It’s important to me that the words I put out there (here) aren’t just a rant of messy disconnected thoughts and entitled millennial opinions about dance and life that somehow end up forming into a self-fulfilling prophecy called a blog. Where it ends up being less about the intention and more about the notice me, notice me, notice me narcissistic way that the new world thinks we should be in order to be seen. You know, by rushing through the in between, missing your point to create meaningless movement, meet imaginary timelines, and stay connected to people you’ve never felt connected with. Where “your” so-called artistry ends up being a watered down regurgitated version of yourself that starts to resemble everyone else. Conformity at it’s best. I don’t know about you, but I won’t let the world rush me. I don’t mind making it wait.
I’d rather move slow on my own, than rush through it all with the rest of them. Being terribly intentional and connected to what you’re doing is a thing! And for dancers it is the only thing, or it should be. I started writing because I wanted to share something honest, me in my messy bag of mistakes that leave some hurt, and how that hurt has and is helping me. But I completely forgot to share how I keep the “me” in all of the mess.
With that being said…I’ve been on system overload with the “lessons” of life this summer, which don’t me wrong, I’m so grateful for, but it’s left me clueless on how to make sense of any of it to share. I’m so disconnected, or maybe just too connected to too many things to hone in on one single thing. I actually wrote a decent 1,200 words on “trying too hard” which was really just a disguise for a “lack of trust” which ended up being a feeble attempt of me trying to too hard to write about a “lack of trust.” Jokes on me. I couldn’t handle my writing becoming so goddamn clinical, so I stopped. It seems there is this constant battle of what I want to create turning into what I should create, which ends up leaving me in this endless cycle of stripping away the “should be's” of it to find the “real me” in it. Isn’t that the work though? Finding the “you” in everything. Pretty sure they call that authenticity.
Staying true to myself is, well it’s fucking hard and surprisingly lonely. The human I’m unfolding into is looking less and less like the mold of what makes up a dancer these days, and more and more like an international dirty hippy. But I am a dancer. It’s a constant struggle to not get sucked into the “fitting ins” by the conditionings of what we choose to surround ourselves with. It doesn’t help that dancers are the freaking chameleons of the two-legged world. We live on both sides of the spectrum, conformists that are non-conformists. Meaning we are asked to fall into line, master the steps, conform, conform, and as soon as we do ...it’s all, now do what you feel, don’t blend, be you, be you! The flip of a switch, first we’re learning then unlearning. Caught in a constant paradox.
Soooo we are dang good at adapting, adapting to change, adapting to style, adapting to timing, adapting to surroundings, adapting to partners, adapting to the mistakes, adapting to stress, and adapting to just adapt. Quickest to adapt, first to get noticed. Pretty messed up, huh. It’s survival of the fittest even in dance. We know how to hide and we definitely know how to be seen. The problem with this is...when does that stop? Where is the “you” in the constant change of adaptation? Biggest talents can be the biggest troubles. Adapting for another human though, is essentially dumbing yourself down for their lack of acceptance of you.
So this superhero shape shifting ability can make it a challenge to not lose who you are, pretty much anywhere you go. And I won’t lie to you, just because I picked up the mentality of “fuck um” when it comes to what everyone else thinks, doesn’t mean I don’t feel the push and pulls of what is expected of me. But it’s my not-so ordinary choices that keep the “me” in all of it.
I choose my wild sometimes 80’s resembling hair and bare skinned face instead of the “come make-up ready” scenario that dancers so willingly to cling to. As if we were supposed to be “camera ready” even while we sweat. I dress for the dead of winter when I take class because keeping warm is more important to me than showing off my body or my ego. I take class for myself, and not for the attention of the teacher. I still invest ballzie sums of money in my training, and go to two-week bi-coastal dance intensives at the seasoned age of 30, where my old bones encounter 9-12hr. dance days, and train alongside dancers that used to be my students, instead of thinking I’m above it or I’m too old. Because I’m not. The alternatives, well they’re calculated, redundant, and down right boring and leave little growth with no findings. These choices left me in a frustration of tears, emotional buildups, breakdowns and ego tugs on the streets of Manhattan and Los Angeles bathrooms. Having multiple phone confession sessions with my mom, telling her how much I still wanted to dance, almost screaming over the phone as if it were life or death…but isn’t it. Even though I was dancing…it was as if everyone knew but me. Ha! Or how a strange connection, of what can only be called kindred spirits got me to Berlin. Though the context of our relationship had changed, I still went for me. It was the first trip I’d ever had on my own, and I needed that. He made me realize I’m more than ok and that I’m ready for things I thought I would never be ready for ever again. How I fell in love with Berlin and how Berlin made me fall in love with myself. And for that...I’m forever grateful for him.
The point of these not so ordinary choices are, I do what I need to do. I will do anything and everything that makes me feel like me, regardless of how different it makes me, regardless of where it takes me, regardless of if it isolates me, regardless of if it makes me less liked by the majority, or completely misunderstood by the safely secured norm. It’s threatening to me to not be or chase what I am, for the things that I’m not. I adapt when necessary, but when there is room for the “me” I take it. Every time.
Those are the things that I keep close to me, what I stand for. Being me has always been more important than being noticed. Because the “you” that doesn’t fit in, is the “you” that will be seen by the right eyes. I learned this in dance first; it took me awhile to pick it up in real life. Do what you feel, not what you see.
So I’m not behind, I'm not flaky; I’m just on my own time, even with this blog. I’m simply being me, doing my homework, my self-work, so that I stay true to who I am, and keep the me in my work...in my mess. Because that reads, that feels, that’s intentional, and that’s the real. That’s the mess I adapt to.
Written August 2017