I was talking to a friend the other day who was saying that she was so busy with all the things she has going on, and was wondering how I handle my workload and time, and still have time to dance. The simple answer: I make myself a priority.
I’m not diminishing that my friend has a husband, a child, a job, a dog, etc., and they’re great, however, she can’t imagine spending time away from her family to do something for herself, as simple as taking a dance class, so she tries to work out at home. Here’s the part she’s missing, she’s missing the communal experience that happens inside these doors. Our students talking about the latest episode of Euphoria, or when the next Telfar bag goes on sale. Yes, she has a husband and child at home so she has a community she is a part of, but I don’t want my husband and child to be all I have, because as a woman, I need an outlet of my own too…I need some girlfriends I can count on, because my husband (and child), are exactly that, a husband and child. They don’t have the emotional capacity to care about what color I want to get on my nails, not because they don’t care, rather, it just doesn’t appeal to them. I cannot make my family my girlfriend and vice versa.
I need to express my desires in a way that perhaps my own family won’t understand, I need to move my body in a way that I wouldn’t be judged for, and I need to feel my body and mind by feeling that power of being witnessed in order for me to grow. I cannot be so busy that I repress these parts of myself. These are just a few things that happen inside our doors. Our families cannot meet all of our emotional and social needs. And as a woman, you need more than just your romantic relationships to fuel you.
That brings me to another thought…do you have the friends that once they’re in a committed relationship, you no longer see them!? Because, they’re spending all their time and energy into that one person. That always rubbed me the wrong way. So basically, that friend is telling you that they no longer cherish your relationship and they don’t have time to make new ones. Absurd! It’s OK to have multiple relationships, and it’s HEALTHY to do so! Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. God forbid something goes wrong in your romantic relationship, your friends that you neglected hopefully will be there to pick up the pieces! They will certainly have your back if you didn’t neglect them in the first place! Sometimes your romantic relationships/family do not hold the emotional bandwidth to discuss something trivial or worry about what happened in the latest episode of a show you’re watching, and that’s OK. However, I implore you to find other avenues of support. Don’t have just one person carry all your emotional weight. Having friends, various communities, and various relationships has really helped me feel supported. Not to mention, the dance community is super supportive because we share a common bond. We all at one point felt awkward doing a move or steps that at one point didn’t feel good in our bodies. But, with time it gets better, you start to find your flow, and your friends inside the community support your growth. They encourage you because they were once there too. They make your life richer. Make time for yourself, make yourself a priority, make growing and learning for yourself a priority, find an outlet outside of your home to help make yourself a priority. Don’t let this build up to a point where you feel trapped. You can start small and build yourself up to making yourself a priority. You’re not too busy to love and care for yourself to receive joy. It’s a birthright.