This seems highly appropriate!
So after 3 plane rides and a 5 289-mile journey from Heathrow, I have returned to Tucson, AZ for my final year of graduate school as an MFA Candidate at the University of Arizona. To say it has been a whirlwind of a journey would be an understatement. I haven’t even begun to take in that my European trek is over and it’s hard to imagine 95days going like the snap of a Bob Fosse gloved hand. I do think that I will eventually get to a blogpost where I sum up, conclude, and take in everything that has happened. But for now it’s back to the grind as I head into my final year.
I clearly had some really good karma stocked up because, all things considered, two of my three flights were on time, my luggage wasn’t overweight, and myself and my luggage arrived at the final destination safe and secure. The last flight could certainly be misinterpreted as bad karma because of its 3.5-hour delay but considering there was a FAA computer meltdown, that our flight actually took off, and that it wasn’t canceled tells me that good karma was on my side. Not to mention the fact that I actually flew into Phoenix and my friend was happy to wait for me to get in before making the last 110-mile ride. Thank you immensely! I got in about 1:45am for a total 28-hour voyage.
Although I’ve never suffered from jetlag, this 8-hour time difference has proved to be troublesome this time around. I’m not sure if it’s the excitement of getting back, the sadness from leaving, or the nervousness of embarking on a thesis concert that is so incredibly near and dear to my soul that I’m not entirely sure if I can actually do it justice. Whatever the case, I’ve been hitting the ground running. I managed to get most of my syllabi for the two courses I will be teaching this semester completed over the summer. And our cohort also began a Google doc this summer to begin discussing our desires as MFA students for our final thesis projects. So I felt ahead of the game. Kind of!
Since being back, we’ve had a face-to-face cohort meeting about our concert and set a date for our next meeting. We’ve scheduled a meeting with our advisors and technical staff for our concert, and we’re in the midst of getting our audition date approved for said concert. We’ve had orientation, caught up on our summers with faculty and alumni, met the first year grads; and set a date and time for a little get together with the first years. We’ve scheduled a meeting with last years Co-Director for Jazz in AZ because two of us will need to be trained for this year. We’ve emailed about our second computer in the grad office not working. I’ve set up a meeting with my advisor to go over my schedule, pickup a paper from last semester, and discuss anything else that might need to be dealt with. I’ve handed over rehearsal assistant materials to the new rehearsal assistant. I’ve made copies of the Non-Majors Showings to do list and distributed them. I’ve contacted one of the first years to give her an example of my syllabus. I’ve peer reviewed a letter for one of my colleagues. I’ve begun to put together our concert’s audition notice. I’ve made notes for a meeting where I will be presenting information about the online grading and course material system we have at the university. I’ve shared posts of our MFA Dance Facebook page to get more momentum in the community. Check it out here! Yes-shameless plug!
I’ve created movement material for the Non-Majors Dance Audition this coming Saturday August 19th. I’ve scanned and digitized material from last year. I’ve made a doctors and dentist appointment, went grocery shopping, inventoried what we might need in the apartment, ordered necessities on Amazon Prime, cleaned the apartment, did laundry, went to the gym, picked up 5 packages from the mail room (with plenty more to come), ordered new dance clothes, bought my streetcar pass, set-up their app, renewed my yoga teacher certification, fixed a glitch in the transcript request for my study abroad in Paris, called my mom, made it to happy hour (once), and made giant daily to do lists before school starts. My favorite item on those lists is to make homemade gazpacho for my fiancé when he gets home from picking up our turtle, Hammy Stew, in Seattle.
And still the lists continue, in fact in 2.5-hours our cohort is meeting to discuss the presentations that we will be giving at the National Dance and Education Organization Conference in Phoenix, AZ in October of this year. I would like to finish my proposal for my Candidacy Project and set up my online classroom before Sunday if time permits and this jet lag keeps up. No rest for the weary!
I wouldn’t change a thing. The time is busy and the work is hard but it’s truly what I love. I’ve been thinking a lot about my career and my life so far and wonder how I got so far away from who I was when attempting to head back to school for a DPT in Physical Therapy. Although I am incredibly passionate about somatics and how it applies in a dance class the notion of quitting dance altogether seems insane to me now. I’m definitely not knocking anyone who has decided this path and honestly I commend you. I would love to discuss how you did it! For me, it seemed like I was cutting off a vital part of me that needed to create, to move, and to dance. I had the visceral reaction of panic attacks and insomnia. So perhaps that’s the biggest lesson I learned this summer is that you are who you are.
Fellow Canadian Michael J Fox said, “My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” And Jessica Lange wrote, “Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons.” I never knew that I needed to forgive myself for the decision to walk away from dance, even if it was but for a brief moment. I just told myself that that was stupid and moved on. Which brings me to negative self-talk, why are we so keen on putting ourselves down instead of building ourselves up? Yes we can surround ourselves with positive and happy people but that won’t stop the voices from telling us that we’re no good. It needs to come from within. It needs to be homegrown. So I forgive me for making that decision and I’m thankful you did because I wouldn’t be writing this blog here and now, today.