We had the good fortune of connecting with Vickie Roan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vickie, so given that most of us are stuck at home due to the crisis, we’ve been asking folks about what they’ve enjoyed doing during quarantine. We’d love to hear what your favorite thing to do has been.
My natural tendency is to over-schedule my calendar and squeeze in every errand, obligation and social opportunity I can. I love being busy and I thrive off of being as “productive” as possible. This quarantine has obviously slowed me down, as it has everyone else, and at first, it was scary to look at all of my cancelled events and have my calendar go from bursting at the seams to eerily empty. Initially, I saw it as an opportunity to squeeze in all of the things I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to indulge in – romanticized hobbies, reading that book I’ve been putting off, diving into that online course I was intrigued in – and it was great! I was still busy and filling my days from top to bottom. However, I found myself dramatically unmotivated, inconsistent, moody and unable to sustain this strange solitary productivity. After some reflection and conversation, I saw that my natural desire to remain busy and distracted, while productive, allowed little room for being present in the world. I was unable to grieve the loss of normalcy with the rest of my community because I was busy searching for the next distraction. I gave myself a week of doing absolutely nothing (and the permission to do so!) and in that week, I binged those Netflix series I’ve been eyeing and took those naps I’ve fended off for my entire post-grad career. In that week, I got nothing physically done, but the internal conversation and reflection I had the space and time to indulge in left me feeling present, alive and ready to come back to productivity in a mindful and thoughtful way. Long story short, my favorite thing to do during quarantine is to self-indulge. I am trying to find the balance of productivity and necessary forward motion, while also being sensitive to the moments where I need to indulge in a Netflix afternoon (or any other guilty pleasure that isn’t “productive”). I am still dabbling in those romanticized hobbies and reading that book I’ve been putting off, but now it feels less like a task I’m doing to keep busy and instead, something that has piqued my curiosity and feels exciting to do.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a professional dancer based in Los Angeles, so I am one of many young artists in a city that houses some of the brightest and most vivid artists in the world. I am just starting my professional journey so I am still learning so much about what it means to put my theoretical studies into practical application, but something that I am proud of thus far in my career, is being able to successfully support myself with my work. I attribute my success to my education and the preparedness I felt leaving my undergraduate program combined with the presence of an unshakeable, inspiring and electric community. Whether it is a personal, professional, creative, silly or serious endeavor, I know that the people around me are always ready to go on that adventure with me and that confidence in my peers is untouchable inspiration. I would say that being a young artist is not the easiest or most stable lifestyle to pursue.. In ways, it is in direct conflict with my sensitive, emotionally-driven personality. I used to resent my wavering, soft heart and yell at myself to toughen up and get thicker skin. Don’t get me wrong, I have grown in exponential ways in regards to having perspective and toughening up my soul, but the biggest lesson I carry with me, is that my soft, feeling heart is my biggest strength, not a weakness. It is one of my most favorite things about me. It is less about resisting and more about leaning in. Most of these days, I feel like I could burst with the amount of feeling and emotion spilling from my body, but I’m looking at my sensitivity in the eyes and whispering, “Bring it on. I’m here for the ride.”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oooooh, this is a fun question. I’ll walk you through an extremely indulgent post-quarantine day in Glendale, where I live! We would definitely start the day with my favorite breakfast spot – Porto’s Bakery – for a savory Cuban breakfast, multiple sweet treats and coffee. Then spend some time walking around the Americana, talking in the sun and beautiful SoCal weather. Right down the street, on Brand Ave., is a new chicken restaurant that my friends and I love called Big Chicken, which is so silly and indulgent. Then we would spend the late afternoon at the Getty Museum – the architecture, art and beautiful garden views transport you to another world altogether. I love spending time there because you get to meet people from all walks of life and the ride up to the museum gives you an amazing aerial view of LA. Dinner would be at a local mom and pop restaurant – perhaps one of the amazing Mediterranean places near my neighborhood – to bring the day to an intimate close and the grand finale would be drinks at my favorite bar in Echo Park, Bar Flores!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my community of mentors, peers and friends who have kept me grounded and inspired in this strange, scary and unique season of life. Thank goodness we are living in the age of technology!
Photos by Camryn Eakes (@c_mryne & @camryneakesphoto) and Brien Rich (@richkidder & @somethingrich.co)