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

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A Desire for Wisdom

I begin writing this entry a week ago, but halfway through my earnestness deserts me. In an attempt to coax my writer's voice forward, I've been scribbling in my journal every day on my way to the studio. I try to find good words, interesting ways of stating facts, a sentence that is exciting. But it doesn't work. My prose remains flat. At a writer's workshop at Stanford, long ago, the instructor told us to seek the unexpected, to say things in a way that were both truthful and fresh. My writing has gone the opposite direction.

After spending time with Fuquans last week, I felt lucky (as I always do) to be amongst such beautiful, alive people.  But my own lack of social skills hobbled me. Despite being surrounded by people in this city, I wrapped myself in silence. My feelings don't come out. What I say sounds trite and still, mere acknowledgements of what others have said without any chance to add value of my own. Or when I do speak. I feel aggressive, impatient. These months have not been kind to me. For while I have progressed significantly in my dancing, I feel my mind shrinking. I can't help but wonder: why can't I fulfill the potential of my mind and my body at once?  Why does life not allow us this duality?

One week ago, after practice, Jana and John took me to the International Center for Photography, and then treated me to dinner and conversation. I loved these moments, the newness of them, and the way their kind thoughtfulness lifted me up.  Jana even dropped me off at home. In the hours afterward, new ideas flashed their colors like koi fish surfacing, only to disappear again into the muck of my still mind.

Then yesterday, I cracked my head against another dancer's while dancing foxtrot; neither of our partners stopped us in time, and I, dizzy, couldn't even finish practice. This morning I woke to a headache, move through the day against the backdrop of a dull pain. And yet while riding the train to Jersey for work, my eyes seemed to sharpen. Details peeling off before me: the garden hose draped against a wall, the splash of turquoise graffiti on an overpass, a pond glistening flatly in the overcast light. In the evening I sit with old and new friends, tasting Shake Shack for the first time, discussing the difficulties of love. The air is rich with recent rain, filled with chatter and happiness, and that moment is pure freedom... and I think for a moment I have found myself again. Yet when I sit amongst strangers on the subway home, my arms cradling a Bloomingdale's bag that balloons with my competition gown, I feel depressed and worn down.

What happens when all the things that made me happy - writing, dance, being with people I love, working on something meaningful - seem to now only reinforce my lack of progress in these areas? I need wisdom.
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