20 June 2020
Welcome back fearless costumers!
Day 90 ‘gymless’ and Day 85 of official State lock down here in NJ. More shockingly it has been 319 days since my last blog and I confess I have missed you all so very much. Frankly my dance schedule and a data/wordpress issue I had thrown my hands up on how to keep blogging when pictures, data and time are a huge part of the equation. After much resistance I have solved my dilemma and while I do not know how much I can dedicate to costuming and blogging I am committed to trying to keep up progress updates for my costumes. I miss keeping track and sharing information with people about my dance journey and my process. How and why I didn’t get this figured out in my 90 days of no gym I have no idea- but I digress.
Everyone knows that 2020 has frankly been a pile of shit. *gestures vaguely at everything*. Scrolling through pictures from this year alone I’m struggling to understand how so many things happened already but yet nothing is happening. I participated in a fitness challenge and took 3rd place- looking my absolute best (shout out to James) and I went to the Arnold Classic to cheer on my friend (BRIBRI!) at her USAPL meet- and then somewhere in all of that the world fell apart. Pandemics- quarantine- continued police brutality- hangings- masks- just SO MUCH HAPPENED AND YET- NOTHING IS HAPPENING!
If you feel like it’s a lot- you’d be correct- it is.
Once lock down started in March, I started the intense preparations for going to test for my Suhaila Level 3 certification. This pretty much requires a part time job in the level of training in my spare time and all of my spare brain power. Then Covid-19 hit the States big time. My friend and I had been watching what was happening in China daily and then all the sudden it was here. Suddenly it was us. Suddenly we had to change. Suddenly we had to go home. And suddenly we had to wear masks everywhere. Everything changed. But my training continued- I had to believe in my training and diving deeply into my work to sustain. Hysterically- my job job and my dance training doubled over night and I was inundated with work and it was none stop. There wasn’t a second to grieve or even process. And as days turned into weeks- and weeks became months- and events began cancelling and then nothing was being planned- I clung to my training. Knowing well in my head it wasn’t likely I would be going to California I continued to press on and push. It was the only thing to keep me grounded and sane.
And then Covid had to take a back seat (but not gone folks) to the Black Lives Matter protests and movement over the tragic death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The world needed to change and this spark made it NOW. For better or worse- maybe because emotions were already ragged from the strained living circumstances, unemployment is at an all time high and people have no money- (Thanks Corona) but the time is now and we are going to do the things and our Country would not except the usual placation any longer.
My friends are tired of the constant battle to be heard and seen – the microaggressions and perpetual battle to not be seen as less than. White people (me) are learning daily what it means to really battle racism and social injustice head on- to really dig into the fight. It’s been an emotional few weeks for everyone and rightfully so. We have truly just begun and many of us are finding our legs on what our roles are in this battle.
If you’re new to this journey- my first recommendation is do some of your own homework. Don’t just go ask your black friends. They are tired- and you are not entitled to their time. I’ve been recommending this as starting point is Ijeoma Oluo’s book So You Want to Talk About Race. White Fragility is a book that I have also recommended but I hesitate to some degree as it is a white woman directly profiting on anti-racism which gives me some concern- but it’s also an excellent starting point for why white people have such a hard time with these conversations. (stamina yo- we have none)
Someone kind person named Charles has done an amazing job with a whole google drive library called the Black History Month Library if you’re looking for more material to read. And my last resource I would like to share is how to appropriately process feelings and not make my process part of the story. This article about White Tears is really helpful on how to be a better ally and still process your emotions- as you’re entitled to them and we can’t pretend they don’t exist. But context and situations matter and learning how to wade through feelings to find a space of “doing better” is the goal. It will not happen over night- it’s a life long journey- so BUCKLE UP!
I wish I had something profound to say, but I don’t, I’m just a girl trying to do better every day- and train to be a kick ass fucking dancer. And frankly I needed to start doing some typing again and get some thoughts on paper. If you made it this far- congrats:
Here’s your easter egg for making it to the bottom- caramel cookie crunch is the best Talenti gelato ever and Black Lives Matter. Die mad about it.
I truly hope and pray at this point you have found something to really ground down into – something to help keep you focused and sane. Even if it’s the smallest thing of doing some make up once a week, or a phone call to a friend or a walk. Whatever habit you have- I hope it is giving you relief and making you feel stable.
Thanks for joining me and I am looking forward to tackling more projects and chatting about my journey with you all!