I want to tell you about a book I read when I was fourteen or fifteen. I can't remember the name of the book at it was so short I think I read it in the course of an afternoon. It was classic young adult fiction, the sort of thing written for moody teenage girls (which, of course, I was) to devour and feel like someone understood them.
Anyways, the book was about a girl who was in high school and wanted to be a dancer. She must have been in a pre-professional company or something. Every day she would go home and struggle with whatever she struggled with and tell her parents she wanted to be a dancer.
And every time she said that her dad would gently remind her, "You are a dancer."
And that was the whole lesson of this book. You are a dancer.
But maybe you're not a dancer. Maybe you write stories in your spare time. You, my friend, are a writer. Or maybe you ride your bike up a mountain or only down the bike path by your house. You are a cyclist. Maybe you make dinner every night, and even though the only patrons at your restaurant are you and your family or even just you. You are a chef.
The point I'm trying to make here, the thing I first read in this book and learned through living and trying, is that you are what you are doing in life. Even if you're not being paid to do it, if there are no material gains or social rewards where you put your time is who you are.
One of the things that is generally implied in life as you are growing up is "do good work and the rewards will follow." I believe that contrary to that idea the work is the reward in most cases. There is pleasure in having and finishing, of course, but the stretch of hard work, and the space and time you give to being something, if that makes sense, is where the real joy is discovered.
I cannot honestly remember the brands of any of my dance clothing. I do know my pointe shoes are Bloch.
All of these stunning photographs were taken by Jessica Triggs at Heartflip Photography. Love and gratitude to her, always.