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serrin
15 May 2016 @ 04:13 pm
I'm going to start this post with some good news, I finally feel like myself for the first time in over four months. I'm finally able to do cardio like I did before I got sick and it doesn't completely exhaust me. I can do handstands and they feel like friends again, frenemies sometimes, but not like the hateful beings they had become. My body and I are working together and loving each other again. After a four month battle with illness and depression these things feel like heaven.

Now let me try to put together a shortened recap of this struggle to give some backstory(even shortened its still pretty long). I started feeling rundown in January, nothing too specific but lots headaches and tiredness. I was really pushing myself through workouts, it felt like my body was actively fighting me. End of January I was laid out on the couch with flu like symptoms, tonsils the size of golf balls, and complete exhaustion. Visit to the doctor yielded only that it was a virus and I need to rest and drink lots of fluids. I rallied and pulled myself together to visit my friend Molly, who was working on a cruiseship, for a week in the beginning of February. Made it through the week fine but shortly after coming home got sick again, worse than I was before I left. For the next two months I was basically couch ridden, with nothing to do but drink those fucking fluids and watch tv. Another trip to a doctor happened, where they told me it sounds like mono but the test came back negative so it must be a random virus and of course, make sure I drink lots of fluids. Being so sick that I couldn't do simple things like wash the dishes without feeling exhausted was brutal. All the things I had planned, the training, the creating, getting new video and photos, were now impossible. Other than a low key gig in Worcester, that took every last drop of my strength and set me back physically, I could not work during this time. I just sat and watched work possibilities slip by. I would lay on the couch and cry, scaring myself by thinking of all the possible things that could be causing this illness. The low point during this time was when I was sitting in the tub thinking "Maybe this is just how I'm going to feel for the rest of my life. Maybe I just have some weird chronic condition and I'll never be physically active or healthy like I was before, I'll always feel exhausted and my thoughts will always be this sluggish and my head always this foggy." And my next thought was "I don't think that's a life I want to live." The fact that thought crossed my mind, and made perfect sense in that moment, scared me very much. It was a jolt and while I couldn't pull myself out of the depression I was in, I was able to guide myself away from the thoughts of not wanting to live. Not knowing what was wrong with me physically was adding to how emotionally devastating this illness was. I've had injuries and illnesses that took me away from living life the way I wanted and caused depression, but at least there was a light at the end of the tunnel. This unknown illness felt endless, like a black hole. I'm beyond grateful that Jon was with me this whole time, taking care of me, trying to keep my spirits up, forcing me to take vitamins, or just holding me while I cried. It scares me to think how I would have handled things if I didn't have his support. I eventually went to the ER where I was told(again) it sounded like mono and they ran more tests but they all came back negative or normal. Luckily not too long after the ER visit I began noticing small improvements, the swelling of my tonsils went down, my mind was sharper than it had been in a long time, and I was gaining small amounts of energy back. I wasn't healthy by any stretch but it was enough to give me hope. By mid April I was slowly easing back into training and by the end of the month I was eventually able to take part in a BCG gig. The gig set me back physically but nowhere near as bad as I was before I started recovering.

As of now, though I'm prone to becoming run down very easily, I'm almost fully recovered... or at the very least am back to feeling like a normal person. Granted my normal consists of generally feeling tired most of the time and is filled with doubts and insecurities but nothing like that physical and mental black hole I was in during the illness. I'm trying to pick things back up in my performing life, this illness has set me so far back in my training and creating, but I'm finally able to start making some slow progress. My body feels a little stronger every time I train and my brain is buzzing with with ideas for new acts. I've missed out on chances for work and this might be the first summer in 5 years I don't have a full time performing contract but I am oddly at peace with that. The illness changed my preferred trajectory but the other path it put me on is not a bad one. Its a path of training hard, staying local, and reconnecting with friends. Its a path of more artistically developed acts, new skills, and hopefully opportunities to work more extensively with the BCG. Its a different journey than I was planning on taking but as long as I stay healthy, I'm excited to see where it takes me.
 
