half-way

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Here is a brief list of everything that has happened since I last posted:

I assisted an MFA concert at school
I visited Atlanta and went to the Botanical Gardens for the first time
I went to Tampa for the American College Dance Festival
I received my Intermediate Labanotation Exam (It’s due Thursday — Wish me luck!)
I made a mix of reception music for my sisterbear’s wedding
I received a research scholarship that is going to let me restage a piece from Labanotation next semester
I ate the best freaking piece of cheesecake I’ve ever had in my life
I watched You’ve Got Mail seven times.
I choreographed a new piece in four rehearsals

More things have happened, but I figured I’d hit the highlights. In 32 days I will be half-way through my Master’s programme and that is pretty much the scariest thought in my brain right now. I don’t feel like the master of anything!

Since I have nothing else to talk about I’ll share the last month of my life in pictures.

So proud of these ladies for an amazing MFA concert

So proud of these ladies for an amazing MFA concert

Putting my swag on to meet this awesome lady

Putting my swag on to meet this awesome lady

Love is the umbrella room at the Botanical Gardens

Love is the umbrella room at the Botanical Gardens

 

Noles at ACDFA!

Noles at ACDFA!

 

Love, b

 

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Long time

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It’s been almost three weeks since I last posted and I literally feel like three years have happened in that time. I don’t know what I’m here to write but I wanted to write something because it’s been so long.

INsanity, isn't it?!

INsanity, isn’t it?!

I guess what’s on my mind on the eve of my birthday is how much stress is actually involved in my celebrating my birthday. That sounds nuts. I sound like a completely irrational wackadoodle. I know. But let me explain.

Giving is really easy for me. I mean, really easy. I’ll be bored and have glitter glue and spend a whole day crafting things for people for no reason. I’ll see a book in the store that someone I know might like and buy it. I don’t know why, but I like to give.

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Unfortunately, on my own birthday, this sort of made up holiday, I must be on the receiving end. (Speaking of made up holidays, I very distinctly remember my favourite Nicore, on my birthday last year, saying something to the effect of, “We get gifts for being born. We live in a very self-indulgent culture, don’t we?”) Being on the receiving end is very difficult for me. I get worried about whether my reaction to things is underwhelming or overwhelming or if I don’t react the right way I’m going to upset people.

Ash said to me today, “You’re intellectualizing getting gifts, ya weirdo. Stop it.” And she’s completely right. I know that I need to let it go, and stop feeling pressured to respond a certain way, but it’s hard. So here, on the eve of this birthday, I’m still stressed enough to make 3 batches of s’mores.

(this is my life. these are my choices.)

Luckily, this year I have a very special partner-in-crime, J-dizzle. Jeff and I share a birthday, and though his stress/fear is related solely to age and not at all to intellectualizing gift-giving, at least I have a partner with whom to share attentions.

 

Ash also gave me the great suggestion to react the way that Buddy the Elf reacts to Santa coming to the North Pole for every single time that someone wishes me a happy birthday or gives me anything.

Look at 0:30 for the reference.

And on that note, I’m going to watch Elf before I go to bed.

LOVE, B

 

Though if a birthday means Emily singing Happy Birthday Mister President to me, I'll take it <3

Though if a birthday means Emily singing Happy Birthday Mister President to me, I’ll take it ❤

glamorized, stigmatized

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On Friday, December 14th the citizens of Newtown, Connecticut faced a tragedy and many have been left to face grief that I would never wish upon another person. Since Friday, I have had a lot of thoughts about grief, mortality, guns and weapons, and the stigma in this country about obtaining the care needed for mental illness.

Before that, let me just say that my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy.

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This is absolutely a tragedy

Where can I begin? I have a therapist. Therapy doesn’t control my life, I don’t suffer from mental illness, and nothing fantastically traumatic has happened to me. I don’t begin every sentence I speak with “but my therapist said…,” and I am lucky enough to be in at a place in my life where I have access to these mental health services. Whenever I say this to people they get wide-eyed and look closely at me, “But what’s wrong?!” they ask, astonished.

Nothing is wrong. Nothing is wrong with me, or with anyone who seeks medical care for their mental illness. A person with cancer, or diabetes, or lupus wouldn’t be looked at that way for going to their doctor. So then, why, I must ask, do we stigmatize mental illness to the point that people that need medical attention are criminalized?

