Decompression/Recompression

My life is best described as a flurry.  Not quite a full-force blizzard, but close enough.  It’s just hectic enough to make people wonder if they should come out and build a snowman with me, or huddle under blankets by the fireplace, safely in their own abodes, letting me rampage on my own outdoors.

Today marks the one week anniversary of our official arrival in Boulder.  One week into classes, into work, into my new life.  I came off the tail of a grand adventure with no time to breathe before launching into the next – but if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably already guessed – this is how I roll.

I hate being bored.  It drives me bonkers.  Makes me angrier than if someone ate the last of the ice cream the day that a bus splashed dirty street water on me as I was walking toward some really bad news.  Boredom is generated and controlled by no one and nothing but yourself, so I take it as a personal failure when I feel bored.  The world at my fingertips, and I can’t figure out what to occupy my time with?  That’s ridiculous.

I’m almost settled into the new place.  I have to figure out how to get my desktop hooked up to the wifi in the apartment, and there are a few lingering boxes, and I’m not quite sure how to store my yarn with the limited space that I have, but I have to think that I’m almost finished settling in, or I think I might just snap and spend the rest of my “free” time sitting in a corner chewing on boxes.  I went on a tear through my boxes, knowing I saw the cord for my cameras and tucked them somewhere that made sense, but now I can’t seem to find them in any of the places that make sense, nor any of the places that the Mad Hatter would consider appropriate.

I’ll edit to add pictures when the item is found, but until then – stories, because words are still important to convey my experience.

I had one week between the end of the Aerial Dance Festival and the start of Burning Man.  One week, with no obligations, very little money available to spend, a child, and a car.  There is a lot you can accomplish in one week, and still I wish we had more time.  Ellette and I picked up our friend Ari from the Denver Airport on Thursday, which was the earliest he could fly out to meet us, and we started driving West.

Excitement was high at this point.  Freedom and a roadtrip have a habit of creating that feeling.  (4 days later we were extremely happy to have arrived at our destination where we could take a break from being in a car, and being stuck with no one’s company but our own).

We drove through the mountains towards the Grand Canyon, because I gave Ellette free reign over our destination, and that’s what she chose.  Knowing we had time to kill, however, led us to stop when the desire took hold.  Utah is a beautiful state, and I highly recommend taking a leisurely drive through it.  There were so many view points, that we eventually had to put a cap on how many we would actually stop for.  They were gorgeous.  I really don’t have any other words to describe it.

To break up the immobility of sitting in a car, I tried to handstand my way across the country.  I did a lot during the trip, but completely forgot once we got to Burning Man.  I did remember to do one when the man burned on Saturday, and had someone photograph it for me, but that was the only handstand accomplished.

The Grand Canyon was more breathtaking than the last time i was there in 2009.  That time was just me and a guy was I on-again-off-again dating, and the experience was just not very enjoyable because of outside emotions.  This trip, i had a clear head and a clear heart, and Ellette and I loved exploring together.  We climbed everything we could get a grip on and resolved to return in the future for a longer stretch of time, with better gear, so that we can hike and camp and experience it closer.

We continued driving West after that, through Nevada until we reached Black Rock City.  We had a minor detour at a town called Rachel, which is located on Extraterrestrial Highway and caused us to stop by the presence of several flying saucers.  The town had a couple of trailers and a bar.  We stopped for a drink, chatted with the bartender, and left a dollar bill taped to the ceiling with our names written across it.

And then Black Rock City.

My birthday was spent in the line, waiting to get in.  I enjoyed meandering up and down the line of cars, offering chocolate covered doughnuts to other burners.  It wasn’t until I received my first hug on the playa that I realized what I needed this year.  It was a long and close hug, each of us holding on tight and welcoming each other home, and I settled in to it.  All of the anxiety, jitteriness, and excitement started to quiet, and I could feel my breathing deepen.  This was to be the burn of hugs.

It had been just me for the summer – no significant other, physically removed from my close friends, and constantly bustling through my adventures, that I had forgotten how nice it is to share a moment with another individual – a hug, a handhold, a side lean.  And here I was, tossed into a crowd of 60,000 people all ready and willing to hug the breath out of me if I just asked for it.  I found myself seeking out that contact – giving camp mates hugs every morning, holding on long and tight with each one.  I wanted to forge connections, I wanted stories and laughter that would sustain itself off the playa.

