& Repeat

“Whitewashed”
It sounds so passive, so easy,
as if you hadn’t made it your daily job to wash, rinse & repeat–
only to find that there were some things you could never quite scrub invisible.

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Ticklish Spots

“Laughter is a defense mechanism,” she warned me. 

I smiled, “Yeah, it’s my favorite one!”


Ticklish spots are located in the most vulnerable parts of your body. They’re highly sensitive locations, dense with receptors for touch and pain. If you’re a particularly ticklish individual, they’re often places of tension, where thick layers of fascia wrapped around the muscles have solidified, forming adhesions. They’re the places where you could feel excruciating pain if anyone were to dig in too deep.

But few will ever get that far. A light touch on the spot will send you into a bout of laughter, a playful grin on your face as you retract away and shake the hands off of you. You complicate the job for doctors and lovers and TSA agents, but you complicate it with a smile.

And through the discomfort, all you will do is laugh and shake them off–so long as no one comes in too close and presses too hard.

Sometimes you wonder what might happen if you were to let someone keep digging through the tight spots. You would laugh more and more until you couldn’t anymore. Eventually, as they’d comb through the knotted layers of flesh, it might break up some of that scar tissue, release some of that nagging tension, un-train your convulsive reflex.

But as the blood vessels tangled up in those knots would rupture, the blood flowing to the surface, dark bruises would reveal to the world just where you can be hurt. And the unmasked pain on your face would reveal just how much.

So you remind yourself that, tight and twisted as it may be, you built up that impenetrable wall of fascia for a reason. And maybe not all knots are meant to be unraveled.

Besides, laughing is cute and releases endorphins.

Journal Bits: Life-(is always)-Changing

In honor of #ThrowbackSunday I thought I’d post another journal bit from my Paris trip:


It’s a cliche to call study abroad experiences “life changing.” The more cynical types would roll their eyes and call that an overstatement. I would just call it redundant. Life is always changing. 

Every moment, every choice inevitably alters the course of what comes after it. Maybe not a lot, but a little. Big, pivotal moments matter, but so do the little choices, the little micro-turns you make everyday until you find yourself headed in another direction.

I’m thinking about this as I’m reaching the end of my time in college and getting ready for life as a real person/professional/adult/whatever. I used to assume that my life trajectory would be shaped by “big” decisions–what school to go to; what major and career to choose; what city to live in–but it has been and will be shaped just as much by the little choices that accumulate day after day–whether to show up for class; whether to warm up; whether to stay and talk; whether to ask that question; whether to go out; whether to sleep; whether to make one more little dance or write one more little thing.

For what it’s worth, I guess that as much difficulty I’ve had with declaring the “big” choice to “be a dancer,”  I’ve been pretty unwavering about my daily choice to dance, as much as I possibly can. I think that matters.

Anyway, what I think I’m saying is that being in Paris is life-changing, and so is being in school as usual, and so is being at home, ridiculously bored, thinking about where I wish I was, what I wish I was doing, and what the hell I’m going to do with the rest of the day.

paris-centre-map

Updates (In which I do less than It All)

Things I did this weekend:

  • Performed in the Barnard dance department show at New York Live Arts. The choreographers and dancers were absolutely killing it this year with some beautiful, intelligent, and hilarious work (in addition to being generally awesome people to be around all day).
  • Wrote two papers and a presentation.
  • Struggled with the subway system.
  • Tried really hard not to neglect my parents who flew in to see me.
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Choreography by the fabulous Caitlin Trainor. Photo by the fabulous Julia Cervantes. 

Things I didn’t do:

  • Laundry

It’s really really been awhile. I need to catch up before I revert to my super-seasonally-inappropriate clothing reserve and excessive body spray as an alternative to washing.

In related news, I think this is gonna be my new go-to answer for questions like “Is it possible to do dance and academics?”–Yes, but not laundry.

I’m pretty sure this is also the definitive answer to the perpetual question of “Can women Have it All?” (Which women? What’s “all?” No one really seems to care)–No: they can either have a reasonable laundry schedule or everything else, but not both. 

(Feel free to pull that out in interviews, female CEOs.)

I’m gonna go do laundry now.

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.