Wednesday, March 21, 2012

i am a dancer.

i remember the first time i was recognized as a dancer. i was eleven years old, at a teachers’ conference with my 5th grade teacher, helping her make a presentation about learning styles. we got to the Q&A portion, and the first woman to pose a question said to me, “you’re a dancer, aren’t you? i can tell by the way you stand.” i blushed, and thanked her, and had never been more proud.

a few weeks ago, i was working at the restaurant where i was a hostess when a woman at a table nearby waved me over. “we’re just wondering - what do you do besides work here?” i gave the nutshell answer: recent grad, looking to get into non-profit management. “really? we were thinking you were in the performing arts.”
“well, i was a dancer.”


from age 5 until my freshman year of college, i was a dancer. i took ballet classes, i danced on a jazz competition team, i dallied in irish step dance, and i was on my university’s dance team for a year. two to three nights a week, i was at the studio. my parents and grandparents drove me to and from countless classes, sat through competitions and recitals, and bought me one pair of specialty shoes after another.

i sat on the floor in the lobby of the studio to do my homework, i went through the particular pains of dancing on pointe and kicking your own ankles with the hard heels of irish step shoes, and i watched far too many of my competitors dance to jennifer lopez’s “let’s get loud.” and i loved every second of it. it shaped the way i move, stand, and even sit in a way that lasts til today. then, in college, i quit. the dance team at my university did mostly hip-hop dance, which wasn’t my thing. (have you ever seen a ballerina try to move like janet jackson? it’s.... it’s certainly something.) dancing was no longer my “thing”, i had to grow up and focus on classes. it was time to pursue a career, and dancing wasn’t it.

i missed it, terribly, and last winter, i summoned all my courage and took a ballet class for the first time in 5 years. it took that long because i was terrified of being bad at something i was used to being good at. in my classes in southern new jersey in my teens, i had been among the best ballet dancers at the studio. i knew that among “real” dancers in new york city, even in a beginners’ class, i would be nowhere near the best. but once i was at that barre, that didn’t matter. i was shocked at how naturally everything came back to me. muscle memory is bonkers, you guys. i made plenty of mistakes (the teacher yelled repeatedly at me as i did a combination across the floor - “it’s a PLIE! not a LUNGE!”) but i was elated by how amazing it felt to be in class again. i called my mom afterward and gushed to her, and thanked her, sincerely and repeatedly, for giving me the amazing gift of awakening this passion for dance at such a young age. it’s something that i know i can always come back to.

that was january 2011. i wish i could say that since then, i’ve been taking classes regularly and am just so thrilled... but not so. i haven’t been back since. i’ve got a ton of excuses, some examples:
“classes are expensive!” about $15 a pop at most of the studios in the city, plus $4.50 for the subway rides there and back. which, for an unemployed lady like myself, is expensive. but i’ve also spent that much on two beers in a night, while unemployed.

“i should be spending my time applying for jobs! dance classes aren’t going to help me get a job.” riiiiight. like i don’t sit around refreshing tumblr half the day.

okay, i guess my main excuse is the money thing.

but enough of that. i am going to make dance a priority again. because it makes me feel amazing. because i crave movement. because my identity as a dancer is the one that makes me most proud, and i no longer want to say i WAS a dancer when someone asks. i AM a dancer.

so, here’s the deal. i’m currently in a spending freeze until i start getting unemployment checks in april. but, when that happens, instead of going out for the occasional beer, i will set aside $15 a week for a dance class. one class a week for the month of april. and i’m putting it on the internet, so it has to happen. hold me accountable, internet, did you hear that? i’m not looking to make it into the NYC ballet here, but i want to reclaim my favorite identity and be a dancer again. on that note, i’m going to go stretch. come april, i’ll be ready to be back at the barre.

Monday, March 5, 2012

in which i attempt a reverse-job-posting.

EDIT: you guys, i got a job!  and one of my interviewers had read this post, and liked it.  so, reverse-job-posting: recommended.  however, now that i am employed, i'm once again removing my last name and resume from this post, just to be safe.

dear non-profit leader/social entrepreneur who definitely wants to hire me even though you may not know it yet,

hi! i’m seeking an entry-level position in a new york city non-profit or b corporation, and for a while i tried to keep this blog from being connected with my full name, lest it be found by someone in human resources at the Non-Profit or B Corporation of my Dreams, Inc. and they find out that i sometimes blog unabashedly about my love for dark chocolate sorbet and the fact that i occasionally relate to amanda palmer and that while blogging about both of these things, i staunchly refuse to use capital letters. however, i’m over that. if you’ve googled me, that means you haven’t immediately discarded my resume and thus, i have a chance. this is my attempt to make the most of that chance.

my name is lindsay, and this is why you should hire me:

while i don’t have “3+ years of professional experience”, which your ad likely states as a desired qualification, what i have is better. since my teenage years, i have thrown myself tirelessly into causes that ignite my passion. i have dragged my friends in college to documentary screenings. i have been “that feminist” at the party who calls people out on using derogatory language. i have spent a week on a bus across the country telling people why they should care about child soldiers in eastern africa. i have served cocktails at fundraising galas. i have written thank you letters to donors. i have had my own caseloads of clients at two social work field placements, in which i traveled throughout brooklyn providing case management to children and individual therapy to survivors of interpersonal crime. i have planned a legislative advocacy day for legislation related to domestic violence and sexual assault, then traveled to albany with a team of survivors and advocates to discuss these issues with our elected officials. (i’ve also discussed conflict in eastern africa and access to birth control with my elected officials. i’m a big fan of democracy.) basically, i have worked my ass off, in a variety of ways, to make a difference where i see injustice, and i have not been paid for any of it. i will work even harder for your organization or company. (i’m ready to get paid, though. student loans are no joke. my desired salary is $30,000 per year, but i can be flexible. let’s talk.) as your program/operations/development assistant or [insert job title here], i will hobnob with donors and potential donors, slave over databases, plan logistics for events, brainstorm, manage relationships with clients, recruit and organize volunteers, run errands, respond to email and phone queries, manage social media outreach, or do whatever other little things come up along the way. i’m more than willing to contribute to many different parts of your team.

bonus reasons to hire me:
i love baking and i will periodically and without warning bring delicious shareable goodies to the office.
i have that young, idealistic, passion-driven energy that is hard to come by in seasoned professionals and can invigorate a team.
i’m a social worker. you know that person in the office who gets everybody to chill out and re-focus when everything seems a mess? hi.

if you’d like to get in touch, email me at