Ellette and I didn’t leave camp as much as we did last year, but I’m alright with that.  I got my chances to explore, even having an entire night out on the playa, as an adult, jumping from camp to camp, meeting new people, biking into the deep darkness, chasing a vision of people and lights, and falling asleep briefly inside of a giant genie bottle, only to be woken by gentle chatter just before sunrise.  My companion and I wandered to the 7am burn, where we watched two larger-than-life lovers locked in Embrace turn to dust and smoke as the sun came up.  I wandered back to camp, only to doze off on a couch on top of a school bus before making it to my tent.

We had such a brilliant time and built a few lasting friendships, along with meeting more lovely people than we can ever keep straight.  We have little stories tucked into our arsenals that simply cannot exist in the blogosphere appropriately, and we’ve come back very satisfied.

Now, entering the default world on our return.  I had been curious how decompression would strike us.  Ellette is like puddy, adapting fluidly with the changing situations.  I have been keeping my focus pointing forward as I knock to-do’s off the list, hoping that the brunt of depression would be deflected by being in the studio 30 hours a week working on what I love.

And then I realized that I’m craving human connection.  I’m craving sitting in the dust watching the sunset, a cold beer in my hand and good conversation afoot.  I’m craving quiet moments standing close to people as we share our thoughts on a towering art structure.  I’m still finding my footing here, carving out my place and setting my schedule so spontaneity is a possibility, and lacking the freedom I had all summer is taking it’s toll.

I realize also that I haven’t knit in over a month.  This could be contributing to my feelings.

Photos to come, I promise. I see that reading through this all a second time isn’t quite adequate in describing the thoughts and feelings coursing through me right now.  If only I could think like the March Hare for a little while to find that elusive cord…

The World Keeps Turning

I haven’t yet checked the date of my last blog entry, but I know it was quite a while ago.  There have been so many wonderful adventures in the interim, and so many things that I really wanted to say to the world, but I was in a car, in a rush, in a fit of giggles, and completely out of reception.  I logged in to Facebook a couple of times when we had service passing through the mountains, and I managed to squeeze out a couple of Instagram photos, but uploading an entire blog post was a little too heavy for what the universe was able to provide.

I do want to fill you in on all that is happening, and time is slowly being made available to do that, so bear with me.  I still have to pull the photos off of my camera, which is currently somewhere in my new room – which is completely filled with boxes from the move.  Not to mention, trying to find the cable I need to get those pictures.

Anyhow, immediately following our roadtrip across the Southwest and the week long alternative existence that is Burning Man, we landed in Boulder on Monday, sometime in the afternoon.  I was feverish, sore, tired, sick of being in a car (with people), and locked out of my new apartment.  It was really hard in that moment to keep my chin up, but I did it!  I took care of some lose ends while I waited for one of my roommates to get home, and my possessions arrived finally, which meant that I would indeed have a bed to sleep on that evening!  This was a glorious accomplishment after spending almost two weeks sleeping elsewhere, and over two months sleeping in places that were temporary.  There is something to be said for sleeping in a bed that is yours.  It helped me feel home.

The very next day, still sickly but no longer feverish, I got Ellette to school, unloaded more from the trailer, and then went to begin my new life as a Frequent Flyers Pro-Track Aerial Dance Student!  I was excited, nervous, and exhausted.  I refused to let my anxiety take over – which is a pretty big thing for me.  Normally, I would be a paranoid mess, wondering if anyone would actually like me, and how I would make a fool of myself, and being a total clutz on the equipment.  This group of ladies that I am spending my days with though – pretty amazing and supportive, and what charms me most is the ease to talk about their own insecurities.  Turns out – we all have them.

Today is the third day of week 1.  I’m already feeling more comfortable and sure of my place here.  Now, it’s a matter of finding balance.  I’m rushing around still trying to move in, feel settled, handle the adult things like paperwork, money, groceries, and whatever else it is that adults are supposed to do.  Every morning I’ve been waking up, eager to attack the chaos around me, and every evening I go to bed, thinking I’ve hardly accomplished anything.  As I write this, I can tell you that I do see the progress I’ve made – my bathroom is almost completely set up, laundry from the Burn has almost been completed, several boxes have been completely unpacked and put away, and most of my paperwork is complete.  Tomorrow I start a new job, and hopefully this all works out.  What I must remember is that I cannot put all of the things on my to-do list for one day.  That is not at all possible.

I’ve been thinking about this past summer, and how alive I have felt throughout it all – jumping from place to place, working on neat little projects, meeting so many new people, and watching my path unfold in a very positive direction.  I jumped, knowing that it would be difficult, exhausting, and frightening – that sometimes I would feel disheartened and the struggle would seem too much, and that sometimes it would all be too good to be true – and totally expect the former to be more common than the latter but the end result would be totally worth it all.  I didn’t realize that I was running from anything until I got here, and after the feelings settled, I saw that Chicago had been such a terrible mess for me, dragging me down through depression for so long, that in the end, even after spending a year or so planning my move, the decision to jump was impulsive, and driven by the need to get far away as quickly as possible.  Not knowing where I was going to end up, just knowing that it would be somewhere else – and hoping it would work out.  I was running, pretty hard and pretty obliviously to what it was I actually needed.

