The Essence Of Delicacy

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The raindrops fall outside my basement apartment Saturday morning, March 26, 2016. (Photo by Shelton Burch | Poet598.Wordpress.com)

What a beautiful day!

That *click, click, click* sound of the raindrops on the pavement is a bit how I imagine soft-shoe tap should be, or like good choir music: soft, but not “weak.” Not even necessarily “restrained.” Delicacy is an art, and the rain is delicate. It does not restrain itself, but rather it gives only what it needs to give to make its point then stops. There’s tremendous beauty in controlled strength. Why else would non-dancers watch dance.┬á­čÖé

I realize I’ve just given you a lot with that one, so I’ll stop. Have a good day everyone┬á:).

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Starting My Health Journal

ImageThis is my health Journal.

As I take Jazz Dance 1 this semester, I’m told that for part of our grade we have what’s called a “professionalism” rubric. It has cool stuff on it, such as being punctual and that kind of thing. There’s lots on there, and this is just one component.

So when I found out that I would have to do this, I had the idea to write it on here. Thus, a new header up on the top hopefully.

So here is my first post, for my kind teacher and for all of you who might ever be curious. This is how I’m starting the semester :). Enjoy

Feb 6th, 2014. Entry 1

These are┬ámy newest objects of….meh, semi-obsession. As a distance runner, I’ve been constantly trying to step up my game. At age 24, I feel like I’m getting to a point physically where I’m able to do more and push myself harder with less chance for injury than ever before. Runner’s World magazine, as well as a host of other sources that┬áI’ve scoured over the topic, point me to that. But here’s the problem. Take a look around you, just pause and look around, and see if you can see a wall. Now if you’ve eventually looked back at this post and are reading this, well then good, I haven’t lost you. Now consider this. That wall you just looked at…meh, it’s probably more flexible then me at the current moment. If┬áeach of us┬áhad to touch the floor while standing straight up, it’d probably be easier for that wall do it than it currently is for me. I hope that’s an exaggeration, but it might not be.

So here’s the point; I need to work on my flexibility. I knew that starting 2014. Now, I’m doing something about it. This semester, I’ve begun to practice Yoga. Just a basic, generic yoga while I look up and research different types and figure out if I actually like this stuff. I formally began my practice on January 27th when I signed up for the the 30-Day Challenge at DoYouYoga.com with Erin Motz. She’s a beast, a completely awesome teacher who bases her practice on the idea that Yoga can be for everyone; not just those who want to take it as a religion and not just for those who have hours a day to practice. Her videos are all under 30 minutes so far, (though I’m only on day 11 yet). She’s great though. As I go into Jazz Dance 1 with┬ámy┬ábeloved teacher┬áevery Tuesday and Thursday, I am reminded of how far I have to go as an athlete, and it’s something I love. I see these girls, and even some of the other guys, demonstrate flexibility in a way it will take me some time to achieve. And I love it. As a runner I’m not world class, but I have it down more or less, and now it’s just a matter of fine tuning it for me. Improving my diet, doing core work and other things to strengthen muscles that support my running, and that kind of thing.

Yoga though, now THAT is a process. And that’s what I like about it. And as I start my ‘practice’ and find myself loving the peace and solidarity of it, as well as┬áthe link that a student can have with one particular teacher’s style, I find more than anything that I love the process of it all together. That’s what has me hooked on dancing as well. Three weeks into class, and two weeks into my Yoga practice, I’m finding, by reading all that I can online, that Yoga isn’t a “can” or “can’t” thing, and I believe dance is the same way. It’s all what your body is ready for, and just because your body isn’t ready for it yet, that doesn’t mean it WON’T ever be if you continue to work at it. I guess this topic probably merits it’s own blog post, so I’ll step back off of it for now. But in the meantime, just know that I’ve started to work hard to improve myself physically this semester, harder than I’ve ever worked before, and starting to do Yoga is just one way.

