Sometimes, it is easier to find one good story or stock answer neatly packed in your back pocket when meeting up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Especially when you, yourself, have made a significant life change.
My daughter had been visiting from college for the past ten days in NYC, and some dear friends were here from Colorado. The first few days with our daughter, we had activity-filled days with trips to the hair and nail salon, Central Park, and experiencing a couple of amazing Broadway shows. Once our friends arrived, the days became even more packed with museums, ferry rides, and delicious restaurants. It was so fun to be able to be “the locals.”
After they had all left the city, I ventured to Chelsea Market for a brief visit with other friends before they departed NYC as well.
I had lots of conversations with each person about my existence here in NYC. However, something felt different when I reached for my story, which was still neatly tucked in my back pocket. I tried to change the narrative. Usually, when someone inquires about how life is going for me here, I tend to reply with my sob story. It goes a little like this: “I moved out here for Ashay, gave up my dance company, don’t have any teaching gigs, and keep getting rejected.” However, yesterday, I started telling my friends that I was changing my narrative, which took me right into describing the familiar story! Ugh! I couldn’t believe that I was not able just to say, “I’m applying for lots of jobs and residencies, and I’m hoping something happens!” Only after I’ve given my “woe-is-me” response do I usually follow with “I’m throwing spaghetti at the wall and waiting for something to stick!”
And so, at the end of each meeting with a friend, I’ve received warm, long hugs as they whisper in my ear to keep my chin up, keep going after my goals, and something is bound to happen. And while I love the big, warm hugs and the enthusiastic pep talks, I started to feel a little bit like a loser. Essentially, I’ve made myself my own victim. And, I really want to be done with that.
So, here is the plan. When asked about my life in NYC, I intend to tell them that I love it. I am inspired by the amount of art that resides here. I adore walking through the charming neighborhoods. And every time I spot the Empire State Building, I feel giddy with excitement. And then, I will also share this – Sometimes, I worry that my career as a choreographer who has her own dance company is over. I’m afraid I won’t amount to much in the city where I have always wanted to create. And, I honestly don’t know how this will all turn out. And all of that is my new narrative, my new trajectory. I am grateful, transparent, excited, and scared, all wrapped up into one.
I think it is important to write our own story. We can choose to be a victim or be victorious. We can choose hope or despair. And we can make our future, we can make magic, and we can make a beautiful life. It isn’t always easy, but not many things worth having are easy to obtain.
But, I’ll also finish my reply with this – I will continue throwing spaghetti at the wall. After all, it is the best way to see if it’s ready.