first rodeo” when I mentioned my nervousness and trepidation. Well, sir, it is my first ‘rodeo.’

It’s going to be okay, right?

Love, b

unnerved

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Have you ever met someone that completely unnerves you in the best way possible? I don’t mean unnerves in the sense of demoralizing, but rather the definition that refers to being thrown off balance. And thrown off balance in such a way that you’re actually finding a new balance.

I feel like I’m finding a place of balance I’ve never known before, and it’s exciting and scary and unnerving and I love it. 

October is here, and I’ve always loved the Fall, and the changing season, and sweater weather, but this October feels different.

It feels more alive. And I think it feels more alive because of who I choose to spend my time with. I don’t think that people can change other people, but I do think that sometimes you will meet people who will bring out the best that is already in you.

Yesterday, I had a beautiful drive in the cool morning air, and spent a few hours in a pumpkin patch, choosing pumpkins, watching kids play. I spent the rest of the day carving pumpkins, baking, and eating food I had created and when I was still awake at 4:15 this morning, chatting about nothing at all, I didn’t feel exhausted and broken. I felt tired (of course) but like I had found the sweetness of Fall.

Finding this place in grad school is hard — in this place we must work to our limits sometimes to accomplish that which is asked of us, and because it is my thesis year (and I want to survive and still be whole) I love seeking during my favourite season.

I just feel happy.

love, b

 

warrior

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Dancers have a very different relationship with their body. I’ve always known this but I’m coming to understand it more these days.

Last Monday something popped in my knee during ballet class and despite the pain of it, I continued to dance on it. On Tuesday I told my cubicle-mate (who also is one of the conditioners/assistants in the conditioning studio) that something in my knee popped but I didn’t want to be a baby about it. She told me to not be that kind of person and make an appointment with the physical therapist that we have in the dance department every Wednesday.

I wasn’t sure I’d get in to see her (or even that I wanted to), but I’m really glad I did. I explained to her what happened and she said she’s not positive, but she suspects an injury that I need to see an orthopedist for. And that’s when I started thinking about how as a dancer, I have a very different relationship with my body than most people.

I started doing physical therapy on Thursday and by Friday morning, I was having trouble just walking up the stairs, much less actually taking dance class.

Friday morning I made an appointment with the orthopedist at school for Tuesday, and I felt stuck. I didn’t know what was wrong and couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t take class, and sitting and observing class when you’re injured is a little demoralizing because you can’t do the thing you love, and you have to sit there watching other people do it. I couldn’t explain to my professors exactly why I’m not dancing because I don’t know except that it hurts.

This is when the PT I was working with and I had a really interesting conversation. First, she read me a Pema Chodron quote about trusting your inner warrior. We then began talking about the way dancers view their bodies.

It’s not just that I might need to do physical therapy and observe dance classes for a little while, it’s that when a doctor says to you that you can’t do the thing that you love, your heart breaks a little bit. Your livelihood is taken away. In some cases, your bread and butter is taken away. Our bodies function as our instrument, and an instrument that we are constantly working to perfect in our craft.

We’re raised in dance culture to believe that we are expendable because there are a million other dancers out there, so when we’re injured we should keep dancing because if we don’t, someone else will. And right now I’m struggling with that mentality because I do feel inept for not taking class full out, or dancing in rehearsal full out, or for having to say to my professors/choreographers that I can’t do it right now.

So, after a few tears, a bonfire with smores, and an appointment scheduled for Tuesday, I’m trying to take it one step at a time because I need to remember this poignant question: do you want to dance today, or do you want to get healthy and dance forever?

new.

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It hurts my heart to watch the news more often than not, so I check up on what’s happening in the world with news sites and apps, and I typically keep my comments to myself but I was watching the Trayvon Martin closing statements today as I waited in the doctor’s office with my mumsi and I had some thoughts.

That’s new, I know!

Anyway, I am a fairly frequent traveller. Not frequent enough to have a boo-thang in the cities that I travel to, and pay for a subscription to the express line at the airport, but frequent enough to have all my liquids in a clear plastic bag, and have my laptop out, my shoes off, and everything out of my pockets without being told at the security check.

Unfortunately, despite being prepared, wearing no jewelry, not smuggling kinder eggs (AHEM.), and following protocol of 3oz liquids (cake frosting, by the way, is considered a liquid) I still am randomly selected for extra screening, bomb-swabbing, or having my meticulously packed bag unpacked at the clumsy hands of a TSA representative 8 out of 10 times that I fly.

And why? A twenty-something young woman poses a threat to national security?

What I’m saying is that like Trayvon Martin, it is because of the color of my skin that someone with very little actual power in the world has tried to have some kind of power over me. And the difference is that I walk away from being searched at the airport annoyed, but alive.

The same cannot be said for Trayvon Martin and for so many like him.

But I don’t think this is a new problem for us, as a society. We are afraid of what is different from us.

“Fear of the unknown. They are afraid of new ideas. They are loaded with prejudices, not based upon anything in reality, but based on… ‘if something is new, I reject it immediately because it’s frightening to me.’ What they do instead is just stay with the familiar. You know, to me, the most beautiful things in all the universe, are the most mysterious.”

I am keeping my thoughts and prayers with the family who lost their 17-year-old son, because I don’t know that I can tell you what ‘justice’ means, but I can tell you that Trayvon Martin doesn’t have the opportunity to go to college, have a family, fall in love, and that there are parents out there that had to bury their child.

Love, B

klean kanteen.

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The health benefits of drinking water have been entirely exhausted in every health magazine, blog, and pamphlet in the civilized world. (I say civilized world because everyone else knows water is good for you and doesn’t need a magazine to tell them so.) The health benefits of chlorine, however, have I feel, been less explored.

I jest. I don’t really care about the health benefits of chlorine. Nay, this post shan’t be about the health benefits of chlorine.

because it’s summer and I’m good…

AND I’M RELAXED

AND I’M EXCITED

AND I’M READY TO PAAAAAAARTYYYYYYYYY

If you don’t know what movie that’s from I highly recommend you re-evaluate life choices leading up to you not knowing what movie that’s from.

June is barreling on, and I’m so excited about everything that’s going on. I’ve been working, and dancing, and rehearsing, and exploring, and having the most fun with the others that are stuck in Tallacrappy for this stretch of Summer.

Seattle AdvEnture nUmero dOs is coming up soon, and until then, since I brought it up, the rest of this post will be a public service announcement about the benefits of drinking water:

1) Water keeps you looking young. (YES GURL.)
2) Water helps your body flush out toxins.
3) Water aids in digestion.
4) Water regulates your body temperature.
5) Water improves mental alertness.

Enough reasons to drink water?

BUT DON’T DRINK POOL WATER.

(swim in that.)

Happy Summertime
LOVE, B

sparkleberry

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Summer adventures have already begun, but most have been in and around Tall-ay so I haven’t written about them. That being said:

Tomorrow begins the first of many Great Summer Adventures

If you would like to check out my adventures, join me over at my travel blog

HERE.

Love, B