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Danseur Ignoble: Practical Considerations

Yesterday, I signed up for the GRE, which doesn’t sound like it will be too bad.

It’s also possible that none of the programs for which I’m applying actually require it, but I might as well get it out of the way.

I’m not worried in the least about the writing and language bits; my only concern was that I’d have to do a whooooole lot of math review, but it looks like it should be very doable, provided that I don’t leave it all ’til the last minute because SQUIRREL!

As a matter of perspective, I’m much less worried about the GRE than I was about my audition piece.

Curiously, having done the audition has somehow made me feel much more confident and capable, even though the audition itself was kind of a mess due to the fact that there was absolutely no way I could be really adequately prepared under the circumstances. I don’t know, just getting up and winging it, doing it anyway, was a huge confidence-builder.

There’s something about actually doing creative work that is deeply edifying. I may not have had much of the work done in time for the audition, but the part that was done looked like … well, it looked like real dancing, if that makes any sense? And, since then, I’ve been rocking along creating and revising, which feels really exciting.

I’m learning to think of myself as an artist (not just in terms of dance, but also in terms of the visual arts), which is something I’ve always been hesitant to do. It seems somehow hubric to do so — and yet, at the same time, I’ve realized that you have to take your own work seriously, or you don’t give it the time it needs to get done.

…Or, well, that’s how it works for me.

I’ve also started organizing information about application deadlines and stuff for graduate school. Eventually, the most pressing details (application deadlines and materials needed) will go into a table or spreadsheet or something so I can just check them off as I go.

I’m not organizing cost-of-attendance data yet, because every time I look at cost-of-attendance I really rather feel like my eyes are going to explode. I know I’ll figure it out somehow, just like I figure everything else out somehow, so for now, except for looking into scholarship opportunities, I’m more or less ignoring that whole zone.

So now I’m contacting graduate schools, signing up for open-house days for their DMT programs (in this sort of devil-may-care, I’ll-figure-out-how-to-get-there-later kind of way), and so forth.

It’s a weird place to be, somehow. A couple weeks ago, I was all, I don’t know if I’m going to be ready for this; I don’t actually even know if I want to do this. A lot of that stemmed from being persistently sick for a rather longish period, though: eventually, I’ll write about what that does to me emotionally, but I can’t figure out yet how to put it into words.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, I woke up, remembered what I want to do and why, and felt ready to get started … so yesterday, I did.

I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that this happened within a week after getting back to class.

The structure that ballet provides is so essential to my life. While I actually do very much like being a homemaker, I seem to do best when I have a schedule imposed upon me from the outside. It forces me to organize my time in a way that’s really quite difficult for me to do otherwise.

Moreover, going to class is, for me, a signal that things are normal; that life is moving along in its usual rhythm. Not going to class is a signal that Something Is Very Wrong (usually, that either my physical or emotional health has imploded).

That said, I didn’t take Wednesday class yesterday because I don’t quite yet feel like my respiratory system is up to the demands of Brienne’s class. Lingering cough is lingering.

That said, I forgot that Margie now teaches a Wednesday morning class which I could have taken instead. Derp.

I’m hoping to be back up to speed next week, but if I’m not, I’ll do Margie’s class on Wednesday morning (I’m trying to avoid doing evening classes except on rare occasions, since this time of year it means getting home at 10 PM, which is problematic for a number of reasons).

I wrote in yesterday’s post about the relative costs of therapy and ballet as part of my defense of the cost of dancing — not to say that ballet should replace therapy, but it augments therapy rather beautifully. For me, the sense of structure and, I suppose, of belonging are an enormous part of that.

Dancing is part of what makes my life whole. For practical reasons as well as purely impractical ones, it’s terribly nice to be dancing again at last.

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Quickie: Plans

On Wednesday, B. and I were chatting during the quick break between barre about how we’d both lost so much ground to injury this year (she with a stress-fractured foot; I with my calf and then my toe). I was like, “Can you believe we were doing brisees last year?”

Anyway, that’s kind of a theme for me, right now. In some ways — mood-wise, ballet-wise — I’m sitting at the bottom of a long climb back to where I want to be.

Fortunately, as a cyclist, the ability and willingness to climb ridiculous hills was and remains one of my strengths, and I feel like maybe I can translate that over to the rest of my life.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to climb this particular set of hills quickly. Just that I know myself well enough to recognize that I’m probably going to make it (even though I’m in that weird place, right now, where you’re rational enough to know that the voice in your head that constantly yammers on like, “You’ve squandered your potential and will never amount to anything now!” is a crazy voice, but not yet in a place where you can make it STFU).

Anyway. So I’m gaining ground more slowly than I would like, but I’m gaining ground.

I guess I can pop in another bike-racing analogy, here: one time, Timothy and I raced Death March while both of us were recovering from various winter illnesses, including some kind of gut thing that was going around. In short, neither of us had been able to eat like a normal person for several days, and we were what a long-ago Arnold Schwartzenegger might have termed “weak little girly-men,” and we did nothing fast, least of all climbing … but climb we did, and (as evidenced by the fact that I am sitting here in my living room, writing this post), we lived to ride another day (in fact, the next year we came back and roundly spanked half the field, although we were in turn roundly spanked by the other half).

Sometimes it sucked, and sometimes we walked our bikes, but at the end of the day, we kept going and eventually made it back to the ranch without having to ride in the Broom Wagon.

So, anyway. I’m not all there yet, but I’m not ready to wait for the broom wagon, either.

