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

My end and my beginning

"I do not know what makes a writer," said William Saroyan, "but it probably isn't happiness."

It is probably courage.

I've been sitting here for three hours trying to write an entry that encompasses what my life has been like in the long month since I last posted an entry here. Hap prompted this one, "keep posting to your blog." Some of the most painful aspects of the past five weeks are still too raw and close to my heart for me to write about them yet - I tried, but in the words of my high school English teacher Ms. Vosovic "Sometimes you need more distance on pain before you can say anything proper about it." The most joyful - like having my dear Fuqua classmates show up at my competition at Columbia University to cheer me on - have been celebrated plenty on Facebook.

And the rest are a long blur of work, practices, competitions, and the struggle to eat and sleep well enough. Charles came up to visit NYC this weekend, upon hugging me he said, "have you lost weight??" Not a good thing, when I'm already underweight. I got sick this past week - always a sign of me being undernourished, under-rested, and stressed out - and it sapped me even further. My mom tells me she's more worried about me now than when I was 20 and living on my own in a foreign country.

In spite of all that, there is much to celebrate. Our coaches tell myself and C that these early competitions "are just the beginning for you," and we start to develop a long-term plan - on the scale of years - for how we will be the best we are capable of becoming.  At APW, our programs and impact are growing, and we have a fantastic Spring Benefit coming up in just two weeks. In the corporate responsibility realm, and thanks to my fantastic boss, I'm developing an area of expertise that I can really own and be proud of. I continue to love living with Dora. And I can go to the studio every day, and always be sure of genuine hugs and smiles from the other dancers there.

Of all things in life, only change and death are inevitable. My pursuit of dance is definitely changing me and my path in life. Our COLE advisor, Joe LeBoeuf, once told us to understand very carefully how institutions shape us, and to be careful of what institutions we associated ourselves with...for whether or not we wished it, they would make us who we were.  I can feel my priorities shifting, just by the nature of me spending time in the dance community, in how my coaches talk to me about success and hard work and finding satisfaction, in how the other dancers express what is important to them or not important. I am cautious about who I choose as my role models, and am conscious about what kind of example I want to set when I am in the studio - in the way I interact with C and the other dancers, in what opinions I express or keep my mouth shut about, and the respect I give to the other dancers who share our space.

Nationals is five days away. So many people that I care about will be there.  Steph is coming from Atlanta. Ben will be driving me down. And I hope to see my dear friend Robert, whose advice has been so honest and caring in these past weeks. I can't wait to dance for them, this precious and beautiful act, which is the truest and deepest way I know of expressing my love for them.

So this is how it feels
To be heartbroken every day
Even while my soul flies
In wild circles around the room.
Did I call this the beginning
or was it the end?
(2014)
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