I hold empathy in my heart for all those experiencing grief, and anger, and instability, and confusion as the world changes its tune from 'status quo' to something very, very different... but I, personally, feel more free and content in most of my days than I was pre-lockdown. Granted, I was a semi-struggling artist, making the audition rounds, weary from travel and rejection, living in uncertainty about employment and financial assurance, back in March. These days, I am doing so much more of what I actually want to do, and though a controversial statement, it remains true.
I'm not driving 20 miles/day to a bartending in job in Santa Monica, where the onslaught of faces and edamame dumplings doesn't cease for 8-10 hours and even a 20 minute break in the bustle of the 3rd street promenade concrete feels like a chore. I'm not training at a new restaurant job, either, though occasionally (and briefly) I do miss the vibe of a fresh shift before the rush. My time in the car is more rare, less obligatory, and more satisfying. I spend zero hours waiting for things to end.
I'm not waking up at 4am in New York to stand in line with hundreds of girls outside of Ripley Grier, in hopes of being seen for a show I'm not quite ethnic or white enough for. I'm no longer privy to the insecurity and jealousy that permeate my very competitive industry. As a result, I'm celebrating and collaborating with artists of every genre and level of excellence. We really are in this together, and we are made of so much more than our resumes.
I'm not spending a cumulative hour or two per day, angry or saddened with myself for not doing enough, for not already being richer, more popular, or more successful. This has freed up more time for gratitude, and books, and silliness, and long phone calls with my faves.
I'm not rushing around from work to auditions to class to home, head full of priorities for staying afloat as an artist, constantly searching for parking, and forgetting things, and forgetting to take moments for myself, and criticizing my own outfit choices and choreography slips. I'm sitting and sleeping and cooking and dancing and singing in this vortex of good as is. I'm finding deep alignment and purpose in witnessing and participating in social change: what feels like the most important social movement of all generations alive today.
I'm not fighting my emotions, labelling them inconvenient, or suppressing them. They ebb and flow. I relish the joyful ones and the relief that comes when the difficult ones are allowed to pass in peace. With the emotions come clarity and inspiration. Permitted and un-judged, they are far less scary and inconvenient, and their purpose is clearer.
I'm not doing what other people assume or expect of me. I'm doing... me.
The result has been more creativity, better relationships (because everything starts with a better relationship with self), more dependable energy and sleep, and an endless cycle of increased acceptance and productivity. Deeper music, and food, and dance, and nature appreciation all around. Deeper, less presumptuous or impatient love abounds in moments throughout the day.
I see you're doing you too! I see your posts: freshly picked up hobbies and more time for old devotions, vulnerable self reflection, art and human appreciation of your own, gardens and camping trips and big and small victories at home and work. I'm proud of us in this moment. I'm proud of who we're becoming. Let's honor that today, and forward.
Announcement: I took 13 dance classes today through the Black Love Matters Juneteenth Move-A-Thon to raise money for the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, the International Association of Blacks in Dance, and the Loveland Foundation. They are taking donations (Venmo: @blklovematters) through Monday and their goal is $10,000 (They're only $2000 short of their goal already!) Check out the whole day's worth of preparation and classes on my Instagram story! Compilation video to come!