I have a fear of real connection

I am afraid someone will love me. And when I say love me, I mean love me the way I love them. A mutual connection, a patient kind type of love that the Bible mentions briefly. Does that make me incapable of loving? No but it means that initially, I will be scared to give my full heart to someone because I have this steel plate guard that’s in front of my soul and it keeps out all the wonderful gifts and smiles that I’ve gotten from people over the years. Even the slightest bit of affection I get from a person will be ejected from my body like I’m playing hot potato. I AM AFRAID. 

I don’t know how long this has been going on and I especially don’t know why it’s still there. I’m trying to be better. I’m on Bumble now; it’s very lucrative and I’ve been on a couple of dates. One is here now (motion to audience) bahahaha I’m just kidding. Why would I bring him to my dance show for a first date? (starts to text) Here, come to my show and sit for 2 and half hours and then I won’t have enough energy at the end to actually hang out with you so we’ll just call it a night. It’s like a date still! I show you my most vulnerable self and you pay for it in the form of dinner or a show. In this case, it’s a show.

Anyways, so yeah I’m opening my heart. Breaking down each and every bit of that steel wall so I can find me a man. Or a woman I guess. It’s like vegetables ya know? How do you know you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it? My parents used to always say that when I wouldn’t want to eat my veggies at dinner time. Maybe they were just teaching me about different kinds of sexuality? Well done, mom and dad! Progressive. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about love, it’s that you have to tell the people you love that you love them. The truth will set you free.

A look back at September/October 2019…

“Knowledge is power but powerless if you got it and you do not acknowledge it.”

-Royce Da 5’9” on Eminem’s track “Not Alike”

I often come back to this line from Royce Da 5’9” because he was able to sneakily insert a very philosophical concept into his verse that is so abundant with insults. It shows his abilities as a rapper are backed up by reason and thought rather than just spitting verbal abuse for the whole song. I tried to implement this recognition of knowledge into my lifestyle over the past two months to help me remember my own worth. It seems that most times in my training, I singularly work to obtain knowledge but when it comes down to proving my intake of information, my throat closes up. I am bad at showing my work. Which is weird because in high school math, I was always the one to show each step…

Getting better at self-discipline

I realize I have not released a monthly reflection in awhile, but it is because I have been focusing a lot of my energy on my studies at Ryerson. I am proud of myself for showing up to class even on my bad days and in doing so, I have noticed that my self-discipline is much better than it was a year ago. Treating my training with a balance of seriousness and amusement has rewarded me with a greater love for movement these days. I love to be physically exhausted again. It is orgasmic in some ways to be so full-out. In the dance world we have a saying that dancing “full-out” is the only way to go, but I never realized until now why that is so important for the audience and my own physical health. I am lucky enough to be cast in two pieces for our upcoming show in November: a piece from Merce Cunningham and a piece choreographed by Alysa Pires. Each rehearsal process has been different but they balance each other out. Learning fast, precise and legendary modern phrases from Cunningham is perfectly the opposite of Alysa’s collaborative, emotionally-driven, contemporary piece. I make sure to switch my brain when I leave one rehearsal to go into the other and it is really enjoyable to have both. All in all, by spending time on myself, I have found a selfishness that doesn’t feel like I’m being a bitch to other people.

My generous grandfather

In the beginning of October, my grandfather sadly passed away. Our relationship had been flourishing in the past few years and I am grateful to have had the time I did with him. He had many skills simultaneously and I never comprehended how. He was a maestro, an astronomer, a grump when he needed to be and a saint when it mattered, a husband of 50+ years, a lover of theatre, and a generous human. My entire family came together to celebrate his life, and his generosity came up countless times as we remembered his legacy. He always supported me in my dancing, and understood the value of education. I would have never been able to visit Greece, North Carolina or New York without his financial help and I can’t come up with a better word for gratitude towards him. I was just starting to get back into my piano practice when he died and my new goal is to play as well as he did by the time I’m 80. I’ll have to really work on sight-reading because he had that skill down pat! Love you always, Grandpa.

Barely making it through

While my academic mind-set has been growing, my mental health is a bit f u z z y… Both in September and October, my anxiety levels continue to ride up and down based on the busy schedule I create for myself. I am noticing that the more opportunities and tasks I take on, I need to also allow time for rest, reflection and removal. I tend to say yes too much and that causes my productivity to decrease in quality. I will get the job done but it won’t be my best work. Then, I get upset and label myself as a failure. I still believe it is crucial to never let any opportunity pass you by, but without a proper mind-set my achievements happen because I barely made it through. I don’t want to create art or make pasta or ride an elevator or laugh at a friend’s joke if it means that I am half-committed. Especially in my creative practice as an artist, my worst work occurs when I am rushing to get it done. To be present and uni-tasking is a constant battle for me as someone who likes to multi-task my way through life. I want to be alive in the world. Anxiety ceases that from happening.

Reading

Getting back to my love for reading physical texts has been extremely successful to my overall well-being. I can actually expand my attention-span and I can actually take in words on a page again. Yes, I am reading 5 books right now and that is completely counter-productive to the previous paragraph, but I am happy to have literature as my main pass-time.

To finish

To finish off, I want to congratulate myself for staying strong these past two months. I am in a much better place than I used to be but I know that I still have work to do. I want to open my heart to others because I feel more like myself these days. Let’s see how that goes in November.

Instead of a photo to capture these two months, I leave you with a poem my grandfather had on his fridge:

Salutation to the Dawn

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendour of beauty
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow only a vision
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day!
Such is the salutation to the dawn.

-Kalidasa, Indian Poet

Have swear words become a part of the vernacular?

