Wherever you are, I hope you’re safe and well. And that you and those you care about are well.
I wanted to share where I’m at and where I am. I’m safe. I’m well. I’m with my parents.
I quit my job
I’ve contemplated pursuing dance full time for in my quiet heart since 2008. More openly since 2015.
I’ve kept a day job alongside my dance practice for almost my entire working life. At times I’ve worked 3 jobs – my day job, consulting and dancing – building an economy where I could rely less and less on a salaried role and train and perform more. I promised myself I’d give myself a year when I turned 30 to focus on dance. 30 came and went. Then 31. Then 32. I’m now 33 turning 34 on 21 May.
I quit my day job and my last day in full time employment was 27 February. On the 1 March, I flew to California for a brief stopover to see my parents who were on holiday, then I flew onward to do a dance residency with the folks at Swing Mexico intended for two months – the kick off to my self-employment. Thanks to COVID-19, that residency lasted 10 days.
I’d packed up my belongings in London expecting to couch surf and move upon my return in May. When the PM of Canada announced that it was time for ‘Canadians abroad to come home’ – I wrestled with staying in Mexico where my health insurance was void (thanks to the pandemic) and where my fluency wasn’t adequate if I took sick. My friend Dave said to me ‘anxiety weakens the immune system’ and his words rang in my head as I thought about my parents and how we’d cope if one of the family took sick. I went to the airport that day and booked a one way ticket to Toronto.
I booked a place to self-isolate for the mandatory 14 days, I stayed with a friend for 14 days, now I’m staying with my parents.
When I decided to get on the plane – I didn’t exactly realise that I was ‘moving home’ for an indefinite period of time. That fact rolls over my like a wave, sometimes I ride the top of it, sometimes I feel the crash and the undertow. I am safe. I am well. I am with family. The rest will reveal itself in time.
So what am I doing?
I’m mourning. I was so excited to train my partnered lindy hop. It felt like the beginning of the rest of my life where I could train everyday and be the kind of dancer I can see in my mind’s eye.
I’m focusing on what is in my control. I’ve had a host of health conditions that have resulted in weight gain. In my excitement to train, was also the unspoken desire to feel in my best physical form. I have artistic ideas that require greater strength and agility – I don’t need a partner to hone that. Mercifully, I have dear friends who have rented me some studio space here so I have somewhere to practice. Training is my job right now. I’m focusing on that except when I can’t and then I’m watch Netflix and drinking wine.
I’m feeling my feels and checking in on others. I’m crying when it comes, feeling angry when it comes, asking for help and managing grief. I am checking in on my dear ones and those who are alienated. I’m simultaneously feeling the above alongside love for family, universal healthcare, worldwide friendships, the internet, music, mobility and access to fresh food. All the things at the same time.
Being indulgent and quiet feels good. Being helpful feels good – when I have energy to spare. I’m making it up as I go along really. Many of my dearest friendships are distance friendships so that’s not new – but it’s really nice to have so many ways of connecting.
I’m really looking forward to those first proper hugs when they happen. And that first make out with someone I’d like to make out with. And when I get to dance partnered lindy hop again.
Whatever you’re doing or not doing – cool, respect! I bow to your needs in this crazy time.
Keep well. Be safe. Keep in touch. There’s more to come.