A Heart to Heart

13 May

I’m ashamed to admit it’s been quite a while since my last entry, and that for the past couple of months the writing has been sparse.  I don’t like sob stories—but even I have to admit defeat and say that I had my reasons.  I do like to put my personality into my writing, but not my drama (unless it’s funny) and to say that things have been an emotional roller coaster is merely scratching the surface (unless that roller coaster went to the moon) because I constantly found myself scrambling to accomplish something, and yet I could never discern what the goals were, or worse, what the purpose was.  There were times when I succumbed to what I believe would be deemed depression, which I thought that at this point in my life I was mostly invulnerable to.  Every day I still found things to smile about, but covering up isn’t coping and I had become very good at fooling myself.  Though I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a comedian, I think I understand that stereotype of comedians being the saddest people.  Of course, a stereotype is just that, a blanket generalization that never describes everyone who identifies with a particular label, but for a time, I was having a sad phase and gained some perspective.

What happened?  Well, months ago I was unemployed and had been for a while, and the floodgates opened at some point in my mind, because I became increasingly stressed with concerns about my future.  Then all of a sudden I was offered a job working at a grocery store, starting as a “service clerk” at the bottom of the food chain (which by the way, bagging groceries is beneath no one) and receiving minimum wage.  It wasn’t long after that I was offered a second job at a quick service restaurant, with promises of better pay and number of hours.  I was incredibly relieved, not to mention amazed that for once, I had options!  I decided to go with the latter and began planning my life around that choice, but things got off to a rocky start, because the number of hours was not what I was initially told, and after a month I was laid off.  Well, technically I’m still “employed,” just “on call” now…unfortunately, rent and bills are not “on call” and I was thrown into the pit of despair again.  Let me tell you, it is hard to have a sense of security dangled in front of you, to have a taste, and then have it snatched away in such a short period of time.  It is also hard to return to the idea of sending out resumes and filling out job applications, because rejection by the majority of them can make one feel rather inadequate and worse, incapable.

On top of that, I didn’t get the Dance Critics Association scholarship I applied for, to attend this year’s conference (which is coincidentally being held in Seattle), discussing ballet reconstruction in tandem with PNB’s new production of Giselle.  More recently, I also came down with a really nasty sinus infection and was rendered incapable of doing just about anything (though like a zombie, I dragged myself to an open job interview at Chipotle…I felt really pretty).  I’ve also been dealing with dyshidrotic eczema on my right hand, which is often stress induced for me.  It’s been a vicious cycle with no end in sight, with people sending me their best wishes and encouragement, which I am so grateful for.  However, it was virtually impossible to find any inspiration to write because I had so many things weighing heavily on my heart (and my sinuses…good grief, it felt like a watermelon was growing in my forehead. Thankfully, I’m much less congested now!).

Despite utter misery, today I think I’ve found clarity, and feel a familiar glimmer inside, a little beacon of hope that’s telling me I’m coming home to myself.  A month ago I applied for a job at ABT, a complete long shot to be a Press Associate and while I’m consumed with oscillating between optimism and pessimism, I am getting something out of the process.  Reading the criteria, I realized that it is my dream job…something I haven’t said or felt since elementary school when I wanted to be a baker/marine biologist (yes, both at the same time—I have yet to achieve such ambitiousness since).  The skills and duties of the position were just one after another striking a chord with me and even my mother, who is probably the biggest skeptic I know (given, she also knows how many times I changed majors in college) said “this sounds perfect for you.”  She’s right—ballet is all I think about and it doesn’t matter that I discovered it at twenty-four instead of four…it’s where my soul belongs and I need to be a professional in the field.  Karena even mentioned to her husband that I’m a bigger classical ballet nerd than she is, and this is coming from a former professional ballet dancer, who has done everything from dancing Serenade, performed Dark Elegies as a part of receiving her Masters degree, and was so distraught by Lacotte’s La Sylphide she simply turned it off.  To me, it is a complement of the highest praise.