Throughout the travels of the summer, my friends really stepped up to support me.  They let me crash on their couches, share their meals.  They showered me with hugs and laughter.  A couple would send me daily texts to remind me they were a phone call away and thinking of me, and I surprised myself when I needed to call them for that support, when the traveling had gotten to be too much to handle.  Friends in Chicago jumped in collectively to help me pack up the apartment, before I even had to ask, and it nearly brought me to tears.  They were there through the heartbreak, through the anxiety, and sharing in the victories along the way.

And even then, it wasn’t until I spent the week at Burning Man that I figured it out, that I stopped running from one place and instead, consciously picked a direction, controlled my flurry of emotions, and confidently began walking towards a goal.  I’m still processing the experiences that lead to this revelation.  All I can say for certain is that I feel the difference.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

This week has been an interesting one.  A little difficult, a little exhausting, and with a fair amount of self-growth.

I started the week pushing myself pretty hard, like I did last week.  I’ve got more bruises than I can count, some blisters on my palms, and scrapes on my feet. But the shoulder pain I started experiencing last Thursday just wouldn’t go away, and with my previous shoulder injury, that was the most worrisome. The last two days, I’ve skipped my last class of the day, going from four classes to three.  This has given me time at the house alone, time I’ve been using to reset my system.  My shoulders are feeling good again, and I’m figuring out all those grown up things that need doing.

My new roommates and I have all signed our lease here, but we can’t move in until the end of the month.  This means that I am currently in the city I will call home, but can’t quite call it home yet.  And for some reason, this is creating a bit of anxiety.  I’m trying to remind myself that there are a few more adventures to be had this summer, and at the end of it, we will in fact have a home to come back to.

I am looking forward to coming back to begin training.  I have so many ideas and reams of notes.  I just have to remind myself to take breaks once in awhile.

Day 5

This morning dawns on the fifth day of the Aerial Dance Festival, the wrap to the first week of classes and a weekend of showcase performances.  I am sore, tired, and slathered in tiger balm to ease the tenderness.

It has been an intense, satisfying, and inspiring week all around, and I have written volumes in my personal journal about the explorations and realizations I have had along the way.  I kept thinking I would write the synopsis here, but never could find the time.

I am taking four classes: single point low flying trapeze, handstands, invented apparatus, and Cyr wheel.  Its the handstands that are doing me in.  This is the most pressure I’ve put on my right shoulder since my injury, and yesterday I ended up skipping the class for fear of collapsing into my joint and injuring the tendons again.  Hanging from it, however, is not a problem and at times even feels heavenly.

Invented apparatus though – so many strange things to climb on and a surprising reaction to many.  When I saw that there was an aerial cube, I thought for sure that would be my primary focus, but I really haven’t spent much time on it.  I’ve been strangely drawn to the bungee bag – a sling with a bungee at the top.  It creates a curious relationship with the ground and the people on it.  I find when I start to climb or really wrap up in it, I just want to be reaching down.  And the bouncing!  Its rather addictive and entertaining.

The exercises we are working on in that class (and I’m sorry I don’t have any photos!) are then continued as I go to Cyr, where Sam Tribble has been reinventing the wheel and has the equipment set up for us to play on between class.

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I play on it several times a day, learning new things each time.  Can I lean this way?  What happens if I stick my leg out?  Can I hang from this bar?  I can’t get enough of the exploration.  Right now, I just look like a person climbing over an awkward metal ring as it spins, but there are moments, like in the photo above, where I find I can concentrate on lines rather than balance.

I used to say that you learn perCYRverance on the wheel.  I know – cheesy.  But its true.  You suck at it, for a long time.  And its this big heavy spinning thing you are trying to wield, which means you are also probably going to hurt yourself.  A lot.  And the only way to really become proficient is to pick yourself back up and say “So, the wheel does that when I turn that way.  Good to know!” It is a living thing.  A very stubborn living thing.  And we learn to tame it and move with it.  Like riding a horse – there’s only so much you can get the horse to do, and if the horse doesn’t want to move, you really can’t make it.

