The journey starts now.

This blog is so overdue. I’ve been meaning to write something, even the start of something since last Wednesday when I was driving from work down Ashland Avenue, heading to Mana for rehearsal. Traffic was stop and go and I found myself zoning out in that way where suddenly I am thinking about something I didn’t expect at all to be in my mind! But wham! there it is and there’s a clarity to whatever it is… Like I got on the highway despite being in the very clogged rush hour city street.

On this particular day, I found myself thinking about how I would present to the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artists — the other five artists who received the same significant grant last year for our work as choreographers. Each of us gets to lead a “roundtable” session and share progress on our projects and practice in whatever way will serve us best. 

But then I also had a moment of realizing how driving (like running) creates these clear pathways of thought for me and that this has only been happening since I started driving more last August when my partner Todd went into the hospital. This was the moment so many things started to unravel and change, and I find that now, over eight months later, my life is so transformed—and not just because of the driving!

Eight months ago when we found out about Todd’s heart condition and almost immediately he went under the knife and subsequently fell into a month-long coma, I was raring to go with Relay of Voices, thinking that at this moment in time, this April moment, I’d be getting my team ready for a June 30th launch down the river—THIS YEAR! …ah but life is funny and makes you pause. Life made me see not only what was important right in front of me, taking care of loved ones, but also, eventually, what was important in this project. 

I have learned in these past eight months that Relay is truly an expedition, a life’s work encapsulated into 100 days, just getting started, but also always onto the next step.

I tell my team that we are not waiting for 2019 to begin this expedition. The journey starts now, starts the day you sign on and say you are a part of Relay. The work starts, the commitment starts, the lifestyle starts, the curiosity starts, the growth starts. 

My life has become Relay these past eight months. It’s helped me get through the struggles of trauma at home. The hurt and healing that near death experiences necessarily brings to the ones we love and to our own lives as well.

Not every day will be a day for reflections such as this, but perhaps this one’s been a long time coming. So thanks for listening/reading/indulging if you did. Looking forward to stepping out into the glow of others.

Victoria Bradford