The Elephant in the Room: It ain’t easy

I’ve danced all my life. Starting in third grade until my senior year of high school, I sacrificed hours upon hours for the perfect pirouette or pique turn. My dance teacher always said to us that the point is to make even the most difficult leap look effortless. As hard as your legs would be working to get that perfect 90-degree angle, your face still had to be placid and your arms look relaxed and natural because that’s what an audience will tend to look at. Always keep your shoulders down and chin up, smiling. The point was to make anyone who didn’t dance say, “Hey, I could do that.” It’s kind of along the same vein as looking at a Jackson Pollock and not understanding why some guy’s random splatter paints are in the Museum of Modern Art and yours from fourth grade aren’t.

When seeing the New York City Ballet recently, I made a point to watch the dancers’ feet. For every count in the choreography, every part of the body is perfectly synchronized and in a particular place. The average viewer sees a dancer, but to a trained eye, that person is an athlete harnessing every muscle in their body. I’ve found that being a college student, we have to make it look like we have everything together as easily and naturally as a ballerina traveling from stage left to stage right.

In a particularly enlightening conversation with one of my friends, we gained a lot of mutual understanding that many of the things that I’ve been struggling with, she has been struggling with as well. We discussed the fact that we have a responsibility to make balancing academics with social life, extracurriculars, mental stability and sleep all while making it seem like it comes easily. The fact of the matter is that sometimes it’s really hard to choose what to prioritize over something else.

I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. I am not afraid or ashamed to admit that; it is merely an integral fact about me, just about as relevant as the fact that I have brown hair. Basically, that means that I have a really hard time living in the present and tend to worry about things happening in the future. When I begin to become anxious about something, rationality goes out the window. I can draw you a diagram pointing to the probable outcome of an event and have it right in front of me and still not believe it. Let me tell you, it’s difficult to be able to function at such a high capacity for such a long time. Sometimes I just want to scream at the top of my lungs, “This is hard!!! I am having a hard time!!” but if I did that, I wouldn’t be an easy, breezy, beautiful college student. To be honest with you, I don’t think that I am the only one who is feeling this way. The ease with which we are able to accomplish tasks is a completely personal matter, and it’s okay if our effort shows.