 
serrin
04 May 2015 @ 02:27 pm
Ahhh the creation and rehearsal process continues. There have been so many changes(still) to the show and to my acts. The last few day have been a bit of a nightmare, actually Saturday was a full out nightmare. I've felt so stressed, frustrated and defeated. My day off yesterday was spent in a state of anxiety and tears. Today was better but still incredibly stressful. I am eventually going to write a big long post about this insanity but today I started reading Ashley Judd's memoir. A book I downloaded months ago but for some reason felt a pull to start reading today while browsing through my Kindle. It's not the best written memoir I've read, it covers a lot of her humanitarian work in poverty stricken parts of the world. She tells stories of the women she's met, women sold to brothels, victims of sex trafficking. Its very hard to read but it was the splash of cold water to the face that I needed to wake me up and help put my worries in prospective. To think beyond my own fears and realize how lucky I am that these are my problems. I'm having a hard time while rehearsing to be a specialty act in a show with one of the most prestigious circus companies out there. First World Fucking Problem.

I'm going to start tomorrow with a clearer head, a more realistic outlook on my current situation and gratitude for the life I am living.

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle." - Benjamin Franklin
 
 
serrin
12 April 2015 @ 09:52 am
I got through another week at Taboo. I've been spending most of my day off being ridiculously lazy, laying in bed reading. Emotionally things have been up and down this week, I've been going from moments of excitement for the work to intense feelings of loneliness and insecurity. Those feelings are the hardest. I've been doing my best integrating myself with the cast and getting to know them but its tough because I am naturally such a shy person in new situations with new people. Unless its with someone I feel an instant connection with it takes time for me to build friendships with others. I'm not one of those immediately charismatic and endearing people who others instantly fall into friendships with, it usually takes awhile for people to appreciate what I offer as a person. Constantly fighting off and pushing back my natural shyness with the cast and crew leaves me feeling emotionally stressed and ill at ease. Its also hard because I have no safety blanket here, no person to hold me after rehearsals and make me feel better. No close friend here to laugh and rehash the craziness of the day with. Just me. Pushing myself through the interactions, through the crippling bouts of insecurity. When these things feel overwhelming I do reach out, in messages, to my love ones and get responses of support and love. It definitely helps but it doesn't truly combat the feeling of being in this alone.

I always have to remind myself how lucky I am to be here and how work and training will keep me fulfilled until I become closer friends with the cast. I have to remind myself it always takes time to build deeper connections and most of my contracts are good examples of that. I try not to think too much about Pirates Voyage where, while I loved the cast and had fun times with them, I didn't develop any truly close friendships there. Instead I think about the cruise contract, how I hated it, was miserable with my roommate and wanted to leave for about the first two months. It wasn't until Molly joined our little group and I became her roommate instead that everything changed. We developed a close friendship and she opened my eyes to how awesome the contract was. After that things were amazing and it became one of my favorite contracts to date. This contract is starting off much better then the cruise contract did, I'm not rooming with someone I dislike, I'm much more fulfilled in my work, and even though I'm constantly battling insecurity I'm much more confident than I was when I first started on the ship. I just have to keep my head up, focus on rehearsals and training, and not let my insecurities and shyness overwhelm me. As past contracts have shown me things will likely get better on the social end, it will just take time.
 
 
serrin
28 March 2015 @ 01:13 pm
I had a big ol post written up and then the internet I was on crapped out and I lost all but the first three sentences. Since time is short all I can say right now is that I live a crazy life sometimes and it leaves me excited, scared and very grateful. Interesting things are happening and I can't wait to tell write all about it soon :)
 
 
serrin
09 February 2015 @ 02:21 am
You are not going to impress the world. Not everyone is going to love you or even like you. You can only be who you are and focus on what's important.
 
 
 
serrin
04 July 2013 @ 02:48 am
It is scary when one in same profession dies doing what they love. It makes you feel incredibly vulnerable, especially when the show you are currently doing contains a lot more dangerous possibilities than you are used to. It reminds you that you are mortal and the profession you have chosen, while fulfilling in ways you can not begin to express, is dangerous. It was hard to handle the news about Sarah Guyard-Guillot, it was especially heartbreaking considering the family she left behind. My heart also broke for the cast that must now deal with such a terrible loss. I tried to put into words how tragic this loss is but nothing I've said sums it up like the words of Bill Forchion...

