Friday, February 10, 2017

What is the value of 1 Andrea?

Well, this blog has been silent for sometime. Not intentionally so, writing simply hasn't been high on my priority list. It's been high on my wish list perhaps, but when it comes to my currently lifestyle I run out of time for blogging.

I have been struggling sometime, Gentle Reader, with my sense of Value, and it is this struggle that is now motivating me to post. As I haven't blogged in many, many months, I need to explain.

In May of 2016, I became an aerial instructor, while my other sources of contract employment ended. I went from being involved in a variety of research projects, which relied on my many years of experience in medical research, evaluating medical studies, critical thinking, etc., to teaching people how to climb two pieces of fabric rigged to a ceiling. I went from highly paid work which, if not related to my Masters, at least benefited from my advanced education, to taking a hobby to the next level. I went from a real job to a...well, still a real job, but a not so..I don't you get what I'm saying?

I may be over-simplifying, or perhaps over-dramatizing my situation, but I am doing so to demonstrating my feelings. I am struggling to understand the Value of 1 S. Andrea Milne in the world today.

Not long after I started doing aerials I thought it might be fun to teach. At the time it hadn't occurred to me that it could be a career choice. I took a 40-hour workshop on Teaching Aerials at the New England Center for Circus Arts in February of 2014, but I still didn't imagine that teaching might one day be my sole source of income. I took the course so I might one day teach a couple of classes because I thought it might be something I might like to do.

What changed?

Many things. Part of it is, I became a mother--something I wasn't sure I wanted to be for many years. Even stranger still, I found I wanted to be at home with Ruth more than what I could be with a full time job. Throw in wanting to continue my aerial training and I wasn't sure how I would balance a hobby, a job, and a daughter. Another part was that Andrew and I returned to Waterloo, Ontario, our home territory, and Andrew was no longer a student. With Andrew making decent money, I didn't actually have to work full-time to help support our little family. All the while I was assisting Aradia Kitchener in becoming Brass Butterflies, Kitchener-Waterloo's home for pole fitness and aerial arts.

So, now I teach approximately seven classes a week, plus help with whatever administrative duties I can around the studio--a far cry from a once fully employed Research Librarian I was when we still lived in Edmonton. Was I happy then, either? I think if you look back over my blog you'll find that was in question as well.

Here's this question of happiness again, or what I've termed in this blog post as Value. I think my current struggle has more to do with my sense of Value than it has to do with my sense of Happiness.

I feel I have less value because my current occupation might seem rather frivolous to someone who is struggling to put food on their table each night, or is struggling to achieve mental or physical health, or is struggling against discrimination, etc.

I feel I have less value because I am earning a lot less than I used to.

I feel I have less value because I'm never quite sure how to answer the question of what I do for a living, and although I'm not necessarily embarrassed to tell people I teach aerial silks for a living, I feel like other people don't see what I do as a 'real job.'

I feel I have less value as an aerial instructor because I do not believe I'm as good as many of the instructors I've had in the past.

I feel I have less value as an aerial performer because I do not believe I'm as good as other aerialist I have known (both fellow students and instructors).

Less value than what? I don't know. Less value than my husband who teaches at the University of Waterloo, helping students to become useful members of society? Less value than other friends with PhDs who not only teach, but activity participate in protests against the present administration in the United States? Less value than family members who I know participate in charitable works in the community?

Yeah, less valuable than all those people. And more who I don't know.

This is my struggle. I don't have a good answer, or plan, or anything for how to proceed. I have to, that much I know. I have to for my daughter, for Ruth. At the very least I want her to know that we (Andrew and I) don't value her for her accomplishments, but that we value her for her. And she is Amazing, and worth valuing for the hard-working, adorable, caring little girl that she is.

I value my daughter, and I want her to value me.

Until next time.



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