Sometimes I Adult

(OR)  Randomly on Friday

Randomly on Friday – I am proud of myself for my mad adulting skills.  (Also, I honestly appreciate that “adult” has become a verb.  I know there is the camp of people who dislike it, but I think it is more accurate than calling oneself an adult.  We are not truly, completely, “adult” – we have moments of childishness and immaturity, and moments when we buckle up and take care of business.  I have moments of being an adult, but I am not one every moment of the day.  Therefore, “adulting” more accurately describes my pattern.)

Randomly on Friday – I completed my daily French lesson early, in the time I had between getting the child on the bus and getting myself to work.  I felt really productive first thing in the morning – and that rarely happens.

Randomly on Friday – A friend added me to a Denver based face and body painters forum, at which I squeed audibly because this blows my mind.  I am constantly surprised by how connected this community is, how supportive, and how there is a group of people that do everything I want to do.  Cyr – yep, there’s a group jam.  Juggling – group jam, preceded by game night.  Dancing – so many groups for that.  And now, face painting.

Randomly on Friday – I have been networking my little tush off, putting in bids for gigs and sending out promo material – kicking butt and literally taking names.

Randomly on Friday – a Chicago blues dancing friend is in town for an audition, and tonight we are going dancing.  I have been excited about it for days.  I need to dance – not the choreographed group stuff I have been working on, but the deep and soulful, intimate dancing that I miss about Chicago.

Randomly on Friday – one of my best friends booked his flight to Boulder for my showcase next month.  I may have jumped around the house for a few minutes when he confirmed his plans.  One thing I dislike about being an adult is having my friends spread around the world.  While it means I have friends in cool places that I can visit, it also means I don’t see the people I am close to very often.

Randomly on Friday – I still need help funding the tail end of my tuition and gear payments.  If you have anything to spare, I would appreciate it so much!  I have literally been scraping the bottom of my bank account for the past two weeks just to put food on the table.  Visit my GoFundMe page by clicking on this link: http://www.gofundme.com/annasaerialdance

Randomly on Friday – Tickets for our showcase have gone on sale!!  If you are in the Denver/Boulder area, you should come.  Buy your tickets now, because we are going to sell out.  There are eight aerialists each with iron wills and amazing routines – we are totally selling out.  Here’s the event page, and this is where you BUY TICKETS.

Randomly on Friday – April has been kind of a crummy month for me.  Anything that could go wrong did.  I’ve been struggling to pick up the pieces, create some semblance of order, and continue moving forward.  And I mean really struggling.  I’ve plastered on a smile when I’m in public and broken into tears as soon as I get home, or as soon as someone has been nice to me and asked me what’s going on.  Yesterday was a fairly good day, and it feels like today is going to be as well.  Chin up, Buttercup.

Peeking Through the Chaos

I have been feeling like I’m in a tornado.  Or maybe I am the tornado.  Or both.  The world is a bit crazy, and if I were more of a Boulderite, I may say that it is simply karmic balancing – after riding the waves of the universe for so long, I am finding a balance in the form of a ton of bricks falling out of the sky and shattering on the road I’ve been walking, creating obstacles that I must overcome in order to continue.

Either way, I have been distracted by chaos in my personal life and as a result, have had a hard time remembering the smaller things I usually do as well as how to manage my emotions effectively in stressful situations.  (This last bit has been a years long struggle that is fairly touch and go as things really heat up).  I have been having an argument with my landlord that has lasted for several weeks – they are at fault but reluctant to fix the situation in a timely manner, which leaves me in crummy living conditions and escalating the situation to the city housing office.

I keep forgetting how close our showcase is, and so keep bouncing between excitement, confidence, and sheer panic.  I still haven’t finalized my costume.  An equipment order won’t be fulfilled until the beginning of May.  And I keep changing my choreography to suit my mood, which keeps fluctuating with the outside situations.

