Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Downs and Ups: Half That We Allow Seen

Downs and ups, and a continuous spiral of combinations thereof. It's difficult to predict how they will lay, but they WILL lay.

Today began down. My morning work overwhelmed me, which naturally, I allowed to spiral into a much larger life problem (good job, me). I called my mom, feeling somewhat distraught about my ability to figure out the best balance for my work and my life. The talk definitely leveled my head and cheered me up, but my anxiety felt like what was going to set the tone for the day.

Fortunately, life intervened on my bad attitude in the form of teaching swing dance at a retirement home. It was a fifty minute class this afternoon that I had accepted last minute last week, and had sort of  forgotten about. Turns out it was the thing that kicked my ass back into feeling grateful. I had a truly lovely and inspiring time with fifteen or so residents and 4 care providers that joined me, talking about the history, the feeling, the music and the movement of swing. I was drawn into personalities, stories and energies. I left feeling a refreshed sense of purpose in my ability to see effectiveness in my career. Hell, if I made that much of an impact in just 45 minutes, surely there will be a way for me to strike a work-life balance (after grad school, at least).

Literally right before I walked in to teach the class, I found out that Rhythmically Speaking has received an MRAC Arts Activities Grant of $10,000 for the 2014 show. This very exciting news was easily forgotten during my wonderful experience at the home. It took me about 20 minutes after leaving to remember that I had even received the news!

Back in the down category, I have been feeling somewhat uninspired and incapable of generating great new creative work as of late. As the day came to close, I finished some choreographic work that felt relatively successful, and I decided to reward myself by looking back on some of my recent work about which I felt confident. I also took a first viewing of my duet from this year's Rhythmically Speaking, and I really appreciated what I saw! This viewing practice, in conjunction with my teaching this afternoon, really allowed me to cue in to the good things of recent; choreography I am proud of, being cast on Monday into a piece for Donna Mejia that will travel to American College Dance Festival, procuring AMAZING first and second readers for my MFA project (Donna and Gesel Mason, respectively), the grant . . . I have many things to be grateful for right now, not even including the incredible people who enliven my personal life.

All this said; there is a reason I wrote this into a blog rather than a short brag-post on Facebook; I want to be more careful about how I end up distorting the reality that I present online. A very interesting HuffPost article entitled "Why Gen Y Yuppies Are So Unhappy" has been circulating through my mind for the last several days, due to many things, but one point in specific; us Gen Y'ers tend to distort the reality we present in online social media. Purposeful? Maybe. Unconscious? Maybe. Both? Definitely. I do not write posts for the soul purpose of either making people feel really jealous of me (ie 'YAY! MORE HAPPY NEWS') versus making people feel really sad for me (ie 'BOO. MORE DISAPPOINTING NEWS'), but it feels pretty natural to want to broadcast to the world the highs and the lows of your current life.

Consider you common catch-up conversation. Due to time, we end up offering the recent highs and lows. It's no different on social media. It just doesn't also come with facial expressions and body language, or the more frequent interactions we have with closer friends who get a more accurate sense of what day to day really feels like for you (well, those close friends actually get it on the internet as well). So indeed, it's not much different online; it's just archived and available for constant search.

Back to the point. I have had a shit-ton of awesome things happen to me this week, and somehow, I wanted to tell the people I interact with on the internet about these things. That said, the article referenced about made me decide that maybe this time, I'd put an intermediary step between those announcements and Facebook, just as an experiment in trying to lessen my contribution to this distorted reality.

Friends, if you have gotten all the way to this point in this post; thank you for reading. It's been exciting to share my news and corresponding ideas with you. While I am very interested in limiting my contribution to distorted internet reality, that does not mean I intend to start posting about how many dishes I washed tonight, what I ate for lunch, or what color socks I picked out to wear today. Quite the contrary. I will continue to post about highs and lows. I think I will just begin doing it with a better awareness of its affects, which will likely impact how I deliver such information. Perhaps these happy-braggy posts will show up more here, along with the years of backlog of me trying to sort out my demons as I progress toward a deeper understanding of this life.


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