In Which I Actually Enjoy A Reality Show

Screencap from So You Think You Can Dance
Edit: She won!

I'm not much for most competition/reality shows - I can name a of the American Idol finalists from the groundbreaking early seasons, but The Daily Show has always been my first love when it comes to TV.

However, a few weeks ago, I found myself watching Dancing With the Stars, with a great set of performers and reasonably entertaining judges, One of them, Melanie Moore, is from Atlanta (Lassiter High), and we almost certainly have mutual friends. Something about her (besides the breath-taking backless dress that was my first impression) has a dominating quality on camera - the eye is drawn to her, even though her partner is also amazing.

The reason, I think, is a cacophony of little things that are barely noticeable individually, but add up. One example is in this screencap, at this point in the performance. Notice her finger - it points for about half a second, but in the context of the piece, it adds something to her dance. Moore does this in every move that she makes, and while we can't always identify why we like her, or what she's doing, the end result is success.

The same is true, I think, of any field of professional success. For the end-user, the audience, the client, the aspects of one's job that lead to true success aren't always noticeable - we don't see performers practice, or the years of training that go into a single performance. We can't identify the little pointed finger on the first go-around. But in time, these things reveal themselves, and so Melanie Moore is unsurprisingly a finalist in Season 8 of the show.

The problem is that we also see a wide variety of a person that don't contribute to their success - their off-camera demeanor, their charisma, and more, which also inform us. Thus, those people who are practicing the fundamentals can be outstripped by people who present a better "whole picture" it's very easy to forgive someone a few errors if you like them. To be able to do both - all of the little invisible things that "matter" and the various other Carnegie traits, is what leads to the truest success. I know which set I need to work most on.

2 Months

Two months ago, I graduated from Williams. One month ago, I started at my job in Wisconsin.


I have car payments now, and rent. Health insurance premiums are deducted from my paycheck, and if I want to eat something at home, it has to be something that I personally selected from the store. If something that I own breaks, I have to fix it. None of these are really landmark issues or problems, but en masse, they take up time and energy: only in having them do I understand how much I enjoyed in going without, whether at home in GA where my parents never charged rent, or in my house at college where we bought many groceries collectively, and shared food copiously.

The struggle that I realize is that I've now been bumped out of those environments of extreme tolerance and free-expressionism. If I want to try to clone StoryTime at Epic, I'll have to do it by myself. If I want to volunteer, I'll have to call up a non-profit and sign up. I am no longer part of a population that groups are trying to access, with rare exceptions like the Red Cross folks that took two units of red cells from me today.

It's my life, and this is the time to set habits and patterns that will shape my future. I know that a lot of what I do, especially when its not fun, is based on identity - that I, as a person with characteristic X, am obligated or required to do something, for fear of losing X. I derive that willpower from within, not based solely on the approval of others (though others influence my own self-image). This is all a bit rambly, and influenced by my blood-less mental state, but I suppose my overall point is this:

I am a long way from where I was two months ago, and I hope I don't stop changing and improving my conditions over the next two months.