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  • Writer's picturet.seguritan.abalos

"to deepen human connection" — what does that mean?

At 5:30am this morning, I woke up for opening shift at the bakery counter. Blinking at my phone, I saw a notification that our COVID-19 policies had just changed — no longer limiting how many customers stand at the counter.

That morning, every time five or more customers crowded at the counter, I felt my chest tighten and my mind go blank. Something about the leap back towards "normal" — no intervals between customers, 2-3 orders being shouted at once over coffee grinding & bread being sliced (all of this, over faint upbeat music) for an hour straight or longer, sometimes — made me realize, I am far from ready for "normal."

If only because I have to, I'll catch up with the pace of my workplace eventually. For now, I am using long walks, making music, and writing to recenter myself & make it through this transition.

Took a long walk in Homewood Cemetery after work today, to clear my mind & disconnect entirely from the increased stress of work at the bakery counter.

Last week, I finished a short video about why & how I'm building a creative career. One of the "why's" I share in the video is "to deepen human connection." Here's what this phrase means to me:

In a typical day, I encounter strangers in three ways:

  1. At the bakery counter. Customers know me as the short, brown girl with a shaved head and tattoos on her arm.

  2. Going for walks (breathing through the occasional waves of anxiety as to how passerby judge my appearance).

  3. Through the window, at home — I'm invisible to passerby, but they hear me practicing flute.

Human connection is ubiquitous & inevitable.

Every day, I connect with other humans in fleeting, impersonal ways. Our lives cross paths, then instantly diverge. Because of this, I'm driven to focus on creative work as a place where that connection can become something meaningful, intentional, & beautiful.

Creative work allows me to share glimpses of my inner world — my imagination, how I navigate or reconstruct lived experience — with those who are willing to spend the mental & emotional energy of receiving it. When they do, there's a possibility that they'll recognize themselves, or parts of their own lived experience, in my work.

I have heard from many people that my work has moved them, or that they related deeply to something difficult I wrote about. The ability to inspire this kind of connection is something I hope never to take for granted. This is why I am dedicating this stage of my life to creative work.

To end, here is a clip of me practicing today.

The truth is, any day that I assemble my flute after a draining shift is a victory. So I'm happy to share that this may not be my best playing, but I had a lovely time warming up my sound & technique for about an hour, then working on a new piece. Below is me practicing part of "Tuhuayo" by Peruvian composer Daniel Cueto. (Thanks for the sheet music, Quynh-Chi!)

Flute notes: Now that I've gotten a handle on the notes & rhythms, my next steps are (1) to be more intentional with phrasing, vibrato, tone colors, articulation, & dynamics, while (2) keeping intonation, sound quality, & rhythm secure, and (3) increasing the range of character — making the louder, faster parts more vibrant, & creating more stillness (calm) when the music calls for it, without disrupting the rhythm.


Hello there! Thank you for taking the time to read and/or listen.

If you find the content on my blog meaningful, please consider supporting my work on Patreon.

That way, I can continue to create all of this for free, while balancing part-time jobs to pay rent & student loans :)

Thank you for considering! Take care. ~ Theresa

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