Another way I’ve begun to live a healthier lifestyle this semester is in the workouts I’ve been going to in my evenings. The K-State Recreation Center has a number of different group fitness classes throughout the week. Typically they run heaviest in the evenings, which is good because my schedule is wide open most evenings. So what I’ve begun doing this semester is that I’ve been going to multiple ones most nights. For instance, Monday night I’ve been going to Zumba, which is then followed up by “Ab Attack” which is then followed up by “Butz & Gutz.” Essentially this means that at least on that night I’m working out more or less nonstop for 2 and a half hours, the later hour and a half of which is core and/or glute work. So far, in the two weeks since courses started up at the place, I’ve done this twice out of three days a week that the offer a set of three courses back to back to back.

And yes, I said Zumba.

Perfect segue into this one. Way number like 3(ish) that I’m working on living a healthier lifestyle this semester is that I’ve begun going to Zumba classes even more regularly than the other classes at the rec. Zumba is a challenge for me, much in the same way that Jazz Dance is, because I didn’t grow up doing it and so I have no ability (yet) to watch someone conduct a movement or series of movements and simply replicate them, which is something dancing requires, be it Jazz dance or Zumba. But although I probably stink at it, I do find myself having fun. The other people are more than receptive to me being there, even though I’m a dude and most other participants in that class are women. They don’t seem bothered, except maybe by my excessive apologizing for bugging them. Other than that, the experience has been great, and I really feel like I’m starting to get the hang of moving with the music and being lighter on my feet now that I’ve gone to about six or seven of these classes. And already it’s helping in my Jazz Dance class actually. Today, as we did our movements, I felt like I was having more fun and was following the music better with my movements even when I wasn’t performing the movements perfectly themselves. I’m excited for this, because not only am I getting a great workout in it, but I’m starting to learn skills I’ve never learned. Like with Yoga, I’m enjoying getting to explore the capabilities of my body with movements I never thought I’d try. I’m getting to learn what it can do, what it isn’t ready for yet, and I’m starting to coax it into new directions of ability that I’ve never known about before Zumba, Dance, or Yoga; let alone actually tried. It’s exciting, and very fun.

Also offered at the K-State Rec complex is the option to get a personal trainer. Depending on how many one hour sessions you want with one, you can pay a predetermined amount per session and get one-on-one training with a personal trainer there. These are all certified folks, and are all students at varying levels (or recent graduates in at least one case). In my case I’m actually lucky enough to train with one of the Zumba instructors! Part of why I made the $200 investment (in my┬áspecific case) was┬áthe idea that┬ábesides pulling out all the stops physically this semester in trying to improve myself physically, I wanted the one-on-one help to ensure I didn’t hurt myself. With running, I know more or less what type of pain is “tired/fatigue” pain, and what is “Stop that this second or you’ll be out for months” type pain. Not true at all with my core, back, or any other set of muscles not directly associated with, running and/or┬ámy legs. So it’s helpful to have someone there that is certified and has the anatomy knowledge which I┬álack to look┬áover my shoulder. Plus, she has been introducing new exercises to me I’ve never tried or thought to try from fear of doing them wrong and risking injury. All workouts take place in the rec itself too, so the environment is great for focusing on just going for it!

Lastly, the fact is that I’m taking Jazz Dance. Believe it or not, I took that class because I wanted to start preparing to audition for the K-State Singers (my school’s show choir) later on in my college years. Now, as I get more into it and see how classes work, I see how amazing a core workout (compared to what I expected, which was just “good”) it is. Every day we do some pushups, some sit-ups and lots of ab stuff, in addition to lots of stretches. I love it, and I may very well become a dance minor at the end of this semester because of all the things I’ve mentioned above. This class, with everything I’m doing this semester, is showing me that there’s something wonderful and beautiful to the idea of being okay with yourself and just exploring who you are physically. The more I do all if it, the more excited I get to do more of it.

Maybe I’ll take Ballet next semester….Naw….let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Lol. ­čśë

Thanks for reading… ­čÖé

#Life Decisions

You want to know fear? You want to know scary? No, you want to know terrifying? Here’s one for you: get to age 24, and realize you have no bloody idea what you want to do with your life.

As I begin my second semester of my technically freshman year here at K-State, I find myself in quite the conundrum. Do I stay on my current course as a journalism/English dual major, do I switch outright to music education (to become a choir teacher), or do I do a little bit of both?

