…but I Promise It Won’t Be Boring

Performing! Ack! I have a love/hate relationship with it. On one hand, it seems to be the thing that justifies all of the hard work I put into aerial. Without an audience, it’s just a therapeutic workout. On the other hand, it tends to exacerbate all of my perfectionist tendencies and personal insecurities. I will be performing for the first time since the birth of my son this Saturday, at a collaborative event called Circo for the Community. I am using the term “performing” very loosely. I’m doing a half hour set of ambient lyra work, along with three other ladies before the main choreographed performance. Despite my efforts to give myself the most low-key entrance back into performing, it still feels very “real” to me. There is the ubiquitous, “But I have to wear a leotard….in front of people…and I’m not back to where I want to be…” mental clamor. I’m trying to calm that by reminding myself that body snarking is one of the things my brain likes to do to myself when I’m nervous, coming back from pregnancy or not, so that voice can just hush. My skill vocabulary is still on the light side, but I think I have enough that ambient will go off well. We are also getting ready for the Albuquerque Aerialist Collective’s next smallshow in April, in which I will be performing on static trapeze. This piece will be much more ambitious, both in skill and in intent.

These performances, so close to each other have my nervousness amped up high. I often feel like I have Imposter Syndrome, both as an aerialist and a graphic designer, and I have been trying to read books and engage in activities that will help me feel more grounded, as an artist, as a small business owner, and generally as a person. I attended an Adobe Creative Jam in February that was inspired by the above quote by David Bowie. It was inspiring to listen to other art professionals in my city talk about their process, and then to see works inspired by one of my favorite musicians. His passing has affected me deeply, much more profoundly than I was expecting actually. (But really, it’s sort of ridiculous.) His perseverance, his cerebral approach, and feelings of isolation have proved meaningful to me. If David Bowie feels like an imposter weirdo while hanging out with John Lennon and Mick Jagger and being one of the most successful musicians in the world at the time, then clearly these thoughts are not actually based in reality. The Power of No was a strange read, but reinforced the need for setting good boundaries, daily working on fulfilling my goals, and creating habits that make the other two possible. Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman, is a pure shot of self-confidence in a nice small package. I’m also currently about half-way through Daily Rituals. Most of these people were not primary caretakers of children, and did not have jobs other than the creation of their art, so my situation is quite a bit different. Toni Morrison’s routine was inspiring, and I think that the recognition that so many approaches to creation at many different stages of life is calming.

Another really useful thing that I have started to do is to get up after the baby wakes up to eat at 5:00 or 5:30. It’s obnoxiously early (and to think, I used to be a night owl), but it allows for several important things. The first of these is that I can pee and then make and drink my cup of coffee before I do anything else. Previously, I would go back to bed but often only get to sleep for a half hour to an hour before the other kids were awake. I’d be groggy and exhausted, and often be up for an hour reacting to the things that they needed, before even having the wherewithal to go to the bathroom. Then all I’d want to do is drink my coffee, but was trying to do that while nursing a baby, and having my five-year-old want breakfast and rapidfire asking questions. The next thing I knew it would be 10:00 and I’d still be in my pjs, with no breakfast, and a cold cup of coffee. No good. Now I can leisurely drink my coffee, and often spend that half hour to an hour working and getting projects done. If the kids sleep in, then suddenly, I’ve gotten two hours of work done and can focus on them once they’re up. It’s been an unspeakably helpful thing to my days.

Are there routines, inspiration, or habits that have helped you be successful in your goals? Please share below! I’m creating a list, and will review them as I go.