I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up (for now), a renaissance man!
(No I’m not running away to the fair.)
When the pandemic took away dancing and then over time dwindling interest in online dance classes, I really found myself lost. I stumbled head first into anti-racism/DEI work due to OT but found myself stifled. Without answering other people’s questions, without being helpful, and without using my experiences in society as jumping off points I struggled to think of things to write about.
I wanted to focus on dance and movement disciplines. To learn about the body and share with others how to be expressive, how to discover self-love and communicate and connect with others. But, on the other hand, I couldn’t stop myself from researching, teaching, and breaking down tropics. Ranging from health to history and culture to cooking, even if just for myself.
I’ve always been this way. A mix of artist and thinker. Always feeling forced to choose between the two. Torn and pulled in different directions by societal expectations, loved ones, and guilt/shame. I’d tried for years to fit myself in either role and to make the other, “just a hobby.” I’d stuff down ideas I wanted to do or try because I had X thing to do out of some unseen pressure to conform. To be more consistent. To give people what they wanted and needed. To dive deeply enough into a single category to do more than just dabble.
As if my wide breadth of skills were invalidated because I wasn’t the best, so I must be worthless. Noticing the criticism I received from others led me down a path of perfectionism to the point that I felt locked, trapped, in my own incompetence. Go to look for more information and be stunned into feelings of overwhelm. I simply didn’t know enough to even know 1 what to ask 2 where to look and 3 if what I was finding was even trustworthy. Sometimes I’d sit learning for weeks before I’d start, sometimes I’d put the idea away as something people like me don’t do.
People like me don’t make documentaries. People like me don’t write books. Don’t sell handcrafted goods. They don’t be doing lectures or talking to fancy people. They don’t create audiobooks of folktales, create educational hubs, or make courses. Well, at least not at the same time, for sure! I kept trying to focus, to narrow my vision down, to choose. Was I an artist? Or, an intellectual? Was I a writer, or dancer? Fiction or non-fiction? Dancer or teacher first? Video or audio? Fine arts or handicrafts? Casual Researcher, or a serious one? I could never choose and felt like until I did, I couldn’t learn enough to do any of them well.
Historically, most renaissance men had tons of privilege (ie rich at least), and I… do not. As a Black trans man, I have even more limited access to resources (community, education, funding) than I previously did. I feel like I am not allowed to try things and fail. That I have to get realistic about what I want to do. It all made me feel terribly unhappy and stressed. Trying to force myself into one box or another.
After a lot of introspection, therapy, and coaching I’ve decided to embrace this about myself. I’ve put my Patreon under my name along with shifting what was my dance-only website to be a place to find content from me. Obsidian Tea isn’t disappearing, but I am wanting to expand into other and more diverse projects that don’t fit there. Right now I’m in the middle of this transition and still feeling out how I want to engage with my Patreon but I am very excited about this shift.
Check out what I’m doing on my Patreon and/or follow my other social media accounts.