See those windchimes in the pic? Those were a moving present from my wise-beyond-her-years neighbor, Madison. I was moving from Royal Oak, MI...back to Chicago. She was 7 years old at the time, and we both cried (at different times) when I announced my return to Chicago.
Over the past 9 years, these chimes have gone from my friend's condo, to a rental home, and most recently...to my very own home. They always sounded perfect, year round...and reminded me of how the Universe likes to help. I've always had generous neighbors with welcoming porches and kitchens. Sitting on my deck last week (where I took this picture), I realized that Madison is sixteen years old now. What would I tell her about myself?
Well, here's a representative week of my activities:
I think it's very important to have a black (or almost black) kitchen. Paint names are important, because they obviously tell the story. Current paint names are 'Velvet Curtains', 'Black Truffle', and 'After Midnight'. What kind of nocturnal sideshow am I running in this bewitching bungalow?!
I think I'd suck at being a car salesperson (or any sales person) because I'd have to pretend everyone is my favorite person ever. But, Adam S at Subaru, you did a good job tolerating my asking of strange professional questions, wearing of sunglasses for the first few hours of negotiating, and driving kind of badly. I say I'm the best customer ever, and I know I'm full of shit. Until I have the ability to walk in with a bag of cash to buy a car, I'll say thanks for arranging my loaner car for a few weeks. Because my new car color has to match my kitchen.
I listened to a lot of Tool and A Perfect Circle last week. Because I see this pattern: some guy off the street can say the exact same thing I said two weeks ago...and suddenly it's new, super groundbreaking, insider information. Really? Yes. Forget it, just listen to 'Schism' since you guys don't hear me talking, anyway.
I regularly trespass into neighboring yards, because I ignored my dog for too long as I was looking at paint color descriptions, Tool lyrics, or stalking people on LinkedIn. It's 3:45am - I'm wide awake, watching her closely after she climbed a fence and mocked me all evening. But, I have to make sure she's ok while she's snubbing me from across the house. I'm also really hungry now because I gave her a bath and needed a beer more than food at the time.
I don't take or teach dance classes for the main purpose of connecting with others. I take them to push my own creative/expressive boundaries, and to question and validate my definition of my own movement. I teach dance classes in hopes that students create their own brand of confidence within their practice, and realize genuine expression through their movements. Also, if you saw me in Contemp-Hop Fusion class downtown a few weeks ago, you'd know that I'm embracing uncomfortable outside-of-my-box situations better than ever - it's like vitamins for me.
While I talk about 'sucking less' at any given task - it's about finding my full potential in that task, which is not necessarily the same as being 'better than I was last year, or better than other people'. That concept is a constant struggle for me. When I think I'm doing badly at something, it's because I'm trying to be 'who/where/how/when/why I think I should be'. For whatever reason, ambition doesn't motivate me so well. I'm not going to lie and say I don't seek any approval or understanding from others. I'm blabbing about insecurities in hopes that it helps someone feel normal, or understand what's behind all my goals, or even how this sheds light on some other eccentric individual in your world. I'm not quite that disconnected in all my artsy introspection. This is a public blog post and I'm sharing some my regular, honestly shitty thoughts. Otherwise, I'd just write it in a journal and leave it at that. (I do that, too.)
After a few recent discussions with artists (I still got that Ravenswood ArtWalk job), we all eventually quit caring about what people will buy...and just made what we wanted to make. Which then got a good response, because of course it's emotionally risky in expression...and quite personal. And people (even weirdos like me) support those who put that shaky vulnerable feeling out there.
(Note my ad campaign is moving to pictures of me, not particularly dolled up or super smiley...not what I think a dance teacher *should* look like, but rather openly tossing that notion. The word SHOULD is passive-aggressive. Don't judge me, Should. Hey...why would I suggest anything other than my RBF and unplugged costume preferences?)
I suppose that is something important that I'd want to share and discuss with a creative 16-year old I haven't seen in 9 years. I recall her telling me about various hairstyles and jewelry she could wear, but that it really didn't matter. And the day that I left town, I stopped by early in the morning, and she ran downstairs and said "Paula!" like that kid said "Peter!!!" in that Folger's Christmas commercial. I mean, she may not remember me at all. But she has been a helper whether she knew it or not...one hopeful chime ring after another.
Hey, Maddie. I'm doing ok and I know you'd understand all my rambling observations...as you did back when you where 7 years old. Here's a representative pic of me staring at a mini-van during my Springbrook Prairie photo shoot. I'm wondering why I think I can appeal to a dance student by standing in a field alone...and of course my photographer friend, Randy, captured the moment.