I find it very chilling when a dance student of mine has complete knowledge of adult swear words. Many times, I will explain to a kid that these particular words do not belong in our dance class. And it baffles me that I even have to address this problem when parents should be in charge of this. Words and phrases that are generally censored in our public media have somehow made their way into the brain of an 11-year old. When I was about that age, it was absolutely FORBIDDEN in my family to swear. My parents didn’t even accept “Shut up” as an exclamation. Looking back, I feel as though it helped me understand the meaning behind the word/phrase so that if I really did need to use it, it would be for an appropriate reason. But that wasn’t even until I was in my teens.

It begs the question that maybe swear words have lost their intensity? Maybe, these words and phrases have no meaning anymore and are similar to the way we use the word “the”. If that is the case, we should probably do more to make sure children are aware of the definitions of these curse words so that they can use them properly. Right? I mean, you wouldn’t want a kid to be calling another one a… nevermind.

Pop songs are generally targeted to a specific audience with the interests of the listener in mind. When Eminem raps about being a young father, he wants to reach out to the 20-somethings that deal with similar experiences. But, he uses swear words A LOT. Currently, I am very interested in this kind of expression because when I am with my friends, we use swear words to liberate ourselves. It’s f**king awesome. However, I didn’t particularly listen to Eminem until I became the age of his target audience and I think that was because my parents refrained from playing those songs. I am not saying every household should be doing this, but I recognize that young kids are not able to relate to mature songs. Their concept of sex and alcohol is very different, having less experience with it. So, if they are learning from the music they listen to, it will change the way they speak. I find myself having to always find a “clean” version of Top 40 Songs to play in my dance classes and that saddens me. Where did the innocence go? Are my students being influenced by music that is making them age too quickly?

It is important to realize that the words children hear can be interpreted however they choose. Ultimately, it would be impossible to censor everything but we should do our part as role models and think about how we use our words.

Things 2019 has taught me so far

I used to think that if I was in my best shape/weight, other people would dislike me. Almost as if my physical accomplishments were taking away from theirs.

I used to think that if I wanted people to feel better about themselves, I should never talk about me and only ask about them. Almost as if my personal thoughts/stories/opinions were pointless to their growth.

I used to think that food was mainly for pleasure. Mouth pleasure. Almost as if I only listened to my taste buds and not my stomach and full body.

I used to think that being alone was the best thing in the world. Almost as if independence is the most productive and fruitful way to live.

I used to think that eye contact was creepy when having a conversation. Almost as if I should never deserve someone’s full attention. 

I used to think sleep was the worst part of my daily routine. Almost as if I didn’t require a recharging of my brain and body and I could run on empty like a superhero forever.

I don’t believe these things anymore. I found a way out of those dark and idiotic thoughts.

20:36 Sept 4, 2019

I think wine has a huge effect on how loving I can be.

I feel so much love and joy and generosity towards the men in my life right now. They are in my bedroom at this very moment, even thought I’m just dancing alone. I see their jawlines, their tall body structure. And I want to dance for them and be at their side. I want to hear what they have to say after I tell them I love them. I know I am in love with too many men but can you blame me? They are incredible creatures.

Girls is flashing through my head. Scenes of intense love, mistakes, beautiful heart breaks. I want to be 30 and in my thirties. That’s the same thing but who cares. I want to have a stable job so I can focus on my love life. Give it some time cause I’ve been wasting so much since I was a teen. God I wish I had listened to the wonderful sounds of love in high school. I would have been so much more in tune with my desires. I feel out of touch now.

But I still have time to make my desires come to reality. And I can see other people to help with that. High school boys were just a trial run. This is the real shit. Let’s go.

A look back at August 2019…

“Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on.”

This Beatles quote has been getting me through this month. Even made a little cover of it here. Having more time for myself, I was frequently in my head and over-analyzing decisions. I planned to spend time working out and feeling physically settled, however, on August 31, I hated the results. BUT, life goes on and I have chosen to stay along with it. 

Friends! I love my friends!

A wonderful thing about summer is the opportunity for outside hangouts. And my friends were too good to me this summer. I felt so loved and attempted to give as much love back. It really is important, as an adult, to feed your friendships the healthiest energy you can. They are the life supports when times are tough. They know who they are.

Teaching at new spaces

I was invited into a bevy of different studio space this month, either as an individual teacher or on faculty with Fresh Dance Intensive. Each space had its specific architecture, colours, and ambiance. My goal was to adapt into the new surroundings so that I could present myself in the best way. It was crucial that I stayed present and focused on the students in front of me. I definitely was not perfect and each day was a challenge but I am glad I can be more present nowadays. Teaching will always remind to be aware of others and that is something I forget most days.

My demon, Depression.

Although there was sunshine and laughter, this month brought on a real presence of my demon, Depression. I feel very connected to the character of BoJack Horseman, not because I am a middle-aged has-been celebrity, but because I search for love in the wrong places. I expect others to give me anything I want and then put myself down about my greediness. I want to be neutralized in my emotions without becoming a phony robot. Can’t I have a perfect life?!?! Time to let go of that. Time to work hard with kindness and gratitude.

Body Image

As I mentioned above, my body was a main focus for me this month and even though I was proud to set that goal, I am still not satisfied with how I look. I seem to spend a lot of time looking at Instagram for models and role-models that I want to look like, and I realized that maybe I really DO care about how I look. I don’t want to become too shallow though. It can be a little bit selfish to only care about your appearance but maybe I am just THAT selfish?? I hope I can find a way to enjoy my body image without losing touch of reality. Been hoping since I was 13, but what’s one more year? Hahahahahahahahahhahaahahahha.,,..