I am in no way pardoning what happened last Friday. I’m not. It was a terrible, monumental tragedy, and I hope that we can begin to move toward preventing this from happening.

Prevention comes from two things: 1) Moving away from the notion that mental healthcare is a privilage in this country and 2) regulating guns. I don’t know a lot about gun control because I don’t have a gun, I don’t want a gun, and for the love of all things good in this world can someone explain to me why any civilian in America needs a weapon that can fire 100 rounds of ammo at rapid speed?

I don’t know guns, but I do know the value in mental healthcare. And we must begin to stop glamorizing killing and violence and weapons and guns, and we must stop stigmatizing mental illness. We must. Or events like Newtown will continue to happen, and we will continue to be grief stricken by the loss of human life.

All of this hurts my heart, but the thing that causes me the greatest grief is seeing this posted on the internet.

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Who on earth would create something like this? Why? First of all, “pretends to cry”? Why would a father of two pretend to cry over the loss of children who never had the chance to grow up, get married, fall in love, buy a car, have a family, see the world, experience life? It was apparent to me that whoever made this isn’t a parent, because no parent could lash out in anger when their children were safe after last Friday?

Yes, there are wars happening in the world, there are terrible things happening in other places in the world. Yes, America has some influence on that. But to discredit that the president, who is, after all, a father, a husband, and a human being before he is the president, is truly moved and upset by the events in Newtown is just disappointing.

We, as a country, need to come together and grieve the loss of the human life, and open the discussion about gun control and mental illness, and we need to move toward changing things at home.

Pointing fingers, blaming, and being angry about international affairs isn’t a way to cope with this tragedy.

I sincerely hope that this begins a discussion about de-stigmatizing mental illness and mental healthcare and leads people to question the gun laws that are currently in place. If we don’t, this will continue to happen, and children and adults alike will continue to be killed in malicious acts of violence.

Tonight I will be lighting 27 candles for the lives of the children and adults who were lost to this tragedy

Tonight I will be lighting 27 candles for the lives of the children and adults who were lost to this tragedy

Hug your loved ones, and for those of you who are suffering from mental illness or know someone that is: please, please know that help is out there. Violence is not the answer.

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

flash.

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As a scholar of dance, I often must recognize the changing way that dance is being presented to our society. In my American Dance History 3 class (1950-tomorrow) we have studied a variety of venues and styles of dance and how they shape the perception of dance to Americans.  Not only do we look at concert dance (Cunningham, Balanchine, King, Taylor, etc) but we’ve also looked at dance in social settings such as Woodstock, Disco, and The Twist. This is the class in which I researched body language, movement analysis, and the recent presidential election — you see, we’re learning how to see movement everywhere.

For our final, I’m currently researching Flash Mobs (which MLE knows I love so so much). It wasn’t until today that I realized that not everyone feels as strongly as I do about flash mobs.

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I was having lunch in my office today with some of the other grads and I mentioned that I had spent an hour last night laying in bed, watching flash mobs, and every time got just a little bit teary eyed at them. J and V seemed very taken aback by my statement. “Why were you crying?” they asked me.

Why was I crying? Some of it has to do with the fact that my solution to not getting any sleep because of finals is crying, but it’s not just that.

It’s not just that at all.

Flash mobs are an amazing display of a group of people who are very different, lead different lifestyles, and sometimes don’t even know each other coming together briefly for a common, shared, positive purpose. They’re coming together through movement. How beautiful is that?

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It doesn’t matter who you are, what your gender, sex, orientation, race, ethnicity, body type is, or what you’ve done in your life. All of these people come together for one thing — a type of celebration. The Fox show Mobbed features flash mobs celebrating relatives who were once estranged reuniting, young and old couples in love, people getting jobs, and all kinds of celebratory news.

How could that not make you just a little bit teary?

Behind every flash mob there is a sincere kindness and generosity to share in joy with other people. It’s about human connections and how we form them through dance and movement, which is this thing that is simple and complicated. It’s the first thing we ever learn to do: before we know words, we know movement. We learn about the world around us through movement.

