Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moving Up Moving Down

I am about to move - move on - move on up - move onward - move forward - move upward - move.

"Stop worrying where you're going, move on!"

In August, I will be moving to Austin, Texas. Moving up? Moving down. South.

"Once you've figured out where you're going, you've gone!"

My life will be changed - My life in Austin, Texas will inevitably be different from my life in Toronto, Ontario.

"Just keep moving on."

I will be attending the University of Texas at Austin to pursue my PhD in Performance As Public Practice. I will leave behind my job, my lover, my circle of friends, my community of artists, my city, my neighbourhood, my home.

"I made a choice and my world was shaken - so what? The choice may have been mistaken, but choosing was not."

I will be working toward a meaningful career in a field that combines several personal passions - academics, art, theatre, theory, and performance. I will have a unique opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, study new ideas, explore new places, learn new things, experience more life.

"Just keep moving on."

But as I move on - move on up - move onward - move forward - move upward - move, I think it necessary to try to define where it is I am.

Point of Departure

I currently work at a Performance Arts School of a national calibre. I provide emotional, personal, and health service support for the students whom live in the school's residence. This includes making sure they eat, they get enough sleep, they have access to counseling services, they have dentist/doctor appointments arranged and organized, as well as providing some informal counseling services and adult companionship.
I love my job. The students provide constant challenges - they continually force me to develop mentoring and leadership skills - each one, in their own special way, reveals their unique humanity - and, as children, they continually display the ineffable value of 'play' . My colleagues have a sense of humour and fun, while always adhering to their responsibilities and duties with a committed sense of professionalism. My job offers the paradoxical position of continual professional and personal development while simultaneously reminding me of the importance of staying young at heart.
This year, since I've acquired a steady and inflated income, I spend much of my extra cash to see theatre, films, art, music, and any other cultural event of interest that the city and it's environs have to offer. I've been a regular at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, seen an opera produced by Canada's Opera Company, and attended both the European Film Festival and the Inside Out Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. I've attended plays and musicals here in Toronto at Soulpepper, Buddies in Bad Times, the Canon Theatre, the Princess of Wales, as well as seeing shows at the Stratford Festival. I've attend most all of the National Ballet of Canada performances, and this week I am participating in several of the Luminato events. Becoming an observer instead of a participant has both pros and cons: I have learned so much by watching, but have not applied what I've learned by doing.
On top of enjoying the cultural events my extra income has afforded me, I have done some shopping (though not much) and have taken a vested interest in fashion (though not terribly seriously). I am also proud to say that my extra income has gone towards substantially reducing my credit card debt (though my student loan debt still remains untouched). The remainder of my income is spent spending time with friends sharing drinks, going dancing, watching movies, eating out, throwing parties, and other general harmless mischief.
I also have started to exercise. Now that I have become a 'working stiff', I fear that my body will age and sag (as bodies tend to do when the regular routine of work imposes strict structures upon ones formerly free and easy life). I have started swimming three times and week and doing other exercises (such as push ups and sit ups) on days that I am not in the pool. I have noticed results and am pleased that I both look better than I did before, and I have improved my overall health.
I love my life. I love my friends. I love my job. I love my lover. I love all the art I see. I love where I am. But that is not enough to keep me from moving on, moving onward, moving forward...

"The World Only Spins Forward"


From here I move.
I literally move; from Toronto to Texas. This in itself is daunting. I only have a superficial understanding of "Texas". Gun totin', republican votin', George W. Bush ranchin', Lone Star statin' Texas. Such a overall vision of Texas is incompatible with what I know about Austin: the county which includes most of Austin was the one county that voted to oppose the ban against same sex marriage in the state. Between the constitutional right to carry a gun and gay rights activism, my new home is a paradox.
I move forward down a career path. Up to now, I've only had 'Joe' jobs; nothing serious, just a way to pay my cell phone bill. But now, I'm on my way to a substantial salary (Finally I will be able to afford to pay off my student loan debt). Now, I must commit. No more playing games. Pursuing my PhD is the real thing.
Academically, I move deeper. Deeper into ideas I have examined and explored. Ideas examined and explored from new perspectives - exposing something new and unknown to me. Learning to expound on these ideas in new ways.
I will move - not away from old friends - but toward new friends. Inevitably, some acquaintances will be lost - distance reveals that some bonds can be broken. But the strong bonds of true friendship - those unbreakable bonds that reveal their strength through casual emails, phone calls, online communication, occasional visits, and letter writing - will remain. Even when I move, true friends will stay with me.
From here to there - moving from one place to another. As exciting and scary as being an egg tossed from one pair of hands to another - if I am not caught and cradled on the other side, I will be broken.



All I know is that I'm moving somewhere toward something true.