"When one of us falls we all suffer. Although I did not know Sarah it still pains me to know she gave her last performance to please the audience. It could have been any one of us at any time. It does not ease the sorrow because she died doing what she loved. May we all perform like this may be our last. May Sarah's spirit guide each of our performances to be fantastic. For everyone at CDS and everyone at KA my heart goes out to you. Take to the stage with love and passion and purpose another angel watches over us."
 
 
serrin
19 July 2012 @ 06:59 am
We have something crazy like 25 days left until this contract is over. 25 more days and I get to leave Korea and return to the US, that magical place where they have things like avocados and soft beds. I am so excited. I'll get to see Jon, my sister, my mom and dad, my kitties. I'll get to see my nephew who could barely focus his eyes when I left and is now rolling over by himself and laughing. I can't wait. I've missed them so much I can't even begin to describe it. I think these last days are going to be the hardest because the end is in sight and we all want to go home so badly.

I've definitely had a blast on this contract. Yes, there have been the usual up and downs but overall its been a good experience and living in Korea has been fun. This is not like Maui however, I'm not going to be heartbroken about leaving Yeosu. What will be the hardest part will be leaving the awesome cast. There are definitely some people I will be happy to say goodbye to but there are also a lot of people it will be really hard to part with. Even though I know it is not a real goodbye but a circus goodbye it will still be hard. The real goodbyes will be for the people I met at the Expo who I will probably never see again, the people from the international pavilions, the Korean crew at Samsung. The circus goodbyes are for the cast. The circus goodbye is saying goodbye knowing, because the circus world is so small, you will see each other again. It might be when you both happen to be training in Montreal at the same time or in a year when you are in another show together but you know you will meet up again. It makes saying goodbye to the people you have come to love a lot easier.
 
 
serrin
09 February 2011 @ 08:35 pm
I had a meltdown today during training. My inability to hold a handstand is what set it off. I'm trying to become a handbalancer, I'm auditioning to get into an elite school and I can't even hold a handstand. It was too much. The feeling of failing, the overwhelming sense that I can't do this took me down. I couldn't get past it, I couldn't hold back the tears. I would have left defeated if it wasn't for Bill. He pulled me back from the edge. He did his Guru Bill thing and talked me through it. I love all my coaches but Bill holds a special place in my heart. He was the first coach I worked with years ago when I took my first circus lesson. With him I share a connection and bond I don't share with the other coaches. He mentioned our first meeting when he was talking to me today. He told me he was impressed with me then, with my raw talent. He knew then that I could make something of myself. It really meant a lot to me to hear that, to know that someone I respect believes in me even if I am failing to believe in myself right now. He also helped me put the ENC audition in a better perspective. He reminded me that I am enough and that being human for your audience and not a handbalancing machine is ok. Because of Bill's talk I was able to continue to work and made some progress on my 2 minute presentation for Friday and my act for ENC, as well as do some conditioning.

I still feeling emotionally overwhelmed. I was able to get through training but I am emotionally rocked. I am hoping after a early nights sleep I will be in a better state of mind tomorrow. I know if I feel like this tomorrow it will only take the smallest mistake or show of weakness to set me off again.
 
 
serrin
21 January 2011 @ 10:51 pm
Two days consisting of 9 hours of physical theater is too much. Especially when they scheduled it Thursday in place of classes and Members Only time so you don't get a chance to train. For a group of physically motivated circus people, spending six hours one day doing a physically minimal but emotionally draining discipline is slightly torturous. I feel like there was stuff to be learned and I gained something from the time working with Jesse Dryden. Such as how to use memories for artistic fuel, the power of breath, turning emotions into movement, and using nature to create visual images. But the scheduling was wrong. It left a lot of us feeling frustrated. Today was better because we only did 3 hours and then had some Members Only time and tumbling class.

The physical theater workshop definitely brought out a lot emotions in us. This is a time when we are feeling stressed about our majors and minors and questioning where we are going after protrack. Tapping into some of these emotions and having our stresses brought to the surface was intense and made a lot of us feel vulnerable. But the underlying feeling of love we have for our group helped us and that was brought out too. For 18 different people we are incredibly close and connected. The final exercise of the class we had to make a circle and one by one step into it and those forming the circle would say what we thought that persons greatest strength was. There was an outpouring of words for each person and we believed each word we said. The love we have for each other is strong.