Writing about dance, selling it to new audiences, connecting with people via social media…it’s exactly what I need to be doing and finding out that it’s possible to have a career doing this is exactly what I needed to know.  I’m convinced there is no greater gift than to know that there is something in the world for you to do, something that you can be passionate about and say those rare but beautiful words: “I love my job.”  I don’t know how I’m going to get there just yet, but I’m sinking my pit-bull teeth into this dream of mine.  For the time being, I am simply going to do what I do best, which is continue to write about dance, discuss it with all of you, and keep it relevant to the world because even in my not so spectacular hour, the arts uplift my spirits.  I always say that I hate moping, and I’m done with it myself…sure, my finances are a catastrophe but I also have things to look forward to, like writing a SeattleDances review of Corella Ballet next week.  I’ve been so dreadfully gloomy for so long I almost forgot that was coming up and it’s almost here!  I’ve also got some DVD reviews in queue and who knows what else…I go where the wind takes me, and I’m just glad to feel creativity in my veins again.

I’m getting there…I’ve missed you, readers!

7 Responses to “A Heart to Heart”

  1. Johanna May 13, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    I have huge respect and admiration both for your perseverance and your passion! I know what´s it like to not have that financial security – last year I still worked on-call. Most of the time I had full-time employment, but I could never be sure. I think I got a couple of gray hairs and wrinkles just from that stress. This year things have gotten considerably better, just in the nick of time. Steady job, better pay and more time to dance. I really believe things have a way of working themselves out.

    Anyway, I have always enjoyed and appreciated your writing. It really is top quality! I also do not mind if you are not always funny. We all have to take the highs with the lows.. I do wish you the best of everything, and hope that your dreams come true! Merde!

    • youdancefunny May 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

      Thanks Johanna! I hope things work out sooner rather than later! When it comes to troubles I’m not a patient person…I want it fixed right away and that attitude makes me grow more white hairs every day. At this point, there’s so many I don’t even try to hide them anymore…

  2. Emily May 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    I recently discovered your blog, and I love your writing! I can really understand feeling such passion for ballet, but not being nearly as involved as I would like. I danced nearly every day from ages five to seventeen. I was injured, and once I was able to really dance again, too much time had passed, and I wasn’t able to work quite the same as I had before my injury. I had never even considered doing anything else with my life, and all of a sudden I had to choose an entirely different path. And still, eight years later, I have the same passion and love I have always had for ballet, I’m just not doing it anymore. It’s been a struggle trying to find a way to channel that passion and be involved in ballet without being a ballet dancer. It’s hard to find a balance that isn’t emotionally painful. I’m a seamstress, and I’ve recently started designing and building my own tutus for my local dance company, which has been awesome and has given me an idea of where I might fit in exactly.

    I think it’s wonderful that you have such a clear idea of what kind of work you want to be doing. It really is a universe unto itself. It’s pretty obvious that you really put everything toward this goal, and only good things can come of it. I can also relate to the anxiety of not having a reliable job, and I hope something more stable offers itself up to you soon!

    • youdancefunny May 17, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Hi Emily! Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting!

      That’s awesome that you’re making costumes! It’s definitely hard to sit on the sidelines and sometimes I don’t think people know how cruel that can be…but certainly, our work doesn’t go unappreciated. 🙂

  3. Jeff May 17, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Aww, hang in there. Sounds like things are looking up! I know what you mean about process… it can help you find out more about yourself, independent of the actual goal. Take care!

    • youdancefunny May 17, 2011 at 9:54 am #

      Thanks for commenting Jeff! Hope your classes are going well too!

  4. classicalballetteacher May 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    You’re a helluva dance writer, comedian and critic. And an awfully decent dance historian to boot. Have no doubt of your established legitimacy in the dance world.

    Many a talented dancer has had to sate her- or himself with that thought. You know how hard it is for even the most talented dancers to get employment – You couldn’t find a more empathetic audience for your plight.

    I’ll be rooting for you to find a great, paid position!

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