I have enough knowledge now of how the wheel inherently spins that I know when I can manipulate it, and I know that the only way to keep turning is to commit to your movements.  What this really translates to is knowing the only way to keep spinning is to really push for that next step, and oftentimes not being able to land it and a most brilliant wipeout ensues.  I have fallen more times than anyone else in the class.  I am covered head to toe in colorful bruises (only a couple actually hurt) and I end up with instances such as the wheel running over my elbow.  And I stand up, brush myself off, shake off the dizziness, and jump on for round 23.  I’m in the beginning level, because I guess I have low self confidence.  But my classmates have been coming to me with questions and telling me they enjoy having me in their class.  Its one thing to watch a pro show you what to do, and its another to watch your peer do it, and even more encouraging to watch them fall and get back up.

One thing that is different this year – and I really think its a change in me and not in the festival – is the camaraderie I’ve been experiencing.  Words of encouragement are everywhere.  Laughter and after hours gatherings abound.  I find I’m more connected with the community than I have ever been.  I think partly its that this place is familiar to me, so I’m not so shy (me, shy?), partly I think its that I’ve taken control of my path and feel worthy of sharing a cup of coffee with these amazing and talented people, and partly its the nature of Boulder.  I feel completely content and welcomed.

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I am constantly in awe that this is now my home, and overjoyed and grateful that this is my journey.

I’m Just Going to Leave This Here

After four weeks if summer camp, followed closely by a determined two day drive, I find myself here:

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And I have never been happier or more excited moving forward.

Today begins the Aerial Dance Festival at the Frequent Flyers studio in Boulder.  I’ve got a jam packed two weeks ahead.  I’m ready.  Are you?

Sunshine and Yarn

I want to talk to you about knitting, which hasn’t been very present on this blog this month, but has indeed been happening intermittently throughout.  It just stays hidden in the background, clung to desperately during those few quiet moments I have to myself.  It has been the time to reclaim my sanity in a rather bustling world.

I bound of Rosarian today.  I tried it on.  And even unblocked, it is beautiful.

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It looks weird right now – undulating stitches with no definition.  I’m going to block the heck out of it tonight, but for now it remains a ridiculously soft mass of springy fiber that is secretly something amazing.

I’m back to the socks now.  Don’t be alarmed.  I stopped because they seemed a bit small, so I waited until I could try them on the feet of their intended, which I was able to do last weekend.  I was so wrapped up in Rosarian, though, that picking up the sock was torture.  Now, it is calming.  Strange how that transition happens.

Things have been stirring around here, and I’m happy to report that the audition proved fruitful.  I have been doing a three day giggly happy dance over here, followed closely by the extreme paranoia and “Oh, crap, I’m really moving across country.”

I drive on Friday!  Next post from the road!

By The Seat of My Pants

(I just found out this never posted.  What?? I’m trying to catch up. Oi!)

Remember when I said this summer I would have more time to blog, and I would be sharing all of the wonderful things I’ve got going on with all of you in the blogosphere?  Do those sound like famous last words? Anyone? Beuller?

Yeah, I’m mostly winging it over here.  I would like to say that today I’m feeling the groove more, but I’m fairly certain that’s a lie.  Knowing this is the end of the Midwest has really spurred me into action, visiting with all of the amazing people in the area, spending time with family, and doing that networking thing I need to get better at.

Last weekend, I was auditioning in Boulder, Colorado.  I am going to stay positive and say it went as well as I could have hoped, although I may have been over enthusiastic about the sunshine and spent too much time before the audition doing things like acro yoga and biking.  My hips were feeling a bit tight the day of the audition.

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I lived the sunshine and the people, and really hope it works out so I can live there for a year or two.

But its over now, and I’m sitting here biting my fingernails and trying not to lose my nerve, waiting for an answer, and still at this point of having to make a choice.  Nothing I decide will be bad, but its all a risk, and I don’t want to jump the gun committing to plan b or c before I’m sure plan a is out the window having a tea party down a rabbit hole I can’t seem to locate.

Week 3 Day 4 into summer camp and I’ve realized I can only handle this for four days a week, but I’ve got to come back tomorrow and wrap up Go Green.  I want a nice, relaxing day but foresee a bit of the pent up energy issues coming out.  That’s been the theme this week.  I adore the kids, but I wish I could ditch the theme in the afternoon and wear them out playing red rover at the baseball diamond next door.

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Next week is circus arts, and I’m hoping I’ve got enough of a theater game arsenal in store to make the week easy.

Plus, I’ve got a mini top hat and a waist coat. You can’t ignore a crazy lady in a top hat and waist coat.

In the end, I’m counting down the days I’ve got left in Milwaukee.  I leave August 1st.  There are butterflies in my stomach.

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