Despite the emotions dealt with during the PT classes tumbling class afterward went really well for me. I had the good tumbling energy going on today. The kind of energy that is pulsing through my muscles giving them power and push, radiating out through my hands and feet. My front tumbling felt good, my back handsprings in a row had power and rhythm, and my roundoff back handspring back tucks were strong. I pushed myself hard and pushed through the bouts of fear that came up. It felt good.

I received my email confirmation from ENC so in February I'll be heading up to Montreal to audition. Besides myself, Rackim is the only other protracker who will be auditioning. For a long time I wasn't sure I was going to audition. I wasn't sure if I wanted to even go to ENC. I debated sending my registration until the last possible minute but eventually pushed aside my doubts, said fuck it and sent it in. I need to get up there and see how the Montreal circus vibe is. I need to take this chance. Do I think I'll get in? No. Most of the people they accept into the program are 18. 28 is a far cry from a kid fresh out of high school. Do I want to get in? Yes. It took a little soul searching to figure this out but I discovered that yes I want to get in, very much so actually. I want to be the best handbalancer I can possibly be. I want to pursue my performing dreams. Working with Danny showed me its going to take some intense training to make that happen. ENC is the place to make these goals a reality. Am I up for 3 more years of intense training? Fuck yes. I will do whatever it takes to become the level of circus artist I want to be. If that means buckling down for three years of physically and emotionally demanding training then that's what I'll do. I'm not unrealistic about my chances of getting into the program but I can't help wanting this. The only thing I can do is try. If I don't even make it past the first stage so be it but I can tell you this, Rackim and I are going to rock it out in Montreal next month.
 
 
serrin
18 January 2011 @ 09:06 pm
I was feeling a little under the weather today but had a decent day of classes regardless. We did a reassessment today of the physical assessment we did on day one. Today we reassessed pullups, wallsits, handstands against the wall, L hold hanging from trap, V hold hanging from trap. For pullups I went from being able to do 5 to being able to do 6, whoo. I need to work on these. Wallsits, day one I held it for 3mins 30 secs, today I did.. 3mins 30secs. At least I am consistent. My handstand against the wall on day one was 2mins 35secs, today 3mins 10secs. It was the longest hold of the class but I was hoping I'd be able to hold it longer, I feel at this point I should be able to hold a 5min handstand against the wall. My L-hold on trap on day one was 30secs today 1 minute. My V hold on trap on day one was 30 secs and today 40secs. So there is some gain on a few things which means I am getting stronger. That is nice but at I'm a not happy with the improvements. I'd like to see more of a difference, especially in the pullups and handstand. It just means I need to train harder. Most of the class saw notable gains on quite a few things, such as Vanessa who wasn't able to a single pullup day one and today she did 4 and a quarter.

I worked handbalancing today with Serenity during my major and with Aimee during a private lesson. During both practices I noticed some slight improvements in my handbalancing. Most notably in my press up from straddle hold and L-sit. I think this is due in large part to the handstand work I did with Danny last week. The improvements, no matter how slight they were, made me feel good. I'm trying not to allow myself to feel too good about them however in case it is just a fluke. Or if the fact that I won't be working with Danny again means I won't continue this improvement. I just need to stay focused and keep working hard towards my goals. I also need to try to remember the things Danny told me, and how focused and driven I was with him, and try to apply that to my training.

On a lighter handbalancing note I've recently started working mexicans, a new handstand for me. Its killer on my shoulders but it also how another odder side effect. I tend to get frustrated with certain skills and will curse them as I am training. I found out today that doesn't quite work with this new skill when during Members Only it came out as "F*&%king mexicans."

In cat related news, today Yue decided it would be cool to walk across my keyboard and opened up 13 tabs of Firefox Support Homepage. I have to take her to the vet tomorrow because she seems to be having trouble urinating. Her energy and appetite is fine so I am hoping its just a kitten parasite and nothing serious.