Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Lots of thoughts and feelings happening over here on my little 700-square foot planet! So strap in for what may not be such a cohesive update from The Girl with the Tree Tattoo. 😉

Next week is my pandemic anniversary (pandemiversary?). My company ordered everyone to work from home on March 13, 2020 and I’ve been answering emails and reviewing reports from my kitchen table ever since (sometimes I move to the living room for a change of scenery). In between reports, the dogs and I go for walks while our groceries are delivered and I wait for my turn to be vaccinated. Pandemic life goes on.

It seems like the worst is behind us. Case numbers, at least in my area, have been steadily dropping. My county is very close to being able to move out of the most restrictive tier of pandemic mandates. Time will tell if the virus variants will cause us more trouble down the road, even with vaccinations. I certainly hope not.

You pop that gum one more time…

Dance-wise, I filmed my second virtual showcase routine last weekend. This time, it’s a group number to Cell Block Tango. I’m playing Pop. This number has been a long time coming; we started rehearsals for it back in October and were supposed to film in December. The entire showcase had to be pushed thanks to the holiday-induced pandemic shutdowns. Finally, we were able to restart in February. The virtual showcase premieres tonight!

We’ll be repeating the performance at an in-person regional showcase scheduled for next weekend, coincidentally on the 13th. I’m not super excited about it, to be honest. We are still in a pandemic after all! I wasn’t supposed to do the in-person show originally, but after the event was rescheduled so many times, they couldn’t find a fill-in. It’ll probably be fine. After a year, I feel like most people have accepted that wearing face masks and keeping their distance are smart things to do and not really that much of a hassle. I can always leave right after our number if I don’t feel comfortable, and I know Teacher supports me in that. So I probably need to just chill and enjoy the privilege of being able to dance at all!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels conflicted between wanting to perform or compete because it’s been sooo very long and not wanting to risk too much too soon. It’s hard to tell if things have really calmed down enough that an in-person showcase is a reasonable thing to do, or if we’re just telling ourselves it’s ok because in our instant gratification society, a year is an eternity and we just don’t want to do “safer at home” anymore.

This is where my reference to Bohemian Rhapsody comes in (who’s been singing the song in their head this whole time?).

I commented to someone earlier today that it’s incredible how unnecessary leaving my apartment has become during this pandemic. I do my work from home and any goods I want or need can be delivered. I found an exercise program that I enjoy and can do in my living room. Why go anywhere?

The dogs still need to go outside, of course. I still go to physical therapy and appointments with my dentist or doctor. And to a very limited extent, I go to the dance studio.

As we see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, I’m reevaluating the risk of leaving my apartment for things like a showcase or other studio event, or once dance funds are restored, additional private lessons. Because while I love getting my groceries delivered, I miss my dance family. Even for this die-hard introvert, dance is a compelling reason to leave the apartment.

My approach is like a give-and-take. I was around a bunch of people to film for the virtual showcase last weekend. This weekend I’m going nowhere except to walk the dogs. Next weekend, I’ll be around a bunch of people again at the in-person showcase. I ordered an at-home test kit for after, just in case, and then it’ll be two weeks until I have a brunch scheduled with a friend. Working from home, I don’t have to worry about exposure with coworkers. Getting everything delivered means I don’t have to worry about exposure while running errands. Which means less worry that I might be carrying something with me when I do go to the studio or physical therapy. I try to eliminate the unnecessary risks so the risks related to activities that are more important to me are lowered.

Maybe this all sounds over-the-top to you or maybe you do the exact same thing. With all the disinformation and conspiracy theories running rampant over the last year, it’s a wonder we’re not all walking around with our underwear on our heads and masks on our feet. It’s incredibly difficult to accurately know what’s reasonable and what’s too risky. So hopefully we all do the best we can to protect ourselves and others, without turning into depressed and anxious hermits.

One positive to my semi-hermit lifestyle is I’ve been writing a lot more and connecting with new people. It’s been a fun challenge to stretch my creative writing muscles and write about topics other than ballroom. My latest article on Medium about the HBO documentary Fake Famous blew up last week! I’m also working on an interview with a competition organizer about turning her event into a virtual one this year, so keep an eye out for that.

I want to hear from you! What’s going on in your dance journey? Are you back to your regular dance schedule, just in a face mask, or are you still isolating at home? How can I help you at this stage of your dancing?

Please comment or email me!

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