Nearing the turn before graduation, I find myself thinking back to last July when I lived in Virginia. A new life awaited me in Georgia. Movers were loading up everything I owned into a Budget rental van while I furiously typed the final paper for my Career Advising course. The irony of hammering out a paper on delivering improv activities at a new student convocation during a whirlwind weekend move 10+ hours away was not lost on me. Reflecting on this time, I think about promise, sacrifice, and the improvisational catchphrase "Yes, and..."
When enough friends backed out of helping me move, when my geriatric feline bestie Monkey died before leaving, and then afterwards when a parent was diagnosed with dementia, the adventure of making this work stopped. In the end, the story is that I went away and came back. The move to GA was long, dangerous, and the way back not much easier. Everything I owned, except what could fit into my car, was given away to a lovely couple who run a local relief effort for those who have lost everything in fires and natural disasters.
These messy events have made me curious about promises and sacrifice. How different are they really? My mom arrived in the US with her sisters from Asmara, Eritrea in the 1970s, and their bond kept them close through all of life's trials. I think about how I inherited their strength and how my sisterly bond also stands on their generational shoulders. Being away from the family dynamic was painful. Knowing that I could not help my mother care for my father from so far away, I finished the semester advising in GA and relocated closer to home. In an odd show of universal support, my return home lined up with a part-time, temporary advising position at my alma mater that would later become permanent.
Is "Yes, and..." the sacrifice improv performers use to move a scene forward, or is it their promise? It may sacrifice traditional theatrical convention, but the promise of entertainment is not lost. Moving to GA and back again to VA was a sacrifice. But it was also a necessary re-evaluation of my values, voice, and vision in my promise to align presence with purpose.
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Unless noted otherwise, all content copyright 2017-2020 by Tanya Wineland.