April 2020

I’m stuck.

I’m stuck between being in full agreement with this article that reminds us that it’s okay to not want to take virtual dance classes, and trying to encourage my students to take virtual dance classes.

I’m stuck between not wanting to be creative while building platforms to entice others to be creative.

I’m stuck between maintaining the positive and uplifting online presence I’ve curated - one that acknowledges the hurdles of life but always with a sunny disposition and an “it gets better/it’s the journey not the destination” attitude - and feelings that can only be described as anger and sadness and complacency, with no light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m stuck between being in positions of mentorship and leadership and feeling in need of my own role models and systems of support.

I’m overwhelmed with the cacophony of online opportunities yet feel pressured to add to the noise.

I feel personal boundaries being encroached on as I invite students and others to see regularly into my living room yet crave the social interaction.

I’m inspired by the resiliency and perseverance of the creative communities I’m part of yet feel completely unfulfilled by the opportunities available.

I find myself wondering if these opportunities are altruistic, or opportunistic. Inspired, or just mitigating boredom.  Are we forging amazing new practices or simply in denial?  

I’m stuck between urges to create and feelings that all productivity is futile.  Will the way we used to make performance forever be changed or obsolete? 

I feel stuck between wanting to share my experience in creating dance from home, while recognizing that my practice was not based on complete isolation and that I’m not actually equipped to offer anything that speaks to creative perseverance for a global pandemic.  While I’ve spent years developing much of my repertoire as solo material, using my small apartment as my studio, I’m now completely uninterested in working this way and feel somewhat entitled to have the experience of working with an ensemble in a proper rehearsal space. Yet, here we are - literally stuck - with no other way to work than this.

This is normally the part when I’d bring it around to seeing the bright side of the situation.  Where I would acknowledge the growth in the pain, or affirm that a simple perspective shift is sometimes all it takes, but those revelations usually come after I've managed to "unstuck" myself.

So while I have no new revelations, I do have some new rules for life during shelter in place:

  1. All apologies are unnecessary.  You are automatically forgiven for hurting my feelings, forgetting appointments, or just generally being unpleasant. (This includes apologies to oneself.) 

  2. All self-care routines, personal boundaries, and mental health practices are defined on an individual and day by day basis.

  1. All social interaction is welcomed and returned in a timely manner. When it can’t be reciprocated immediately due to rule 1 or 2, it will be made up at a later date with the understanding that when one person takes the initiative to reach out and ask “how are you doing” there’s a good chance they are also saying “I’m not doing well and would love to talk to you.”

  2. Your body and mind are your most valuable assets.  If you do nothing else, exercise these, in some small way, every day.

  3. Creativity, play, recreation and any other form of joy supersedes what has otherwise been known as “productivity.”

  4. Your emotions are valid. My emotions are valid. His/her/their emotions are valid. Unpleasant emotions due to another person’s emotional response is also valid! But try not to make big choices or have big conversations fueled by emotion.  Seek emotional sobriety before proceeding (thank you to Elizabeth Gilbert for this one.)

  5. Each day, try to notice things in your life that are better than before, despite or because of sheltering in place, and make an effort to bring those with you when these ordinances are lifted. When this feels too challenging or causes discomfort, refer to rules 1 through 6.

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