I love reading those little quotes on teabags.
I think this love stems from my childhood fascination with collecting fortunes from fortune cookies. Somehow words make me very superstitious. If I read an inspirational quote in a time of great stress-inducing event then I immediately feel that that quote fell out of the universe and landed in my lap to assuage my nerves. Anyways,I'm currently enjoying a cup of Breathe Easy Herbal Tea, and, as always, I look at the teabag quote with trepidation and joy. “There is pleasure in pathless woods.” —Lord Byron. This phrase hits home for me for a lot of reasons. I am about to graduate, and my future is still a mysterious forest of possibilities and questions. Today I ran all over Chelsea attending auditions, callbacks, and imagining what life might be like outside of Juilliard. The biggest takeaway from this year of challenges, failures, friendships, and accomplishments, has most definitely been the realization and the effort to find joy in the present, and accept the unknown nature of my future. I have had to believe in myself and enter rooms where no one else has affirmed this belief. I’ve traveled across the Atlantic, across America, and stomped NYC streets attending auditions and sending countless emails. This year I’ve made five original creations ranging from a collaboration with Juilliard415 to a solo for Choreographic Honors. Through all this I’ve figured out that there is no recipe for creativity or creation, and that a known path only limits the possibilities for you to stray and find small revelations.
I’ve learned that sometimes the only guarantee of joy—at least in my field—is your own hard work. You have to work because you love it and because you love yourself enough to know that you deserve to work hard. It doesn't matter who is watching or who might be keeping score. At the end of the day, you have yourself and the respect with which you treat yourself, your time, and the dedication to your practice.
I’ve learned that friends make this longing to seek a path for the future seem irrelevant. When I am with my friends the anxiety of the future melts away. We are all in the same clueless, horrifying, and wonderful state of standing on the precipice of the unknown. In spite of all of this we joke, we dream, we cook elaborate dinners in tiny kitchens, and we think of the ways that we will insist on a future that is bright. I watch my friends carve spaces into the world for the interests they have cultivated. Passions that have no definition or easy slot to fill. It makes me proud that my friends go into studios, offices, and institutions, and change the expectation and constitution of previous practices, policies, and standards. I like to think that now there is no path to follow because we are creating the future one stepping stone at a time.