A few years ago, another dancer and I were driving back home, in the kind of beat-up car you’d expect a starving artist to cruise around in. Almost an exact replica of the one from Wayne’s World, but without the sweet licorice dispenser.
It was one of those odd days right before fall. Fog and mist became strangely smitten with one another, only to be broken up by a sunny afternoon floozy that appeared, then disappeared, until it was easily forgotten beneath a resurgence of damp and dreary fervor.
I remember this day well, because it was damn grueling.
It was a long drive after an even longer day spent shooting a short film. This short film “Missed Connections” was a bit of a retro musical, with me as one of the Busby girls, while my driving dancer buddy was the choreographer. It was shown at the Milwaukee Film Festival, as well as many other festivals around the States.
(Despite the silly story that follows, being a part of this film was an incredible experience.)
Anywho, on set one of the spirited hair stylists thought, despite my incessant warnings, that some retro finger waves would work on me. They didn’t.
And every time we stopped filming, she came dashing over to blind me with hairspray and stab me with bobby pins.
After ten or so hours of filming, running the dance sequences over and over again – here, there, and everywhere – my failed chic style had been gelled and sprayed so many times that it looked like I was sporting a large slug on my head.
On top of all that, I was in a skimpy leotard that I barely squeezed my ass into and wore borrowed heels which were too small. Every time they changed that camera lens, it was the kiss of death…do it all again, from the top.
For crying out loud! Somebody put me, my feet, my hair, and my uniboob out of our misery!
So, you get the picture. I was exhausted in a car with a slimy slug on my head.
It’s funny the things that we think about when we’re so tired, the kind of internal state that matches the thick haze outside. This uninvited calm often makes us reckless, in a good way.
That day in the car we had a conversation that stayed with me.
Both with day jobs, I was a dancer/writer and she was a dancer/visual artist, so we started talking about how we juggled it all.
Interestingly enough, we two go-getters came to an alarming conclusion. You can’t.
If your creativity is split in half, the fork in the road, neither direction will fulfill you. And, how in the hell can this lead to any sort of success?
Each road will be there and you may drive and drive and drive without stopping, but then you’ll run out of gas. And your desperate ass will be hitchhiking, wondering where it all went wrong.
Around this time last year, after a lifetime of dancing, I stopped. It wasn’t even a planned thing, it just happened. I became deeply involved with my Yoga practice and completed my teacher training last summer.
Then, in my usual Britt fashion, I took that too far.
I started a wellness/Yoga blog, accompanying social media channels, and taught like crazy…four days a week. All this time I was trying to squeeze in my day job, keep up with this blog and my third book, and eat, sleep, and live.
Where was my free time? That beautiful time to decompress and enjoy, to reflect and be open to inspiration. There wasn’t much, sometimes there wasn’t any.
The last half of 2013 I debated between a Yoga career and a writing career.
Sure, I wanted both. Did I have the time and energy to give both my full attention in my minimal spare time? No.
Naturally I tried my hardest, but it drained me.
By December I knew I had to choose. And, quite frankly, the choice surprised me.
Technically, a Yoga career would be the easier option. Wellness and health are in demand as they are a service, one where the cost can be validated.
Fiction writers struggle to make ends meet and it takes a long time to get your name out there. Art is subjective, difficult to put a price on, and bloody hell…there’s just so much of it out there!
But in the end, I chose writing.
After a month without posting, I decided to shut down my All the Way Yoga blog and social media, as well as free up my schedule by giving up two of the Yoga classes I was teaching each week.
It was hard, but it wasn’t painfully difficult. So, I knew it was the right thing for me to do.
I had become just like that hairstylist on set, determined to make the retro finger waves work on stubborn hair, putting more product, more pins, and more effort into all of it.
I went back to that conversation I had in the beat-up car after that long day of filming, with a slug on my head and a leotard hiked up my butt.
When I came face to face with exhaustion once more, I was taken down a notch. There I was again, idling at that damn fork in the road.
It’s not about limitations. It’s also not about going for something and failing.
Creativity is a beautiful gift, one which should be handled with great care. That’s what it’s about.
To all who supported my six month stint in the wellness world, thank you. For all who continue to encourage me to be a writer, thank you.
I’m lucky to have such an awesome community to keep me going. You are all necessary and lovely. Again, thank you.