‘Why do you dance?’, I asked
‘To create something beautiful’
In my tango dancing school, I meet a lot of wonderful people.
Some of them are musicians, some of them artists. But most of them work in finance, IT, science, research…
These people use the analytical part of their brain all day long, and dance tango to have an outlet for creative expression. They love their jobs but they are craving for creativity.
Being a creative soul ‘stuck’ in a non-creative job is something I know all too well.
It is exactly where I was 7 years ago.
Praised for my analytical mind, working long-hours on excel models, following rigorous processes and feeling… Dry. Depleted.
I was yearning for something different, but I had no idea what.
I had no vision, no idea of what I wanted or liked to do. No plan on how to make ‘my successful future as an artist’ happen.
I had 2 companions at that time:
One was The Internet: The beautiful pictures. The interviews. The ‘Behind The Scenes’ marketing stories. The creative icons (Maïwenn! Nora Ephron! Sam Taylor-Johnson!)
The other was my Beliefs around Artistic Life: you have to be beautiful to be an actress, either you succeed Big Time or you are A Failed Artist, if you haven’t ‘made it’ by 25, you are done and dusted (I was 26), etc… There was no middle ground.
There were difficult months (years, actually): I couldn’t project myself, I felt doomed, I was utterly depressed.
At that point, not only was I completely disconnected from the creative self inside of me, I was also frightened by the bleak prospect of a life-in-a-job-I-didn’t-like. Worse, as I spent hours scrolling down articles and facebook feeds, my heart was eaten away by the big comparison monster.
So I left.
There was no choice. It was that or a proper nervous breakdown. (Or maybe it was, already, a nervous breakdown).
With no plan & no clear idea of what I wanted to do, I decided I would ‘try it out’.
I took drawing classes, dance classes, movement workshops, singing private lessons. I enrolled into a movie school for a year. Then into a physical theatre masters. Then into another theatre school. I created a dance school.
Every time, my heart and my body were sending me signs about whether or not I was at the right place.
It was hard to listen
Many times, I wanted to say ‘But I have quitted so many times, I can’t quit AGAIN!’
But my heart wouldn’t let me. ‘Let’s face it, it would say, however glamorous you think it looks from the outside, you are as little designed to draw as you are to make excel spreadsheets.’
‘What if I never find something I like?’
That, I know. Because when your heart is happy, it lets you know.
You need to go, try the things that appeal to you, and listen to how your body respond. It is not easy but for me, it was the only way. I wouldn’t work it out in front of my computer.
When I dance, sing, perform, direct a play, there is joy inside of me. Absolute joy.
I am still on the path of self-discovery and it has been a long journey. But at least, now, when my heart sings, I pause for a moment and try to listen.
Do you, too?