Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin
cswallow

Mile High Views

The view can sometimes be much clearer when viewed from a mile high.  I surprise myself by enjoying first class – the wine, the seats that are more armchair-like than anything else, and the easy openness of my seatmates. I wonder if there’s some correlation between people who fly first class and willingness to talk to other people.
 
My week, from here, is as disconnected and inevitable as the pinpricks of light gliding past the window.  I struggle with time in a way that I never did last year – I have difficulty carving out the pre-sleep hour for writing, and the evening hours for dancing, that I so easily slid into last year.  My emotional energy is spent instead on teaching, coaching, mentoring and seriously reflecting on what I want to do post-graduation.
 
It’s odd that the summer in China, which brought such clarity to my personality and the way I connect and interact with the amazing people in my life, would have also left me with so much chaos. And although I never believed that I would rely on a romantic relationship for fulfillment, the partnership that I had last year – and that I lost this summer – significantly contributed to my ability to stay focused and committed.
 
Already this year is heavy with completion. I gave 5 presentations this week alone. Steph came to visit me, and in the midst of my delight over her presence, I felt that we’d both reached a new level of self-awareness and a fresh perspective on our respective fields. 
 
The other night, I pulled into my driveway and then stood outside for some time, talking on the phone. A gray fox meandered into our yard, nose in the grass and fur shining dully in the light from our living room windows. He stopped when he heard my voice, and regarded me without fear for a long minute, ears perked and muscles utterly still, before turning to trot back around the corner.
 
Last night Ashley comes over and makes Chinese food – the peppers are so spicy that my lips tingle for an hour afterward. We speak in a mix of Chinese and English, and I feel closer to her than I have ever before,
 
Durham is riotously green now, and I can’t hold back the smile when I zip down Cameron Avenue on my way home. The air is so warm and sweet, and the enthusiasm of the first year students stokes my own fire.  I love to hear their thoughts; I wrap myself up in their blanket of shared uncertainty.  I have as much to learn from them as they do from me, and I’ve already begun to care for my mentees in an inexplicably passionate way.
 
Those are the lights that sparkle.
 
The darkness in between is my toil for getting from light to light. Last night I dream of hurricanes, of unrequited love, of the loneliness The darkness is my dance world, grieving for the loss of their own beautiful Lena Koukareko. It is my inability to meet the high bar of academic achievement in my courses, and  the unknowns of the future.  And, it is the chirp of my alarm at 5:30, time awake being my only weapon against my ever-present fear of underperforming.
 
Chicago very soon. I am half tipsy on the free wine, and half exhausted from a long, busy week. 
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