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that Ellette is 10?  And the pre-teen moodiness, distractions, and all that other good stuff has hit suddenly?  I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH THIS! (If there are any seasoned parents reading this that could offer some pearls of wisdom, it would be very much appreciated.  I’m desperate for new strategies).

Besides all that, there has been a flurry of forward movement.  Admittedly, it’s a bit difficult to see through the chaos, but I continue to try to recall the positive moments of my days.

For instance – I have a fan page!!  Head on over to Facebook and click that happy little like button!  I’ll have a website launched soon as well.

We had a professional photo shoot not too long ago, and I’m super eager to see that photos.  The day before the shoot, my friend Keir drove through Boulder and hung out at the studio for bit.

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trapeze

There is progress, I just have to clear away the clutter to see it.  5 more weeks.

Beginning The Countdown

I have been fairly MIA in recent weeks.  Our training, commitments, and personal lives have simultaneously exploded into a frenzy after the realization of how much time we actually have left in the program – 6 weeks.  When I am not working on my final piece, I am cramming in as much training on my secondary apparatus and trying to take as many extra classes as possible, while still searching for contracts and planning what happens when it’s all over.

My attention was directed to work shopping my final piece in hopes of  having something presentable for the critique process, which took place two weeks ago.  I was worried I wasn’t going to make it through my piece, since every time I had tried to run it before the showing, I stopped halfway because I had either sunk too low on the chain, or simply ran out of strength.  Almost every day, I curse at myself for deciding to concentrate on a chains piece in the last 2+ months of the program.  Not only that, but I have chosen one of the more difficult ways to hang the chain as it requires a lot of brute strength, endurance, and pain tolerance, coupled with the desire to be “delicate flower” and not a hardened biker chic, and I’ve definitely pushed myself so far over my own physical limits that my body is cracking slowly.  (I took a rest day yesterday in an effort to patch those fissures, primarily the ripped callouses of my palms and punctuated bruising on my shins)

The week of routine showing/critiquing followed the Liz Lerman Process – a method of giving feedback that removes as much subjectivity as possible out of the feedback and is designed to promote thought in the artist.  For instance, rather than saying “i liked when you did transition A,” an audience member would say, “When transition A happened, I felt (insert colorful descriptor here)”.  Similarly, the artist had several questions prepped for the audience, such as “Were there any moments in the choreography that did not follow the same flow as the bulk of the piece?” or “The overall mood of the piece was intended to be angsty, does my costuming reflect that?”.  After this, the audience has a chance to ask questions, but again, removing any subjectivity/opinion/biases.  So, rather than asking “Why?” the audience would ask “What was your intention?”  At first, remembering the language was hard, and some had a more difficult time than others when it came to withholding opinions.  For me, if I really enjoyed an element of a piece, or a piece in it’s entirety, it was very challenging not to say “OH MY GOD THAT WAS FANTASTIC YOU ARE SO AMAZING!!” and remember to phrase it via Liz lingo: “This moment in the piece made me feel ecstatic, excited, nervous, and so very very proud of you!”

The process took an entire week, and was a big physical and mental drain on all of us.  Immediately following my showing, I scrapped about half of my choreography as well as my entire costume and started anew.  The piece of feedback that really struck me was this biker chic/Western vibe I was giving off, which is exactly the opposite of what I was going for.  Rather than being the dancer that manipulates the chain, I want to be the vine that grows around it, portraying a soft, yet free-willed movement that overcomes the relentless barricade of emotions.

fragments

Still, it’s all starting to come together, and I am working on convincing myself that even as time ticks down quickly, it’s all going to fall into place as we approach show time.

Cro-Crazy

A couple years ago, I started doing an epic stash bust in preparation for my adventure.  I was determined to par down my stash to what I actually wanted, needed, realistically would use.  (This purge incited a panic attack in some of my yarn-hoarding cohorts, who quickly became the instigators in the yarn stores.  Having one who works for a dyer sure didn’t aide in this endeavor, either.)

