It is so strange to go from a moment of complete joy to only be plunged back into a multitude of responsibilities that have been riding down your back.
It’s funny how you can return to a place of your youth, where you are reminded of the feelings and associations you made with the things around you.
You watch your slow-moving town quietly change. You hold mementos from your past you wish to bury. You revisit the places you used to love, only to grab hold of something you wish you had.
And, you see the people who awaken an old part of yourself–a familiar side–of which you feel you haven’t been able to fully embrace because the people you’ve known for so long and know best have not been around (you’ve been away from home).
These are the people you feel, in a way, most mentally, emotionally and physically alive around.
And while your heart oft drifts back to tend to your responsibilities, your dreams oft push you away even more because you desire to make something of yourself: the life you so envision for yourself.
And while you are pursuing yourself, you are also pursuing the gratitude and respect of others to be proud of the work you have put worth. Gratification is one of the artist’s worst desires.
Conversations with old ones remind you of your deepest, truest and most genuine intentions. They ground you back to reality, only to remind you that you have perhaps lost a little focus along the way, allowing you to re-focus.
And while, at the end of the day, you feel yourself very much alone and overwhelmed by the responsibilities and burdens others have held you accountable for, you find yourself signing off contracts and papers one hour, meeting up with staff the next, negotiating an online-ticketing system the next hour, calling for graphics to be made the hour after, while attending, choreographing and hunting down performers for a night-time showcase three days in a row, only to have those online-tickets cancelled in the end.
And then you set up weekend schedules, book locations for practices and rehearsals and booths to publicize, only to have them call you two nights before that your reservation is cancelled. And then you make calls all over Irvine for five-hours after class the next only to be denied by ten different people, and resort to forcing everyone to shuttle your cast to a nearby park with prayers of not getting kicked out.
And then you sit beside a rondalla all-day long, reminding you of the reasons you fell in love with your culture in the first place. You hope that they will save your production because–to be honest–you’ve missed your own creative and directorial influence. You want your production to live up to the art in culture that you have fallen in love with and known for ten years of your life.
But, at the end of the day, you ask yourself what makes for all of this. What makes of organizing this whole thing, to direct people to direct people. You collect your thoughts. You revisit your desires. You remember what is at the root of your heart.
And you find that your heart remains in the mysteriously breath-taking, musically-empowering, visually-stimulizing beauty that is music, dance and a cultural connection to you.
Art, Culture, Music, Dance: This is all the path towards knowing yourself better–finding what moves the ground beneath you and the air inside of you. It is about uplift, inspiration, identity, and a safety in knowing yourself and how you communicate yourself to others.
And when this is all done and over, you will feel both sad and relieved, disappointed by the undone and proud of the accomplished. You will feel yourself a better and grown person out of this, because you can only know yourself better–with what it is you truly are meant for–when you put yourself out of your comfort zone.
In two weeks time. What is to come of all of this?
Through the struggles and mistakes can you forgive yourself, for at least you can say you did it. You have new recognition of who you are, where you are and what is to come from what you have learned when you know your strengths and your weaknesses.
Is that not a beautiful place to be, in the light of struggle?
Long nights and stressful days.
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Photo Credit: saruworld @ Nihonmachi Street Fair, San Francisco, CA (8/5/2012)