Learning to Breathe

Have you ever tried to control your breathing? And not in the relaxing, meditative kind of way. More so in the "I need to control this" kind of way. 

I've been well-aware of my perfectionist-style habits for a long time, but I hadn't really tied them to a fear of a lack of control until recently. I definitely fall victim to the overthinker's curse, under which I obsess over details and stress about everything that could possibly go wrong with a situation. But that stress is what motivates me. If I don't feel a sense of pressure or urgency or a fear of messing up, I might as well not have responsibilities.

That need for control both helps and hinders me. A couple weekends ago, Loreleis celebrated our 35th anniversary of being a group on campus. As the president, much of the responsibilities of the weekend fell on my shoulders, and it was AWESOME. I've worked in event planning/management and with my design experience, I was able to work with our concert manager to craft a vision of a weekend. From the invitations to the merchandise to the decorations and alumni packages, each part of the anniversary weekend worked together with cohesive branding and signage. 

But I wasn't really able to enjoy a second of it until it was over. Until the the what ifs stopped buzzing around my head. Until I felt the relief of everything going according to plan. Until I could breathe again. I was worrying so much that I hardly let myself enjoy the beauty of the reunion that was happening all around me. I knew I had a strong team of people who were willing to do whatever I needed, but I didn't feel the need to delegate much of the work because I trusted myself to do things the way I wanted them to be done. Again, a fear of a lack of control. And a fear of a lack of efficiency.

So I'm learning. I'm learning to let go of the reigns from time to time. To step back and enjoy what I create. To plan ahead enough to be able to relax when I need to. I'm learning how to delegate things and to trust in others as much as I trust in myself. I'm learning to breathe. 

 

Turning The Screw

This semester I was introduced to video editing through a film studio art class, and for my latest project, I mixed together a number of clips from nature documentaries/drone footage of national parks and GoPro footage of cliff divers to create the montage below. Background song is Turning The Screw by Generationals. 

Abstraction

I've had an attraction to bright, bold florals and to more abstract work, especially involving lines and geometry, for a while now. These two things plus a reintroduction to Pinterest inspired me recently to create the few paintings below. I took some inspiration from artists like Brittany Bass and began experimenting with automatic art, an art form developed by surrealists as a means of accessing the subconscious. Instead of determining exactly what you want to paint, draw or write, you create from a place of inspiration, guided by subconscious thought. While I was at first mimicking other artists, I found that simply through the process of painting abstractly, I was making decisions, whether consciously or subconsciously, to respond to previous brushstrokes in a way that was completely my own, uninfluenced by whomever was my inspiration. 

In many of my college arts classes, I've been instructed to paint realistically. There have been opportunities for abstraction but I suppose my natural instinct when given a specific prompt is to think of a scene or an object that I can paint, usually involving some form of surrealism. So the process of painting without guidelines or prompts has been exciting to dive into! 

Keep an eye out for more and if you're interested in purchasing anything, feel free to reach out. 

My (muse)ic

Here's some music that's been making life good lately. Hope you enjoy!

If you've liked what you've heard, check out my playlist:

 
 

Standing With an Army

Four years ago, during the spring of my senior year in high school, I was sitting in my journalism class, awaiting the end of the school day. One second it's a normal Friday, and the next, a group of 16 girls is walking into the room. They ask if I'm in the class and they begin singing Carolina Girls to us. It was a "promposal" and a pretty fantastic one at that. 

That was the day I decided I wanted to be a Tar Heel. And the day I knew I wanted to be in the Loreleis

Fast forward four years and I'm figuring out how best to present my senior song to the group. (In most college a cappella groups, graduating seniors get to choose one song, a swan song of sorts, that they want to sing the solo for at their final concert, the last time they take the stage for a show with their group.) I had three and a half years to figure out, but leave it up to the most indecisive person in the world to make her decision within a week of the deadline..... These are my very best friends I'm about to say goodbye to on April 1st, so the song had to be something that I wanted to leave on the stage for my last time singing with this group. 

Loreleis has been something consistent and personally transformative over the last few years.

I haven't had the perfect college career. I've stumbled a couple times and have learned a lot about myself and what I want in life. It hasn't exactly been the most graceful, but Loreleis has made it memorable, worthwhile and as perfect as I could have imagined it being. It's given me purpose, goals, and a reason to really care about UNC and what I do here outside of the classroom. A chance to make lifelong friends, to engage with some of the most talented people at UNC in making music and to be able to study in a craft that is more universal than any spoken language. It's taught me how to work with different types of people, how to balance friendships and business relationships, how to appropriately act as a representative to clients, how to lead, and maybe more than anything, how to be confident in my abilities. A cappella is sort of a hilarious concept, yes, but the values and lessons that I'm taking away from being a leader in a business for the last four years and the friendships that I'm leaving this group with have exceeded any and all of my first-year self's expectations.

"Club" doesn't even begin to describe what this group requires or what it means. Loreleis have been on this campus for 35 years, we've traveled around the country and world performing, we've sung on national TV, at the White House, and have opened for people like Ben Folds and Jay Leno. We practice for 3 hours every Sunday and Wednesday, we perform at 1-3 gigs each week, for on-campus club fundraisers and off-campus business events and conferences. Every year, we sing for patients at UNC Hospitals, for families at the SECU House, and for various non-profit organizations in Chapel Hill. We put on two concerts a year in Historic Playmakers Theatre and Memorial Hall, two of the largest theatres on campus. We record and produce an album every two years, and our albums have been nominated for and won multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, with songs being featured on Women's A Cappella Association and Best Of College A Cappella albums. We travel together on all fall and spring breaks to tour nationally and internationally. It's a time commitment to say the least, especially when you enter leadership roles. But it's a time commitment that has changed my life. Being a small organization of only 16-17 members each year, we depend on each member to really carry her weight. We each take on a great number of individual responsibilities and we all take on the responsibility of being the best performers possible. 

Most importantly to me, we're an organization that has the opportunity to directly represent the General Alumni Association and UNC-Chapel Hill to the Chapel Hill community and beyond, an honor and privilege that is impossible to take for granted. 

For my senior song, I've chosen to sing the song Army by Ellie Goulding, and listening to the words I think it's pretty easy to figure out why. (I'll be taking the curse word out!)