For the past six months, without knowing it, I have been finding my voice in new ways that are parts terrifying and exciting. To say aloud what my work is, what it is not, what I do, what I do not do, and with whom I do it has been a liberating and profound gift to myself, those I collaborate with, and my physical work.
My physical work is a form of prayer and comes from a sacred place deep within my bones and solar plexes. It is a form of expression rooted in the memory of my ancestors and my present existence in hopes of constructing a physically free future. It has been a wild and long journey to find authentic ways to honor my artistic practice with integrity.
I no longer allow the feelings of others to dictate how I create and move through space. I no longer hold others’ emotions before my own. I no longer allow anyone to tell me what my work is. I no longer share my work in spaces where the work is not understood, cared about, or believed in. I no longer explain my work. I no longer give the work away without a cost. I no longer let my work settle in bodies that can’t be pushed beyond their own comfort.
As I entered a new space with Theatre Roscius, my small, experimental theatre company, and prepared for our Getty Villa residency, challenging questions demanded long conversations with self, and revelations that may have gone unseen in another season simmered to the surface I found I could not swallow pieces of myself, and so I moved swiftly without fear. To move without fear feels so good! I feel free and open to exploring in ways still unseen as time continues to expand and make room for the work to live in its fullest glory.
An extraordinary and priceless gift time has given me is the opportunity to grow as an artist in my most authentic form. To grow outside a colonized system that holds theatre arts in a chokehold. To innovate the form is to break out of a cycle that smothers, dawdles, and limits the theatre in a multitude of heartbreaking ways. To break out of and away from the norm is not easy; it is not enough to merely shout or post about change but to create a new way that is not connected to an old system requires grit and heart.
I continue the work because I believe in theatre artists coming up now, in spaces not highlighted in magazines, social media, or with awards. Those unknown/unseen artists still unknown are actively engaging in that change. They are not trying to change an old system but manifest a new vision! That keeps me in the work, self-producing and building my own theatre/performance artwork archive on my terms.
These next six months will bring a new performance art installation, training abroad, a new residency in New York, and the gift of being in a play that is not my own. This will require energy, stamina, endurance, and the ability to bend with the wind. It will also call for me to know who I am and what my work is.
I no longer move backward. I no longer tolerate being tolerated. I no longer shrink or silence pieces of myself so that others are comfortable, and my work has become more robust, precise, and potent because I refuse to compromise who I am or what my work is. My work lives in the body and needs + thrives on the truth as a tangible commodity.
Tis the season for all those planted seeds that have just begun to find bloom and new life. May the next six months bring clarity, healing, love, laughter, and stillness. For we never know when our time will reveal our end. May all you see —–Manifest.