As such, here are some plans for upcoming posts, with no particular timeline in mind (though next week would be nice):

  • Two Cooking With ADHD posts:
    • What To Do With 10 Pounds of Chicken Leg Quarters (Because They’re On Sale)
    • How To Make Bread And Influence Impress People
  • One hopes, a string of Ballet Class Notes, as my foot can definitely handle at least 3 classes per week at this point if I don’t jump too much.
  • Maybe a post about writing? I am doing that still.

In other news, I am rocking along in Homemaker Mode and actually rather better at it than I used to be.

This is comforting.

Some of it, of course, is the Miracle of Modern Medicine (go, Adderall!), but some of it is simply a function of the fact that, amazingly, I do appear to be able to learn.

I’m hoping my friend Robert (Hi, Robert!) will be able to come visit before we head out to the desert; maybe when he does I’ll ask him to collaborate on a Cooking With ADHD Video Post, since we have two different flavors of ADHD and we might find different things helpful.

Oh, and I just read Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, and I highly recommend it (if Regency-era romping bisexual sword-wieldy people sound like your cup of tea).

That’s it for now.

Maybe if I ever manage to get Cooking with ADHD rolling, I’ll expand it into a guide for the ADDle-pated Homemaker. Goodness knows I could use one!

The Way From Here To There

I should be doing my homework, but instead I’m being distracted by the internet. I went to bed last night with a sore-ish knee, slept badly, woke up early with a knee that had progressed from sore-ish to sore, so I’m sleep deprived and grumpy and being marginally lazy to see if the knee will sort itself out(1).

Something I read a few clicks back reminded me of a thought that’s been percolating in here for a while.

We hear a lot about people talking themselves out of their dreams by saying, “I’m not good enough,” or “I could never be x,” or being unwilling or unable to just visualize themselves as being whatever it is they hope to be(2).

We don’t hear as much about a problem that I suspect is just as common, if not more so — being able to visualize the top of the mountain, so to speak, but having no idea how to get there.

Right now, there are things in my life I can see myself doing and being great at. I just don’t really know how to get there. My worries aren’t about the destination — I have absolutely no doubt that I’d be awesome at being the things I want to be — it’s more about the journey.

Like, seriously, where did I put my map? And, um, is that a canyon between Here and There?

"Canion Chapada dos Veadeiros" by Daniel Francisco Madrigal Möller - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Canion_Chapada_dos_Veadeiros.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Canion_Chapada_dos_Veadeiros.JPG

What could possibly go wrong?

Original image via Wikimedia Commons, here.

This question bugs me much more than I like to admit. Like, I have this goal: become a dance/movement therapist. I feel confident that I’d be good at it. But I have only the vaguest notion about how I’m going to get there. Like, Columbia College looks awesome, and I really want to go there, but there’s a huge canyon between Here and There, and its name is OMG HOW DO I PAY FOR THIS?!

And I am pretty confident that I can make good dances that will be worth watching, and I can totally envision the Philip Glass Project coming together at Burning Man next year. I just have only faintest, foggiest idea how I’m going to make it happen.

Come to think of it, it might make more sense to imagine all this as a bunch of blank spots in the map labeled “here be dragons.”

I have enough Zen under my belt to know that it’s silly to worry about all that; that worry doesn’t solve anything and that we can’t control anything anyway.

Yet, still, I look out at the horizon, and I see this misty zone full of what might be chasms, what might be dragons; I look at my map, and I see this unknown, this void, which is more or less labeled “KAY DEFINITELY DRAGONS HERE.” And sometimes it freezes me in my tracks and/or makes me want to flee in terror.

...FOUR IS RIGHT OUT.

…FOUR IS RIGHT OUT.

A billion internets if you get that reference without Googling(3).

So, anyway. I guess the whole point is that, at the moment, the only way forward is, well, forward. With occasional divertissements, of course, to cope with dragons and such. And possible detours, and Alternate Routes(4). And maybe even a different destination in the long run, because who knows where I’ll be five, ten years from now? I know what I want, but what I want and what will be might not turn out to be the same thing. It’s possible I could discover some other Personal Mecca where I will bloom spiritually and otherwise.

I also know I’ve battled dragons before — some of which were big and terrifying and stuff, and some of which turned out to be Not-At-All-Smaug-Like Dragons who invite you in for tea and cakes (and don’t intend to serve you in the cakes).

And, more importantly, I’ve come through, and I’ve learned things.

Yet, I’m still convinced that any dragon I encounter is going to be a Problematic Dragon, and that I Will Not Make It.

So I can’t say I’ve got it down, yet. I’m still very much in the “Was that, ‘Carry wood, chop water?'” phase of my quasi-Zen existence. Like, I know the basic idea, but I’m not great at remembering it when I need it.

And, frankly, those gaps in the map kinda freak me out.

But, you know. Writing about it makes me feel a little better, so there you are.

That’s it for now. Homework does not seem to be forthcoming, so I’m going to go do housework instead in an effort to do accomplish something useful prior to running away to the Giant Ballet Party tonight.

Notes

  1. The knee is a bike fit problem. Specifically, there’s something about the pedals on the Karakoram that makes my left knee (and ankle, but the knee gets the worst of it) very unhappy if I clip in. The knee is fine on the Tricross, on which I use the same shoes, so I think it’s a question of the pedal stand-off being a little too wide.

    I kind of hate the pedals on the Karkoram anyway, so I think I’m going to donate them to our local bike collective (whenever I finally get down there!) and find something else. I might even try platforms with mini toe-clips (the “urban” kind without straps).
  2. I now totally have that “Be All You Can Be” song from the old Army commercials stuck in my head.
  3. Ni!
  4. There is an official Alternate Route to becoming a DMT, and it’s there on the map if I need it.
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