Last semester, fall 2013, was of little help in the matter. I began considering changing to music ed in October. At the time, I took about a month to decide, and I thought at the time that I had decided was to stick with the current path. I’d become a journalist. I’d do my thing writing for a living, live somewhere on a small but comfortable salary, and be what some called “overworked and underpaid” at the expense of living a life in which I legitimately called myself a ‘writer’. I mean what more prestigious term is there? For someone like me, it seems like it’s always been a natural desire. “If you would not be forgotten after you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do something worth the writing.” Isn’t that what the great Ben Franklin once said, after all?

But I apparently wasn’t satisfied with my choice, because come early December, with final exams approaching rapidly, I found myself wondering what I wanted to do again. I sought assistance and advice, as I tend to, from a number of helpful sources. Graduate students in the choir department, at least one current music teacher not teaching at college level, my current choir directors (both, as they are a husband and wife that are co-directors) and my parents as well. I sought the advice of my closest friends. My wonderful friend Alyssa, my good friend Erica, both of whom I’ve known for at least five years, and my dear friend Allison who lives down in Austin. But as I asked, in this second set of query, about the profession, I was given varying advice. Ultimately, that previously alluded to question “What do you want to do?” was asked by most of them. This put the ball squarely in my own court. To make a basic sports metaphor; it was as if I had been one basketball player against a team of five. After initially being given the ball and told to score while all five played defense, I had tried to chuck it to them, with the hope that they’d play offense for a minute and give me time to relax and react while I figured out how I would take all of them on at once. But they had, in a sense but without any kind of ill intention, passed the ball back to me as if to say “sorry, decision time is now, so deal with it, and let’s see what you’ve got.”

So alas, I made a decision for how I was going to progress forward with my life. I chose to decide to audition in late spring to get into the music program. I thought, up until today, that I’d want to go the choir director route. I thought that I had settled on that, that I would be content and excited to set up and coordinate shows and make audience members go home and think “wow, a choir concert shouldn’t have been that neat, but they did some cool stuff, and that was AWESOME.” I thought I’d be happy to help revolutionize how people thought of the idea of choir music. Not as something exclusively for the high class or for the parents, but as something rather that everyone could enjoy. Something that sent you home feeling like you’d watched an episode of “Glee” or something except that you’d feel more personally attached to it. That was, that is, my vision for choir music in the future, and I have a stubborn belief that I’m just creative enough and defiant enough to pull it off while still paying proper respect to the old traditions of society.

So why am I still so unsure? Shouldn’t there be some sort of…relief when I’ve reached the decision I’m meant to? Shouldn’t there be some kind of moment of divine awareness in which I realize I’ve found it? Like one of those light bulb going off, “eureka!” type moments? Shouldn’t it be like that moment that you find the one lover you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with, where you “just know” as so many married couples I’ve talked to have said?

This year brings on lots of change to my life, and I’ve made steps to give my heart and mind room to think. I’m taking it off from dating and only watching live sporting events on TV. I’m reading more and trying to rebuild my mind into something that’s to be reckoned with. Part of the reason for all this is because I want to figure out how to handle it when people question my motives and my motive’s motives (yes I that was intentionally written that way), particularly when I randomly compliment them, and particularly in the case of women. So it sounds funny, but I guess I have to question my own motivations here, and I have to ask and invite you all, all like four of you who regularly read me and anyone else who is bold enough to complete this, to do the same and give me some feedback.

I found an editorial internship listing at Apple this morning on their website. Of the list of “requirements” on the list, I had all but one of them (and there were like nine). But it isn’t that alone which caused me to think my current writer/editor course is most likely the right one; it was the fact that I saw it and was excited enough to click on it in the first place. How fun would that be? Write/edit for Apple? Heck, I use their products pretty much exclusively for my entertainment and technology anyways. My military experience in Linux based operating systems makes me feel, perhaps arrogantly, like I could do something in that line of work, even if I admittedly hated it when I did it. But Apple! What a cool company! What a creative place, with so many opportunities to play around and dabble and make a mark in something that people use on a daily basis. What about public relations, an intro class of which I’m taking this semester (spring of ’14)? Wouldn’t that be great!?

