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?

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your sweatshirt says it all

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Two assignments stand between me and the end of my first year of grad school. How scary is that? I’m not 50% of a master of anything!

These last two weeks have been a whirlwind.

An insane, amazing, heartwarming, nerve-wracking mess in the best way possible.

One of my best friends, and roomie for lyfe got ENGAGED! I got to celebrate my soulie’s TWENTY FIRST birthday with her! I’m taking chances I thought I couldn’t take! I’ve spent every night for two weeks surrounded by old friends, new friends, more than friends, best friends, puppy friends, and everything in between. I’ve celebrated birthdays, engagements, dancing, music, and just the enjoyment of the company of the people I adore in my life.

The end of the school year is always hard for me. Or it always has been because the time in my life has been dictated by the passage of time in a school year.

It’s hard because we all have to move forward, and I’m going to miss those who are graduating this year very much as they move on to bigger and better things. I’m watching my sisters grow up and leave the Agnes nest for new adventures. I’m seeing these dancers and choreographers that I’ve gotten so close to move on to dance and research and cultivate themselves as artists away from the only place I’ve known them. I’m seeing one of my best friends having just gotten engaged to the love of her life. I’m giving myself to things that I actually want and even better I’m actually articulating what it is I want.

This post is just a hodge podge of my excitement, and considering the fact that this is my break from brain-stuff and finals, forgive me.

I’m constantly happy and nervous and overwhelmed by everything happening in my life that I want to step back and just look at it but I can’t.

I’m too busy participating.

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LOVE, B

Busy buzzy bizzing bees

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I don’t know what that title means, but what I’m getting at is my love of being occupied. This semester is totally kicking me in the pants, but in the best way possible. I am dancing, I’m reading about dance, I’m writing about dance, I’m sleeping, eating, breathing, metabolising dance. You know why?

BECAUSE IT’S MY TRUE LOVE

true story.

true story.

Glad we got that straightened out. What I mean is that I have between 12 and 14 hour days 6 days a week, and I spend almost no time in my apartment (awake), and I’m the tiredest of tired lions and yet I don’t feel worn out. I don’t feel exhausted. I don’t feel bad.

I feel amazing.

I remember once in modern in undergrad we had to go around and say all the reasons we danced, and when everyone had gone around I turned to whoever was sitting next to me and said “Huh, I guess we’re all junkies…of adrenaline.” and I think it’s true.

Dancers/performers/artists, we thrive off of this sense of accomplishing something, and I really do think that because the reward is so great (that sense of accomplishment) it doesn’t feel like work.

Maybe that’s how I know that I’m doing what I love.

Love, B

a year in review

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The semester is over, and as such I feel like I’m just a hop, skip, and a jump from 2013. I’m so excited to be spending my new year with some of my favourite people — vacation can’t come soon enough!

I’ve had a hell of a year. I realized this when I mentioned it to someone a couple of days ago: I have been waiting for the year 2012 since about elementary school. My idealistic 9-year old self mathematically figured out that I’d be done with college in 2012 and that that would be the greatest accomplishment of my life (no, my 9-year old self didn’t even have an inkling of the notion of grad school).

So I decided, why not take a look at the last year (mostly in pictures) and relish in what an amazing roller coaster of a year this has been?

Join me?

The year got off to a great start. In January I got back to school, auditioned for grad school, danced in a flash mob, baked like crazy, and had some rough times that the best friends I’ve ever known got me through. The year continued on this fantastic path with February and my birthday being perfect (dancing, Twyla, sangria). This month I rode in my first ambulance, which was terrifying and traumatic, but I can look back on the awkward medic who showed me and Emily his mouth tattoo fondly. Also, doing downward dog in the ER.

My foxy lady sisters received their rings in February. It doesn’t matter how many other red classes or blue classes there are, you guys will always be first in my heart

JanFeb

March rolled around and spring break was an adventure in Atlanta, with making pizza, exploring the city, and doing photo shoots in the park. The last weekend of March, Studio Dance Theatre travelled to the illustrious city of Albany, Georgia for some good ole dancing and horse metaphors. (Sugar cubes, anyone?)

In April I celebrated Bertha’s birthday with some furious scrap booking and I performed in my last ever concert at my undergrad. It was bittersweet. I was so privileged and blessed to have had four years of performing with such dedicated and artistically vital people. This month FLEW by.

MarchApril

May was probably one of the hardest months for me. Not only did I get myself into ridiculous situations that I should have had better sense than to have done, but I graduated from the place I’d known as home for four years.

Graduation always seemed like this elusive far-off dream until it actually happened. I couldn’t have been more joyed than to spend this day with my family, friends, and Agnes Community. The morning of graduation someone told me they’d light some fireworks in my honor, I couldn’t have been happier.

