Sunday, September 15, 2013

Brain Body Continuum

The lack of writing that I did this summer was not only blog-specific. At first I guilted myself over this, as that seems to be a natural reaction to lack of productivity. But then I stopped that nonsense. The guilt, that is. I think this is the first time I've made a switch like this: I spent a couple months living more in my body than my brain and for a short time it was exactly what I needed.

I've been working at the desk at the yoga studio down the street, and doing a bunch of free yoga. I've done more burlesque. Made a bunch of costumes, for shows, events, and Comic Con. Spent 5 nights in the hospital with Tenebrae and we both survived (him with a dead/undead appendix). Made a ton of awesome new food. Went swimming in the damn ocean for the first time since high school. Drank probably way too much, but have no regrets.

I'm coming back to my second and last year in grad school with no work done to my thesis, but am surprisingly okay with this. This will be a very different and probably intense year, and I think I'm as ready as I can be. On top of all the writing I'll be doing, I'm teaching for the first time. I've spent over a year convincing myself that this is the most terrifying thing in the universe, and now I'm trying to convince myself that I'm super cool and collected. On the first day I had them write about planning their own funerals. Yes, I've been put in charge of shaping young minds and this is what happens. Additionally, I'll still be tutoring and possibly bar tending at CalArts. And keeping the yoga job. And still dancing. I can't say how long all of these will last until some start cannibalizing others.


On friday night I had another burlesque show, one which I was massively conflicted over for various reasons. (Though to be fair, it seems like I'm massively conflicted over most things most of the time.) First, it was friday the 13th, and the fact that the show did not capitalize on this glorious date struck me as a huge waste of an opportunity. I did not advertise it for this reason. It was a Broadway tribute, which on any other day would have been just great. But not on friday the 13th.

The second reason was strictly between me and myself. I did Mein Herr from Cabaret, which I've done before. But I had done it first for a bachelor party type event, which of course held its own set of massive internal conflicts. Anyway, the way that I feel about performing burlesque is that if I'm not doing something new and different (or at least abstractly supporting something new and different), then there's no point. But Mein Herr is already a burlesque style number, and therefore nothing is being added to it by performing it. 

However- and this is in a similar vein to the mental switch that I made over the summer- I decided to convince myself that it was okay. I decided it was okay to show up, have some fun, be sexy, and make a little money without concocting a work of creative genius in the process. To be clear, I don't think it's a good idea to approach burlesque or any kind of performance this way in general. But in order to say "yes" to more things, and also to be able to make a little extra money here and there, I have to tone down the creative and political pressure that I put on myself to make Art. Not everything has to have a capital A.

Now, despite describing this as a super nonchalant show-up-and-be-sexy thing, it still took quite a bit of work. And yet when I got up there, it felt like it was over in five seconds. I know this is a common phenomenon for performers, and not at all a unique experience, but it really surprised me. Like, I almost wasn't there for it. Was I just extremely on top of it or a complete waste of space? I couldn't say. I know it's better than feeling like a song is going on way longer than it should; that's when you know something is wrong. But it's like I spent all this time planning and rationalizing something that barely happened, physically speaking. 

I think my point is that in a time when I'm about to encounter an avalanche of new things to accomplish, I'm trying to learn that it's okay to not be perfect. Otherwise I'll never get anywhere.