Since I decided to take a break from piano teaching in August, I've been trying to rest my spirit, which also means my body. It hasn't been easy.
I have sometimes talked about my burn-out, but I often wonder if people even understand how real and tangible this is.
The start of the pandemic slowed down social interaction (i.e. me in "real-life" spaces (but isn't being on Zoom real life?)) but advocacy/activism really ramped up for me, particularly towards the summer of 2021 through provincial election season, then a bit of municipals, which brings me to early fall 2022.
Perhaps the hardest part of burn-out is giving myself time. Whether real or imagined, because I'm not driving myself as hard as I did, I feel like I'm letting people (or movements down). That feeling is real, anyway. So, I'm still learning that it's okay not to run myself into the ground. It's okay to take it slow.
But now I'll talk about some positives. First, I've got a book project going --- the proposal has now passed peer review, so things are looking alright. Revisions will be forthcoming, but I'm excited to update what I've written. More when I hear back.
I've also had the opportunity to give talks/lectures in a couple of classes. One at University of Toronto, Scarborough (Arts, Culture, Media) and in Music Ed at U of T, St. George. I'll do a better reflection on those experiences another time (must do pick-up after school soon!), but I will say that sharing hip-hop pedagogical ideas with Mus Ed students is such a great feeling. You have to understand that despite how ubiquitous hip-hop is, so few in the Mus Ed classes I've lectured in know anything about its history and the culture that makes it all so alive.
Also got a couple of conferences lined up: one for Research in Music Education (RIME), and another for the
International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM Int'l and US Chapter). And an exciting research project to create an interactive resource featuring Canadian hip-hop music that reveals decision-making processes around lyrics, technology, attire, performance, sound, etc.
As I write this, I realize that this sounds like a lot, but you'll have to take my word for it that I have managed to do this at a better pace that hasn't induced panic attacks. Another working me may be possible after all.