May

The whole summer was a whirlwind of travelling and exploring the world and figuring out who I am! I wrote about this last month I think so I don’t really need to indulge you anymore on that. I made some mistakes, I did some awesome things, I grew up. (Even though there’s still a lot of that to be done…) If you missed it, check it out in my thanksgiving post!

JuneJuly

The final leg of my summer was August — the month to challenge all months. I was in four different time zones, and six different airports over the course of the month. My sisterbear got engaged, I visited Seattle, I bought a car, and I started graduate school. Seriously, I don’t remember being still for more than a few hours over the course of this whole month, and I absolutely loved it.

Lucky for me, September was a month of recuperating and readjusting to the workload of grad school. I spent most of my free time in the library.

AugustSeptember

October and November blend together in my brain. I was in Atlanta, I was in Orlando, I was at school, and I was at J’s apartment.

I got to see both of my sisterbears this month and  Sandy ruined the family reunion that was meant to happen. I voted for the second time in November and had severe anxiety the entire week before the election, and I was moved and proud of all of the people that got out there and rocked the vote. It was a beautiful display of nationalism for the democracy in which we live.

In Atlanta I was graced with beautiful dancing, in Orlando I was checking out wedding venues for my sisterbear! In any other time I had free I was writing papers and doing all the research in the world. (and hanging out with my BFF Evie)

UseNovemberOctober

And now we’re here. December. We’re twelve days in and every day is a new adventure. I’m growing to love the bhum-thai that I am becoming, and I am learning more and more about dance, about the world, about politics, and about the connectedness of human beings.

This blog is a means to connect to human beings. Of course it doesn’t make up for getting out there and talking to people (which, let’s be real, if I get started, I never stop) but it’s a means to share and communicate with those around us (geographically, or on the internet).

DECEMBER

Thank you, all: the ones who are here, the ones who have gone, the ones I’ve just met, and the ones that have stuck by my side through everything.

You all have made this year beautiful, and amazing, and sometimes heartbreaking, and most of the time absolutely joyous.

I’m looking forward to the next year of adventuring and seeing the world!

Love, B

thankful

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This isn’t unusual for me, but because I do it every year, I want to do it this year as well. I have quite a lot of gratitude regularly, but I like to take this time to share a list of things that I’m thankful for right now, in honor of America’s Thursday holiday, Thanksgiving.

I hate to be prosaic but the top of my list is always being thankful for the people in my life: my family, the people who put up with my eccentricity; my best friends in the entire world, who pick up the phone in the middle of the night when I’m drunk and being obnoxious and I know full well they’re doing the same thing; the animals in my life that make me smile, like Shanti, Elle, Cinder, Dude, Khya, Kona, Xena, and Hercules.

I am thankful for last summer and this semester. I’ve been told that transitioning gets harder as you get older. High school to college seemed easy: I got homesick as everyone does, but I never felt incapacitated with uncertainty and fear of being forgotten or left behind. By the end of my undergrad I was feeling confused, and lacking clarity on who I really was and what it is I wanted and stood for. I felt like the fun. song “Some Nights” almost every day. The lyrics plead:

What do I stand for? Oh what do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore…

…Well some nights, I wish that this all would end
‘Cause I could use some friends for a change
And some nights, I’m scared you’ll forget me again
Some nights, I always win

I’m thankful for this because last summer, which was so full of traveling and love and coffee, as well as this semester, which has been full of new connections, papers, and standing on my own two feet, has allowed me to figure that stuff out.

I’m less afraid of a lot of things, including being forgotten and not accomplishing everything. I have a better sense of who I am and what it is I stand for than I’ve ever had before. I’m thankful for clarity.

an extremely brief overview of summer12

I’m thankful for the weekend before last when I got to go up to the ATL and see Danceworks. I was incredibly overcome by joy and pride and love when I saw how much my friends and peers had grown artistically, technically, and emotionally in their dancing.

Steph, Nicole, Chandler, Bertha, Christiane, holy crap, you guys.

This reminded me of why I’m going to be a professor of dance one day — seeing these young women grow and mature as movers and artists is incredibly satisfying, and left me swelling with pride. I love you all so much.

photo cred. izzie

I’m thankful for my sisterbears, and especially helping one of my sisterbears plan her wedding! I’d never ever leave either of my sisterbears alone with the craziness of our parents trying to plan weddings, but I’m so excited to be a part of this joyous occasion. I miss both my sisters and I can’t wait to see them again, and have our whole family together in one place.