Upon our arrival in Colorado, I unpacked several boxes of yarn, and one box of UFOs.  The UFOs sadly remain relatively untouched.  And, as my knitting time remains somewhat sparse, opening any of the other boxes has been a rare occurrence.  What I have managed to make has all been pulled from stash and was primarily destined for friends.  Two of those projects are still on the needles, but I’ve reached an “I’m too bored to go on” state with them.

And then, I found this crochet-a-long that captured my attention and I have been hooked (ba-dum-ching!)  Sorry, that was a terrible, yet irresistible, pun.

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I keep going around and around, curious about the next color change and texture.  I really ought to be working on the two projects I have to ship out for friends.  I really should.

Let me just pour another tot of whiskey, sit in the sunshine, and get right on that.

Hanging in There

I am the type of person that needs to have a physical day planner to survive life.  Not only do I need a physical book to log and look at, everything within it is color-coded, so that at a glance, I know exactly what is happening and what the priority is.  Blue is for school, green is for work, yellow is for due-dates, purple is for pay days, and pink is for extracurricular.  My book is mostly blue, followed closely by green.  And pink and purple feel almost non existent, while the yellow is always surprising (my rent is due today? what?)

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I’m not complaining though, because seeing all that blue means most of my time is spent hanging around – quite literally.  Out of curiosity, I counted how many weeks we have left in the program – this epic 9 month adventure we undertook.  The quickly dwindling number was bittersweet.  Nine months is not a long time at all, yet the days have all blurred into one and I feel like I have been here for ages, so having a blank schedule again sounds rather appealing.  On the other hand, aerial dance gives me so much inspiration and appreciation, I cannot imagine doing anything else.  The completion of this program results in our mama bird coaches pushes us out of the nest and telling us to fly with our own two wings, yet I still feel like a baby aerialist.  I have started putting together my promo material, updating my CV, and tentatively stretching and spreading my baby bird wings in hopes of landing a summer contract.

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While I am currently in the process of creating work (a chains routine and a static trapeze routine), I feel like I spend a lot of my time actually doing this – hanging off of my equipment comfortably as I socialize and contemplate what I’m doing.  I filmed one of my practices a week or so ago, and laughed myself silly at how I spent more time casually sitting on the bar than doing the conditioning I had come for, as well as how much more comfortable I am hanging out up there than on the ground.

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Ten Years – I Promised Myself I Wouldn’t Cry

On this day, 10 years ago, I was in a hospital room sucking on ice chips as my world was about to change permanently.  10 years ago exactly, I became the mother to the most amazing human being I have ever known.

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This journey has been far from easy.  In fact, it has been more difficult than any other dare devil task I have undertaken – from jumping onto moving trains, to jumping out of planes, to launching myself backwards off a trapeze.  When it comes to risking my life, it’s a shrug and a smirk on my part.  But, creating life, nurturing life – that causes so much more anxiety.

Before she entered this world, I was angry, depressed, and lonely.  I was eager to run away from the world.  At 15, my only goal was to finish high school so I could spend a year backpacking in Australia, with the determination that I wouldn’t stop traveling after that.  At 16, I found out I was pregnant.

It took two years and a few thousand miles of separation before I was able to be a mother.  I was trudging through the routine, going to college and working, and still trying to remember to feed her, get enough sleep, and still be attentive.  When an opportunity to study in Ireland presented itself, my parents urged me to take it.  They insisted they could handle things, and that I needed to be do it.  So, I submitted my application and found myself living in Derry for 6 months, and doing archaeology on Achill Island for 2.  In the middle, Ellette had her 2nd birthday and I realized that I really wanted to be a mother to her.

porch

Ellette is my counterweight – she pushes when I am still and digs her feet in when I move to fast.  She has always shown compassion for everyone, and constantly reminds me to see the good in people.  She helps me remember to be silly – from walking like cats down the bustling streets of Chicago, to singing about pink pajamas at the top of our lungs as we walk home from school, to building snow day forts and making silly faces.  She is my light.

