The Top Secret Tip for Mastering Life

In the spring of 1992, I was a senior at Arizona State University.


I wanted a break. I needed a break. I had worked my butt off for almost 4 years, and I was looking forward to coasting a little bit during my final semester.


At that point, I had gotten myself accepted into what was then one of the top 10 law schools in the nation. I was preparing to graduate summa cum laude and 3rd in the College of Public Programs. I had managed to get straight As to that point in my career as a Sun Devil.


This sista’ needed some rest!



How to Rest While Studying at Arizona State University


Back in the good ol’ days, any self-respecting Sun Devil worth her salt knew just what to do in that situation:


Take “Jazz in America.”


The course, that is. At that time, it was virtually a guaranteed “A.” It was for this reason that the class was immensely popular with jocks. Not only was “Jazz in America” an easy “A,” but it was also a reason to legitimize nights out in Tempe, listening to music with drinks in hand.


You actually got CLASS CREDIT for this.


Anyway, “Jazz in America” would’ve been awesome for the home stretch of my final semester at ASU. The problem was this:


When I tried to register, the class was full.


Given the fact that I’m used to getting what I want, I was pretty pissed off. Once I was able to regroup, I researched and learned about a top secret tip that was supposedly the next best thing to “Jazz in America.”



Introduction to Aesthetic Performance


This class was another popular one with the football players. I was told that you had to be dumber than a box of rocks not to ace this class.


I was in!


Much to my shock, unlike “Jazz in America” (which took place in an auditorium housing a few hundred students), “Intro to Aesthetic Performance” students were lodged in a small classroom somewhere in ASU’s School of Music. There were only 12 of us. Aside from me, there were a couple of dance majors and the rest were football, baseball or basketball players.


For many college aged girls, this would’ve been a dream come true. Are you kidding me? A class full of the cutest, most accomplished jocks that ASU had to offer?


Umm….for me…not so much.


If you know me at all, you know I’m an introvert. I don’t like being the center of attention. When I’m part of a group gathering, I actually detest being in the middle of it all. I much prefer to sit back and quietly watch. Back in the day, my shyness got exponentially worse when faced with the prospect of interacting in any way with a “hot” guy.


Intro to Aesthetic Performance + Hot Jocks = High Levels of Stress for Me


Not only that, but watching my professor come bounding into the classroom the first day, I realized with horror that being meek and invisible wasn’t going to be possible if I wanted my “A” out of the class. It was going to be “experiential.” I was not going to be able to sit back and watch.


Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 50 minutes, each of us was required to “warm up” by jumping up and down and screaming at the top of our lungs every time we left the ground. If you were a guy, you had to yell “My name is Mickey Mouse!” For the ladies, it was “My Name is Minnie Mouse!”


10 times. Every. Single. Bloody. Class.


For a whole semester.



The Reason Behind Intro to Aesthetic Performance


The purpose of the course was to get each of us into tune with our bodies and emotions by becoming one with music. (Unfortunately I only read the class description AFTER I had signed up.)


On some days, our Dr. of Music would make us close our eyes, listen to a classical piece and literally bob our bodies as though we were corks floating down a river in perfect communion with the music.


On other days, the whole group of us were forced to show up at the ASU Symphony and pretend to “conduct” the accomplished musicians as though we were actually leading them.


I could go on for hours about the outrage of it all. I won’t.


Suffice it to say that I endured this agony for weeks. After what seemed like an eternity, as my days at ASU were coming to an end, all of us in “Intro to Aesthetic Performance” learned what our final exam would be.



The Test for Mastery


Simply put, I wanted to die.


Our final assignment was to choreograph a performance piece in which we were to move to exactly 2 minutes of music. Each piece would be performed in front of all other class members. We would be evaluated on the ability to be “one” with the music, authentically expressing our realness.


The day of the final came. I was the last to “go.” As though it weren’t bad enough, I had to live up to some amazing musical compilations and performance art in motion.


Some people got into it so much, they were actually rolling around on the floor in ecstasy!


I looked at those people, and I wanted to be them! I wanted to be real. Raw. Authentic.


A full expression of everything I was feeling inside.


I wasn’t. I was disappointing at best. I was jerky. Disjointed. Not flowing.


Kind of like this:

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