I’m thankful for dog parks, and late nights; I’m thankful for bethel, and dancing, and living the life. I’m thankful having both the opportunity and the means to go to school and study everything. I’m thankful that I have an able-body that allows me to dance, and exercise, and enjoy the tastes, smells, textures, sounds, sights of everything around me. I’m thankful for missed connections. I’m thankful that an agreement and cease-fire are being put into effect in Gaza.

I hope you all are able to take a few moments to remember what you’re thankful for, and have the opportunity to spend time this week with those you love, cherish, admire, and hold dear to you.

love, B

PS. THIS MEANS CHRISTMAS MUSIC TIME, EMIRY!!!!

resolve.

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Every year I try to come up with extremely meaningful resolutions that I get really Gung-Ho about for a few weeks and then forget about. Instead, this year I want to come up with the things that I want to shift my lifestyle toward. I probably won’t completely achieve these by the end of 2012, but I think they’re worth actively moving toward. No more “I’m going to lose weight!”, none of that “I’m tots gonna wake up at 6am each morning to go for a run!”, or “I’m going to ONLY DRINK FRESH JUICE EVERY DAY” kind of thing, it never works for me. I want to try setting myself up for success this year, and that means recognizing that even long-term goals take longer than a year, and the best that we can hope for is active growth towards the things we want in our lives.

1. I want to learn how to love better. I found this article recently called “10 ways to love others” and I want to start implementing this in my life more naturally. More and more I find that it’s important to actively love and care for those people around me because it’s not disastrous or anything, but most people can be pretty negative, which, I think, is a result of all of the negativity in the world. The news and media only hype up negative things, our friends use things like twitter and facebook to complain on their statues. I’m only one person, but I want to move toward loving more.

2. I want to actively engage in the things that I believe in. I find myself engaged by things by Nutrition and health in younger generations, and the queer-rights movements. These are the things that I want to more actively be aware of changes of. I’m not saying the other things don’t matter — they do, but these are the things about which I am passionate.

3. Taking care of myself. I know this seems a bit silly, and I do take care of myself. I eat right, I exercise, I bathe myself. I want to, as Jonathan Safran Foer says, think myself into happiness. What I mean is, also taking better care of my mental health as well. I tend to be a workaholic and throw myself into projects and assignments, or worse, bake, when something is wrong or I’m not feeling one hundred percent mentally or emotionally, so I want to work toward doing things that will better me, instead of just push it away. They’re small things but if someone has said something that offended or hurt my feelings I want to, instead of ignoring how I feel and making 8 dozen cupcake, go for a walk, meditate, do some yoga, have a drink with someone that makes me laugh, even put on some fun make up. I know it seems silly, but I think to do any of these things I have to begin with me. Elie Wiesel says,

But where was I to start? The world is so vast, I shall start with the country I knew best, my own. But my country is so very large. I had better start with my town. But my town, too, is large. I had best start with my street. No, my home. No, my family. Never mind, I shall start with myself.

 

4. I’m writing this in a completely positive manner, but I want to work toward lowering my expectations of other people. I hold myself to a really high standard, and I’m not perfect, but I want to be, and I really need to work toward understanding that other people don’t work toward the same standard that I do. I want to learn to recognize the work and effort that each person I encounter is putting into getting out of bed each morning, experiencing life, and being a good human being. I found this article on Thought Catalog called “Things A Person Is Not,” and I want to keep adding to the list of what other people are not. They, just like me, are not perfect. People get lost when they’re coming to meet you somewhere, they spill pancake batter, they complain to you and sometimes insult you just because they’re angry at something else and are taking it out on you. I want to have the ability to understand this with more grace.

 

Ultimately, I think these pursuits will help me SUIT UP and become more awesome, because, as NPH says,

giving thanks.

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Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.

Today is the one day of the year that all the bitches and hoes out there are supposed to verbalize the things for which they are thankful. When I say “bitches and hoes”, what I mean is all of the people in the Uni-verse that I love and care for deeply.

I’m thankful for so many things. I try to express my gratitude regularly, but this morning I decided to write down a list of specific things that I’m thankful for.

I am thankful for…
— My friends, family, and everyone I’m lucky enough to interact with on a day-to-day basis, as always.
— The looks on marta when bertha and I are thinking the exact same thing.
— Singing in the Celine Dion voice with Emily
— Spaghetti squash, and all other fall gourds
— Having the greatest mentor on the planet!

— I am thankful for bethel.
— Trash bags full of ice while laying on my living room floor listening to Temper Trap
— All the beautiful dance that exists in the universe
— The universe
— All the opportunities that will come for me in the future, because even when it’s not exactly what I think I want, it’s always exactly right.

 

I love you all, today and always,

Love, B