Things These Days


Hooboy, the last few months have certainly been a roller coaster. It's been busy times, with lots of shows and major events, and I am starting to settle into autumn and the impending winter. I'll confess, though, that my depression, negative thoughts, and anxiety have popped back up, and it's not been pleasant. I am very cognizant of this, though, and try to be good to myself and change my way of thinking when things get ugly, and listen to what my body needs when the anxiety gears up. The odd thing is that I don't really get super nervous for all these shows that I've been doing, but small and awesome things like seeing friends or leaving the house become terrifying.

But I have to respect my life and body and really listen to it. I am in control of my life and actions, so this means that I am making some changes. I have been overworked creatively, and so I am pulling back on the amount of projects that I am working on. I have turned down 4 shows and pulled out of 2 more in recent months. It is hard to turn down work, and I never want to let anyone down, but my personal health and well being has to come first. And I know that I am not able to give these shows exactly what they would need right now, especially when I am feeling the need to slow down and be quiet for a little while. I am dancing a LOT these days, and really enjoying doing one-night style performances like the ones I've been doing lately--they really speak to my sensibilites, require small commitment (cause I am not a fan of a long-term project or an open run), and allow me to really say things that I've been meaning to say. So right now, my focus is going to be working on the following: Steve Gadlin's Star Makers (which is in production, with 4 episodes wrapped and 22 more to go), directing SNORF, DJing for She's Crafty, promoting Drunk Monkeys, the one-off shows, Modet and a new dance project that I will get to in a second. 

Ok, I am aware that that list is very long, and likely incomplete. But that's me doing less than usual, I promise.

SO--I want to talk about dance for a minute.

If you know me, or have been reading my blog for any long period of time (and I thank you if you have--what a journey it has been since I started writing), you have seen my trek through the dance world and reclaiming being a dancer instead of only a choreographer. You know about the forming of Modet and how joyful that has made me. I am happy to report that Modet is back from a small break, and we are starting to work on our Spring show--I even started teaching a new piece yesterday. I love choreographing for this group, because they are so talented and can really bring what is in my head to life.

But the newest excitement to my dance life is with a company called Shmib. Melissa Talleda, Modet member and the woman who runs the dance studio that we are working out of (and who I am forever grateful for for donating her time, resources, and energy into Modet) has a company that she started in Baltimore and has now brought to Chicago, and in it, I get to just be a dancer. It is way out of my comfort zone, as the movement is primarily Modern, which I am not trained in, but Melissa is so loving and supportive, that I rarely feel intimidated or out of my league. We rehearse a few times a week on a number of different pieces, and it is bringing so much joy and stress-relief into my life. Case in point--last week, I was suffering from the beginnings of a panic attack. I canceled the plans that I had that evening, and started to breathe easier. I realized that in freeing up my evening's plans, I would be able to go to a rehearsal that was initially going to have to miss. I hesitated, not knowing if going was going to make things worse, but I went. And I moved. And I pushed myself. And I was surrounded with the other dancers who are amazing and beautiful and fun and full of love and compassion. And guess what? It made me feel so good. Stronger. Confident. I was full of life and energy and joy and I WAS HAPPY. I came home a new person. This feeling happens after each rehearsal. It feels good to move my body, and it feels good to feel successful in pushing yourself to the limit. It feels good to create something together and to see the outcome. It's great to just leave all my shit at the door and escape for a little while. I am dancing more now than I ever have, and I bet 18 year Erica, who gave up dancing because of her knee pain and physical limitations, would be FLOORED that 35 year old Erica is doing what she is doing and dancing so much. I am really proud of myself.

I am not currently in therapy, although I know that I likely should be. Things have been tough lately, both in my own life, and in the lives of the people that I love, and everything lately has just felt HEAVY. So right now, dance to me is my therapy. I can put my all into the movement, and I can forget all my troubles for a little while, and just move and sweat and laugh with others, and not be in charge for a little while. It is such a gift, and I am so grateful that this is what my life is looking like these days.

Though I am always sore. Like, always. Everything in my body hurts.

But you know what?  It's worth it.


Love you so much. Talking through the anxiety is such a help and I'm proud of you for being open. I am coming off a particularly bad run of it myself but feeling much better. It takes time and work and healthy self talk. For some reason fall always is a trigger. The changes and endings and all that.

anyway, you are loved and you are brave and you are wonderful. Everyone knows it.

Thank you so much, Crescent. My impulse has been to shut everyone and everything out completely, but (this week in particular), I am trying to be more open about to to everyone, so folks can know where I am coming from. It feels good to write about it.

I am glad you are feeling better, and if ever you need anything, know that I am here for you.

I love you!