But what motives do I have here? What do I really want? Do I really consider the change to music education as a field of study because I’m addicted to exactly that; change? Do I want something that has a combination of writing and music? Something that lets me write maybe about music, like a job writing music reviews? Do I want to do something I’m good at but have lots of room to grow in (both writing and music of which fit that card but mainly music does in terms of room for growth)?

If there’s any lessons I learned this semester, ┬áit was these:

1) I don’t like where journalism in general is going. Broadcast irritates me, especially with it’s whole format of having two anchors do some “bantering” and having a generally silly/happy sports guy and having a weather man. That format, and that it’s so common (my Mass Comm in Society class pointed it out) bugs me and leaves me turned almost totally away from journalism writing as a profession because it seems there just isn’t any room for real creativity in the field. No room for me to “make my mark” there, and I’m never happy when I don’t feel I can play around creatively. Not being able to be creative or to occasionally throw out the rules in favor of innovation and/or outside the box ideas is what helps me differentiate a “job” from a possible “career”. So journalism as a full on major and/or lone field of study is officially out. That part I have right at least.

2) I love reading! Anything I can get my hands on. I often found myself reading other writers stuff that had been submitted to the copy editors and the desk editors because I saw the headline and was curious. With the computer system we run on for story submission, and my editors will probably be annoyed at me for this if they read it, I often read stories after they are submitted but before they get to print. Years ago, when my friend and unofficially adopted big sister Rena would write papers, I often asked for and was allowed to read and edit them. And while I never got to ask her how she did on them, and while I don’t think I ever did a particularly perfect job editing them since I didn’t know how to do any real editing at the time, I did enjoy the process. I enjoyed making suggestions. I enjoyed that I could do so without feeling superior in any way to her, in that role, and I enjoyed going through and reading it, even though her essays were seldom, if ever, written about anything I had a personal interest in informationally. The combination of that desire to read, and that desire to help teach others (part of what draws me toward music education) could just as easily be used in an editing role. I may seek out editing opportunities in K-State’s English department this semester to see if that was just an illusion or if there is an undiscovered passion in me for that type of thing.

And 3) That I’m desperately afraid of the day when I won’t be able to afford choir any place in my weekly life. This, and how interesting and kind of out there Music majors are, attracts me to some sort of long term study in music ( I speak about them having known both many music majors now and having known many when I first started as a music ed major at K-State in fall of 2008). Dr. Yu, one of the co-directors here in the choral program at the university, gave me advice I could easily see myself taking. She said that unless it’s something I really want to do, she wouldn’t go with Music Ed as part of a double major because it’s the equivalent of two degrees in itself. She recommended, if I wanted to do any degree as a a dual major, to do a B.A. in music, which would allow me to do something not teaching related. Maybe something along the lines of sound production, for instance. I could do a B.A. in music and a second major in English, with a journalism minor (the minor of which I’ll be just two courses from after this spring semester). Either way, the point is, I know I need to keep music in my life, and I know an audition (either for Music Ed or for Music) is probably coming in April or May. So I need to read more this semester, both music reviews and fiction, and I need to practice musically daily. That is of course, unless I decide from reading more that I just like reading to much to do anything but English and creative writing and editing for a living. But I think, I hope, that music is involved somehow.

Which set of degrees I’ll choose remains to be seen. I don’t know how I’ll feel once I’ve discovered what I want. For that matter, I don’t know if I’ll feel anything unique at all, or if I’ll always have this feeling of “maybe I could have” to haunt me and I’ll just have to learn to deal with it. The only thing I know is that I don’t know anything…besides that I don’t want major in journalism, but just minor in it. Other than that, I want y’alls input. And I don’t need answers, because I know and want this decision to be completely mine, but I need stimulation dear readers. I want thought provocation. I want hard, soft, blunt, brutal, kind, mean questions. I know one of you can ask the right one that will help me discover the right answer in the next four months while I make my decision. My prayer, humble and honest, is that you will.

I’m open to suggestions, and all manner of opinions.

 

At over 2100 words, this is possibly the longest post I’ve ever written. So I give you big time kudos and exceptional thanks for reading through it… ­čÖé

 

P.s. The title references an amazing video I saw. Check it out ­čÖé