Those In-Between Spaces

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Showtime!

Yesterday was the end of three weeks jam-packed with dancing, kids, city adventures, and dining hall yogurt pretzels. I got to watch the final performance from the audience, and even after watching a good chunk of the rehearsal process, I was impressed by the professionalism of the final product. These choreographers really did a remarkable job: they had only two weeks to put together full-length pieces with large groups of dancers of various ages and backgrounds, and they ended up with pieces that not only showcased the students, but also had some serious artistic merit. Not to mention that I was super proud of the kids: in the last couple of weeks, they have been working on a professional schedule and pushed out of their stylistic comfort zone, and they rose to the challenge. It was crazy to see the amount of growth that occurred just in the last couple of rehearsals.

I’m gonna miss those kiddos. And the faculty. And the rest of the fabulous housing staff. The (usually) good thing about dance people, though, is that we always keep running into each other, even if it sometimes takes a few years.

phone

My room had this in the closet. I still don’t know why.

I spent my first day back doing just about nothing (unless you count eating, watching Netflix, and taking ridiculously long naps), which felt very necessary. I guess I didn’t realize how tired I was until I let myself stop completely–now that I finally have some down time, my body is just taking the opportunity to completely crash, reboot, and recover.

An actual photograph of me today

Even though I’m feeling a bit dead right now, I also feel like the last few weeks have been rejuvenating in a sense. Being surrounded by new people, a new setting, and different choreographic styles is always a refreshing way to kick-start growth and remind myself of just how many ways I can fall in love with this art form. Now while I don’t particularly feel like being anywhere near a dance studio today, I feel even more excited to get back in class once I take a moment to let all these new experiences, information, and training settle and absorb into my body and brain. 

I guess that’s what these little gap periods are for. I’ve never really liked breaks (particularly extended breaks from dancing–which this isn’t) but I do think they serve an important role as buffer zones between crazy intense times, where you can process your previous experience into something you can use for the next one. 

So I’ll just be thinking about that in the next few weeks before I head back to school and throw myself into another crazy semester. I’ll be hanging out with family and friends, tutoring a bit, taking open dance classes, and taking a mini vacation. I’ll find some time to get bored, binge watch Orange is the New Black, and waste time on Facebook. Maybe I’ll even breathe or something like that. Who knows? Growth comes in funny forms.

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What Did I Do Today?

Let’s call it an exercise in minimalism.

I think there was some post-structuralism in there too. Yup. That.

So spring break is here. For now. Tomorrow I’m starting an “externship” (super short internship) at a non-profit that organizes musicals for foster care teens. But for now, I’m not getting up.

It’s Not You, It’s Society: “You Look Tired”

“It’s not you, it’s society” is a series of rants about socially acceptable and polite comments that bother me. Read more here.

I’ve said it. You’ve said it. But can we all just retire this statement today?

Lets think about it. What are the possible outcomes of telling me I look tired:

  • I’m not tired. I was actually feeling great until now when I started worrying about my appearance.
  • I am tired. I was studying all night and didn’t have the energy to make myself look fresh and perky. Now I’m reminded about both my tiredness and my appearance. Great.

The truth is, the likelihood of me getting this comment has a stronger negative correlation with how much makeup I’m wearing than how much sleep I got. In fact, I may be especially well-rested on my “tired” days because I decided to sleep in instead of putting makeup on. It makes sense. Makeup is designed to make faces look brighter and more vibrant and whatever else we consider “not tired” to look like. Sometimes I care about that and sometimes I don’t.

But lets be real. Particularly if you are in college, most people around you probably are tired. Students do a lot of things and just don’t sleep very much. Sometimes we manage to cover it up by putting on nice clothes, makeup, and a cheerful demeanor–a performance, really–and other times it doesn’t seem worth it. Both options are okay. No one owes it to anyone else to appear like their life is perfect. But when we hear “you look tired” it feels kind of like a criticism of the performance. Like we need to work harder on looking like we have it all together. 

Because unless you are a mind reader, you are not actually commenting on a person’s feelings, even if you want to be. Trying to tell someone else how they feel is both annoying and not useful. They already know how they actually feel.

If you are genuinely concerned about someone because they are falling asleep at their desk, “you seem tired” is a somewhat better alternative. Or better yet, just ask them how they are feeling out of respect for the fact that they know their own feelings better than you do. Or if you’re just an awesome person, actually help them by offering to make them coffee or give them a back massage (warning: the latter suggestion can be either wonderful or super creepy depending on the context of your relationship. Use your judgement).