There’s an interesting feeling you get when you embark on something that’s bigger than yourself.
Maybe you’re a bit nervous.
You spend your time prepping by biting your nails and over thinking. You get a bit anxious. You repeatedly scratch at the same spot on your forearm, thinking, “my forearm doesn’t even itch.” You laugh anxiously at anything anyone says even if it’s not supposed to be remotely comical. You smile nervously and you blink too much. Even your heart races.
Or maybe you’re excited.
You can’t stop smiling. You spend a large amount of your time thinking of the numerous possibilities that are ahead of you. You think of the things that you can bring to the table. You’re overly joyful. You’re pumped. You’re stoked.
Or maybe you’re like me.
A pretty evenly distributed version of both piled together in one big hysteria of uncertainty and certainty, of fear and hopefulness and, ultimately, a clash of binaries.
This is how it was on my first day at CounterPULSE.
I didn’t know what to expect out of my internship at CounterPULSE at first. I didn’t know if I’d hate it or love it or even what I would get out of it. My furthest exploration of the arts prior to interning at CounterPULSE was through music, poetry, and some dabbling within theatre and fine arts. But here I was – at the crux of dance, theater, and any performance art with an experimental twist.
Let’s just say that I was a bit overwhelmed. That my tongue was frozen, and I sat down taking any commands that were asked of me.
My first couple of weeks, after the occasional rookie mess ups and after getting used to my new job, I really learned what it was to be a large factor in something. I realized how my position served almost as much of an influence on the organization as did the full time positions – how my small internship turned into me learning to sink or swim in the arts industry.
But that’s just it. That’s the beauty of being a part of something larger than yourself – of something larger than all the people involved within it. It’s the beauty of watching the cogs turn in a machine that only functions if every mechanism inside of it turns as well. And when some of them get a bit rusty or stuck, or when someone in the staff needs that extra push, it’s the beauty in the ability for the cogs to work it all out. For them to, no matter what happens, return to turning at the end of the day.
This is what it was like interning at CounterPULSE. It is a constantly moving and constantly adapting mechanism that is changing the way we see art one experimental artist at a time. It is the people within it who grow and learn rapidly and who implement that within the work they do. It is a staff who pushes to be better in every way possible. And lastly, it is the artists who walk the halls of the space that bring it full circle – making it more than just an office and more than just a theater, but a home for people of all walks of life.
I decided to write this not because I felt obligated, but because I feel that if anyone can even begin to grasp the blessing it is to be able to work within these walls and the opportunity to meet the people that you do working in this space, then maybe this hint of reassurance will push you to take part of something that is bigger than yourself.
As I write this entry, I’m hit with the fact that it is my last week here. I’ve spent my summer with an amazing group of individuals who all see the space growing in many different directions and see CounterPULSE doing a bunch of different things in the near future. Along with that, the staff has been on a journey of my bringing. They’ve seen me in all states, attitudes, mentalities – and have been through me from my lows to my highs. From being homesick to teaching the staff how to do The Cucaracha properly – CounterPULSE has set a high bar for whatever job/internship I hold next. The things I have learned here, both professionally and personally, will remain with me in every experience I encounter for the rest of my life.
Through CounterPULSE, I can now acknowledge that I had the chance to take part in something bigger than myself. That I have left an imprint, no matter how large or small, on something that means the world to me. And that ultimately, I have contributed to something that I have grown to be extremely passionate about.
No longer will I have the nervous smile I did the first day I walked into the space, no longer will I underestimate the power of passion and drive, and no longer will I take for granted the clout of one person in a group of people.
Thank you, CounterPULSE (staff, visitors, and artists), for walking me through this crucial and great experience.
Victor Valle (Outreach Intern – Summer 2012)