GABRIELLA WILTZ

2014: Identity

At the end of 2013, I thought I’d already made the big transition I was expecting coming out of high school. I’d survived my first semester of college and was absolutely loving it. I felt as if I wasn’t even transitioning anymore. Low and behold, 2014 rolled around and changed everything. By December of last year I was already past the girl I was when I walked across the stage of the Arie Crown in June but a year after that? The evolution is so rapid I can barely keep up.

In 2014 I fell in love with a new art form, performed in my first college show, worked my first two paying jobs, traveled to the Dominican Republic, had the opportunity to work closely with Stephan Koplowitz for a historical performance, started choreographing my first piece since high school, signed my first lease, gave the best public speech I’ve ever given, and finally succeeded in not getting anything less than an A- since the sixth grade. Ya know, just to name a few things. As I look at this list of accomplishments, I realize that these things only play a small part in why my year was so great. What helped me get these things is what’s important.

The way I view family has totally shifted. Family gatherings used to be a chore, but now I’m starting to understand the importance of reaching out. I have some of the best role models and motivators in my family because I can finally appreciate their company, love, and wisdom. I am a blessed girl to be have so many people that love me and are willing to do anything for me. I opened my eyes and realized that my mom, dad, sister, and even extended family are always there to back me up. It’s time to return the favor.

When I first got to OSU one of my biggest fears (if you check back to my first few entries) was finding a support system away from home. I’ve been in love with the community that comes with being a dance major at this university from the very first day and I’m so glad that get to be surrounded by beautiful dancers and people everyday. Although the Department of Dance is very inclusive, last year I struggled to find my footing as far as close friends was concerned. In 2014, everything began to solidify. These last few months in particular have been some of my busiest, but also my happiest. I wake up everyday with the utmost gratitude for the life I lead and those accompanying me everyday. The friends I’ve made at OSU inspire me daily and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder how I got so lucky. It is a blessing to have these generous, loving souls here as I go through these crucial years as an artist and a young adult in general. The love they give me made it that much easier to love others and myself.

With another semester in the books, I finally get a chance to look back to see just how much I’ve grown from learning, talking, creating, and just living life. I don’t have the same ideas or concerns and I’m finally learning about who I am without the noise of other people in my ear. 2014 made me open my eyes and start to question myself. I question myself as an artist. I question myself as a female. I question myself as a 20 year old. I question myself as an African-American. 2014 rattled the world and for once I started to feel things, things I don’t know how to verbalize, opinions I can’t clarify, but questioning these things is starting to shed a light on who I am. Whatever the answers to these questions are, they are my answers, and being able to say that alone makes me feel stronger than I’ve ever felt before.

This is the year that I finally learned to love the process, whether it be the artistic process, the process of trying to figure out who I am, or just day-to-day life. It is in the process that I’ve begun to shape my identity. More often than I not I find myself either living in the past or trying to plan out every moment of my future, missing out on the beauty of the present.

So I vow to be more present. 2015 is already bursting at the seams with potential and opportunity and I’m going to enjoy it. All of it. Life is entirely too short not to. This is the year that I finally took control of my happiness and 2015 is the year I continue it.

FYI happiness is your right, no one can take that away from you. So claim the new year as a year full of growth and prosperity! The mind is a powerful thing, if you believe it, it will come true. Happy new year!

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