Borderline Adulting

Things that make me feel like a legitimate adult:

  1. Scheduling dentist appointments
  2. Filling out employment paperwork
  3. Giving lost SF pedestrians directions to the Bart station
  4. Successfully cooking risotto
  5. Buying pants that are not sweatpants

Things that don’t:

  1. Being reminded by my dentist that I don’t floss enough
  2. Asking my mom how to fill out my paperwork
  3. Only knowing where the Bart station is because I’m using Google Maps walking directions
  4. Thinking “I wonder if I could cook this rice in a microwave instead” and proceeding to try (Answer: sort-of-ish)
  5. Buying patterned stretchy pants from the kids’ section so that I can wear them as leggings

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Semester Recap: Things I Learned

  • Say yes, then figure out how–that’s how you realize what you’re capable of.
  • Or say no. No can also be a smart, sane, necessary choice.
  • Possible ≠ good for you.
  • On the other hand, testing the boundaries of possibility is fun and informative.
  • No one is actually a real adult with their shit together. Some are just better at pretending.
  • Talking under pressure is hard. I think we should be less harsh on babbling pageant contestants, because some of my phone interviews have probably made incoherent Miss America speeches seem pretty brilliant.
  • The archetype of the asshole genius is overrated. There are enough people in all fields, who are doing brilliant work and being genuinely kind, generous people, who provide a better model to aspire to. Success doesn’t mandate an overinflated ego–that’s just an excuse.
  • When I say “I don’t know,” it sometimes means “I’m not ready to admit what I really want.”
  • Life is a series of rejections with a few key exceptions.
  • It’s not about whether you mess up. It’s about how you mess up.
  • Sometimes there’s not an app for that.
  • Stress doesn’t really crush you until you feel like you’re dealing with it alone.
  • Sometimes, having someone ask “are you doing okay?” can mean everything.
  • “Independence” is a lie. We’re all dependent on the help and work of other people, even if we pretend otherwise. And I think that acknowledging help beats faking independence.
  • Don’t skip the hard parts.
  • Some people have it a lot harder.
  • Dancing is actually the best.

Audition Adventures: Paul Taylor Edition

During spring break, I took a class at the Paul Taylor studios with a friend, and some people were talking about the company auditions which were taking place this weekend. To which I responded “I kind of want to go, for fun. I mean what’s the worst that could happen: me still not being a Taylor company member? (Spoiler: that’s exactly what happened, and that’s totally fine.)

So I went online, filled out a registration form, and got my time slot . . . 7:40 AM. Yep. I consider myself a morning person, but that’s just a bit extreme, and the Taylor studios are quite a hike from Morningside. And of course, if they have the need to start at such ungodly hours, they must really be expecting a lot of people.

Not that this really bothered me. After all, this was the Taylor company*, so I knew that a major chunk of NYC’s dancers would be there, including all the serious Taylor junkies (I like the Taylor style, but I haven’t really studied it or attended their intensives for years like some other people there), and I really wasn’t expecting anything.

Which is really liberating: going to an audition not just with nothing to loose, but also with almost certainly nothing to win. I know that this no stakes attitude toward auditions might not be possible when I’m out in the “real world” needing a job, so I’m really taking advantage of the luxury now while I’m in school.

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The audition itself was surprisingly fun. After waiting in a long line and warming up in the hallways, they took us in groups of 20 into the small studio to learn a piece of repertory from some company members. It was a very dancey, expansive, technical phrase with somewhat confusing timing–in 12s (which few people actually got right).

They taught it really fast at first, which gave me some momentary thoughts of “I won’t get this. Why am I here? Is it too late to leave?”, but once we started going in groups, I realized that everyone else was struggling just as much as I was, and I felt pretty comfortable with the material by the time we went into the larger studio to perform. (I think this is a good example of how easy to assume that everyone else is generally a more experienced, capable adult who has all their shit together, when this usually isn’t the case if you just look around).

So Paul Taylor watched us dance. I’m not someone who gets starstruck by famous people, dance or otherwise, but I think that’s still a pretty cool thing to say. Actually, first he watched us walk, one by one across the floor. I’m not really sure what he was looking for–I tried to go for confident but relaxed, but in retrospect I may have overdone the latter.

We then did the phrase in groups of four. After practicing in a tiny studio with the whole group, it felt great to get to take up the big, open space (the studio is huge and gorgeous) and just go for it.

One of the prettiest dance spaces in NYC

And then it was done. And I didn’t get a callback. And I left.

But I left feeling like I had belonged there, if just for that hour. And that if I can find joy and confidence in my dancing in any new and challenging situation, maybe the real world is a bit less scary than it seems.

*Or I guess now it’s “American Modern Dance.” I’m still trying to figure out what that means, considering that not all of the choreographers are American. Then again, I’m no longer really sure what it means for something to be “American,” “modern,” or “dance” so…

Trampoline Jumping (and Other Things Adults Don’t Do)

I guess it’s weird when two college girls walk into a giant trampoline house populated mostly by 10-year-olds at birthday parties.

Scratch the girl part. I meant women. Grown-ass adult women.

Maybe.

Sometimes?

I wonder who decided that adults don’t jump on trampolines.

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That adults don’t fly.

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And adults don’t dance with flowers.

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Adults don’t really move. Or if they do, but they better be enduring it for the caloric expenditure, not enjoying it.

And adults don’t get lost.

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Not hopelessly and beautifully lost.

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Because if we kept jumping and flying and loosing ourselves, we might just get too good at it. And who knows if the world could survive that.

Things I Learned in 2013

  1. College admissions are not controlled by some magical, divine force. No matter what they tell you about ending up where you’re “meant to be,” it’s really just people and numbers on the other side of the process.
  2. That said, most people don’t need a flawlessly-matched college to have a positive experience.
  3. Moving, distance, semi-independent living, urban navigation, and time management are not nearly as hard as people make them out to be.
  4. It’s one thing to hear older artists talk about how they don’t care about success or external validation and like the idea, but it’s another to genuinely feel this way about myself. I need some distance from the constant panic and uncertainty of young adulthood before I can get to that place, and that’s okay.
  5. There is more than one way to be social.
  6. You know how people slightly older than you seem to have it all figured out. They don’t.
  7. Everyone’s life looks way more exciting/perfect on Facebook.
  8. It’s totally okay to feel lots of different things simultaneously. Acknowledging this make every one-word answer to “How are you?” feel painfully dishonest.
  9. Everyone is shamefully ignorant about something. Google helps.
  10. Not all snow is adequate for snowman building.
  11. I don’t actually know what my parents are thinking.
  12. People have no idea what I’m thinking either. Explaining is important.
  13. Java and JavaScript are actually not the same thing.

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Have a great new year, people. Or an average one. No pressure.