We have another snow storm here in NY today and as I look outside my window I see a swirling storm of white and grey. When I turn on the news I see a news caster standing in Columbus Circle, covered in snow looking as if she is about to be blown over. Her report? It's very bad out but we have some troopers who are making it in to work today, good for them! This statement made my head spin; it seems we now live in a culture where we praise those who risk their lives for a buck. I was shocked and I turned to my fiance´ and said, "What is wrong with our culture?"
As someone who works with children I am told to teach Safety First. In today's society we listen to stories daily about helicopter parents who hover over their child's every move to ensure that "nothing bad will happen to them." So why is it that we praise adults for braving the elements of mother nature during weather emergencies? They win a gold medal for getting to work to keep our materialistic culture spinning no matter what. I don't see this as a victory for the human race; I am saddened by the fact that we no longer take the time to put our health and safety first and instead crave the praise for making what most people would call a bad decision.
As a dancer and performer I know that in the past I have also been guilty of this behavior. In my younger years I would push through injuries for fear of not being cast again; I replaced sleep with coffee so I could spend more time rehearsing; I ignored my body's pleas for rest when I was sick; I dismissed my digestive issues and instead focused on getting praise for always showing up prepared to work no matter what. While most people called this drive and passion, I'm sure I crossed the fine line between drive and blatant disrespect for my body many times. In all honestly I thought that this was the way it was supposed to be.
After finally dealing with my health and mental well-being I now see how detrimental some of my choices were. As an artist (especially dancers) we have the mindset that we MUST suffer to be successful and that we are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to pay and respect. This is something that must change in our culture; if it doesn't I'm quite afraid that we will all fall into depressed state and not realize how wonderful, beautiful, and talented we all are. There is more to life than money. Respect and love for yourself should be your goal; once you attain these I truly believe you can accomplish anything.
To all my readers: I want you to take a good look at yourself today and tell yourself that you are worthy of and deserve happiness. At the end of the day the most important thing should be your happiness and joy. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Stay safe and take a moment to remind yourself how wonderful you truly are.