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My adventure never stopped.  I have criss-crossed the country with her at my side.  We have had spontaneous road trips and meticulously planned trips, and she has been eager for every one.

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She has never asked “Are we there yet?”  She is the queen of 15 hours in a car – packing books and sketchpads and music and games to entertain herself.  She tells me to cool it when I feel road rage and is entirely game for detours to junk yards with rusty planes and vintage bikes and museums for obscure artifacts.  She can run across the fields with me and sit in the shade eating ice cream cones.

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So, 10 years have gone by so quickly.  And we have managed to pack a hundred adventures into them.  Let’s take the next 10 by storm.  Happy birthday, munchkin!

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Progress is a Sneak

Tunnel Vision – we all suffer it occasionally, especially as we work hard on specific goals.  Sometimes , it’s really easy to identify the headway you are making – a swath of fabric becomes a shirt, for instance.  And sometimes, it’s really hard to see the growth; suddenly you’ve arrived at your destination after a flat landscape and countless miles.

Twice a week, I’ve been taking a fitness class.  Pair that with how much dancing, biking, lifting, and general circus skill training I’ve been doing, and one would think my physical strength would grow in leaps and bounds.  But, over the past six months, my strength, and lack of, has broken me down in the middle of training more than I care to admit.  The frustration of doing the same exercise over and over and still seeing no progress would alternate between making me incredibly angry with myself and have me biting my lip so I don’t burst into tears then and there.

The support of my peers and instructors did nothing to temper this frustration either.  “Be kind to yourself.  No judgment.  See where you are this moment.”  I have started to resent these words, resenting living in the moment and being kind to my body, when I had been kind to it for so long but the strength wasn’t improving.  I would jump down from the trapeze in irritation because my long beats just weren’t working, and I growled at my skin the cat maneuvers because I couldn’t get my shoulders to engage.  I would work my core as often as possible, and still could only manage one knee hang sit up.  I had given up being kind.  There was no progress.  It just wasn’t working.

At the suggestion of one of my primary instructors, I scheduled a private lesson with the pilates instructor in hopes of finding out why I wasn’t progressing.  Was it a strength issue?  Was it how I sequenced my muscles?  Was I even using the right muscles?  After an hour of trying out different things, taking through how my body was feeling in each exercise, and a bit of poking at different muscles, we had come up with a plan.  Turns out, I wasn’t engaging the right muscles at the right time, my breathing was off, and I had to learn how to turn off over-eager muscles.  The next day, I added an extra knee hang sit up.

At the start of this program, we had a fitness assessment.  A page of exercises and stretches, along with a number, that we had to be able to achieve by the end of the 9 months.  The requirements were taken from audition requirements for some of the top schools/companies in the industry (National Circus School in Montreal and La Reve, for instance).

Our first assessment was in September – 6 months ago.  Our mid-term assessment was yesterday.

image In September, I threw myself into this program and risked injuring my shoulder again.  A lot of exercises I was unable to complete for fear of tearing a tendon or bringing back the intense inflammation.  My hamstrings were really tight, my body was compensating, and my back muscles wanted to engage when my core couldn’t.

Yesterday, I had biked 13 miles before arriving at class and I was still recovering from the chest congesting plague.  But at the end, I looked at my numbers and was amazed.  It was not only exciting because I was able to complete most of the list, but primarily because my shoulder isn’t twinging anymore.  I did 8 push-ups!  I sat on the floor for a moment after, marveling at the fact that for the first time ever, I stopped because my muscles were tired and not because I thought I risked tearing something.

I feel like Progress is sitting back on his heels now, chuckling merrily at the prank he pulled on me.  He withheld all hints of progress and then unleashed them at once, watching my eyes bulge in astonishment as I complete each task.

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