Maybe I’m a total sap, but flash mobs will always, always make me the slightest bit weepy — they’re beautiful. It’s easy to feel like the world is filled with hate, and war, and sadness, but when you look closely, as one of my favourite movies reminds us, love actually is all around.

love, B

where it hurts

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This morning as I opened the web browser at work I was assaulted by an article similar to this one about the conflict in Gaza. The headline reads: Death toll rises as Israeli military assaults Gaza Strip.

This is in no way a “news” or “political” blog, and to be perfectly honest, I can barely wrap my head around this conflict.

There are a few things I can wrap my head around, though.

1) I can wrap my head around the fact that Tweets like this are heartbreaking, and a family should never have to feel this way

2) I can wrap my head around the fact that it is fucked up that CNN had to post this article about children killed in this assault. Parents having to see their own children die. Nothing, nothing is worth that.

My heart goes out to the children and families in Gaza right now. To the reporters putting themselves in danger after Israel announced that they are cutting all telecommunication to and from Gaza. To people all over the world who have family that are caught in this mess.

Massacres happen this way. Genocide happens this way.

My basic understanding is that this conflict (as so many others) revolves around religion. I believe I will continue to struggle with reconciling this for the rest of my days on Earth, but how, how can you massacre and bomb civilians in the name of your deity? How can you take the lives of others in the name of organized religion? How does that follow any of the teachings of the religion that you practice?

I don’t know what reasons the people that are dropping bombs can produce, but I don’t know that I’d even be able to accept or empathize with them. Killing innocent people is never the answer.

My heart is heavy tonight looking over news stories and trying to figure out what it all means. I am sad that people, for whom this conflict means nothing, are caught in the cross-fire. I’m weary of the world in which we live. I am scared for the reporters and correspondants who are risking their lives because Israel cut off communication. I’m thankful that I, and my loved ones, are safe at this time, and I wish that for those in Gaza. I’m fearful that the death toll (which right now is 100 according to WP) will continue to rise. Finally, I am praying for a solution to come into affect as soon as possible.

Blessed Union of Souls told us in the nineties, but maybe we need a reminder: Love is the answer.

Egyptian protest in Cairo.

To me, this is a problem:

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, on Sunday threatened to expand the assault on Hamas-run Gaza as the Jewish state pressed ahead with a fifth day of strikes, killing six people including four children as truce efforts intensified. (here.)

This cannot continue. Let us continue to hope and pray for this conflict to end.

Love, B

I’m sorry that I never met you, and I’m sorry that we never touched.

When you’re broken, you forget there’s so much more. 

coco

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I’ve always been fascinated by Coco Chanel. My earliest memory of encountering the idea or brand “Chanel” was my through my mom, who, for a brief time, wore Chanel No. 5. Though I have clothes that I love to wear that are nothing like couture, I still have always loved flipping through the pages of fashion magazines, figuring out what people in high fashion are wearing, and essentially, learning how to dress myself over the years.

(I seem to be under the impression, however, that my career trajectory will lead me to wearing leotards/work out clothes all the time sooo…yeah.)

Tonight was Happy Dancer Slapsgiving. No one got slapped, but slapsgiving is so much fun to say! Thankful, thankful, thankful for all these wonderful people! After most of the other grads had sauntered off home, I was still full of energy and absolut. One of my peers stayed over to watch a movie after dinner and we ended up watching Coco Before Chanel. 

I love this film, which is probably why I own it. But I haven’t seen it in a long time, and whenever I watch a movie that I love with fresh eyes I fall in love all over again. Magic happens before my eyes. This movie was no different. (duh)

There is an incredible appeal to Coco Chanel — fashion designer, limit-pusher, entrepreneur, and over all bad ass woman from the late 19th century to the 1970s. For the love of Auden, she remained unmarried for the duration of her life!

She reminds us that a woman should be classy and fabulous, that we cannot beat at a wall expecting it to turn into a door, that being different can make you irreplaceable, and that fashion plays an important role in the sociopolitical issues of our time.

If you haven’t seen the film, I highly encourage it. And if not that, when you find yourself in times of trouble and insecurity about yourself, think of what Coco said:

I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.

Incredible woman. Right there. If you’re interested in seeing more of her work, the Met has an awesome online archive here.

Love, B