Preaching to myself:
At the beginning to September I wrote the following two excerpts on Instagram, and reading it back just now made me tear up. I didn’t know what was in store for me. It was like I wrote this to my future self in preparation. This reminds me that the fight for a more peaceful and loving internal and external world requires DAILY investment. It requires us to have razor sharp focus to what we are prioritizing. The reason why I felt like I held my ground this month is because I’ve been preaching to myself every day about my worth, my healing, and the hope I have lies in decolonization. I preach this every day, but do I believe it or practice it all the time? Most definitely not. But I have people around me - voices speaking to me - that remind me of truth. Truth that I am not alone, and that it is not selfish or too much to prioritize BIPOC voices and bodies. My goal for my life, art, this platform is to use it to remind myself and the people I reach about this. Here are the two excerpts:
Where do you go to rest? Who do have to find comfort? And how do you prioritize these two things?
BIPOC are trained to think that we don't deserve these two things. We are told that we owe it to ourselves and to white people to spend all of our emotional/physical/mental/spiritual energy on helping them "get it." And white people are trained to take everything from BIPOC.
BIPOC, how can we resist? What's unjust is that we need to SPEND MORE ENERGY in fighting for rest and refuge. But it's necessary and it's about the long haul! We are in it together.
Week 36 of #TWintersectionalfridays:
When I do my talk throughs for this project, by the time I’m done and have written it out for the post, I’m EXHAUSTED. So much so I usually need to nap, because I could feel that headache coming on - the kind where you spend alot much energy in a short amount of time. Even though it zaps my energy, I LOVE it and would choose to spend my energy most days. It heals me to talk about things I care about and it also connects me to you.
So when I woke up this morning, I decided that I didn’t feel like spending that kind of energy today. So I’m not! It seems simple, but it’s not - for me.
I’ve denied my Spirit (as @dr.rosalesmeza would say) so much - and I’m practicing to be more in tuned with myself and ancestral wisdom. But it’s not natural yet. I’ve been taught by society to make decisions with the sole purpose to proving to others and myself that I’m “successful” under capitalism and white supremacy. So to decide to rest and not do what I set out to do is really really difficult. I’m confronted by feelings of guilt and embarrassment, because resting equates to laziness according to our societal values.
But THIS is the healing work. And it’s in real time! What an honor it is to work on redefining success and to rewire ways of being. BIPOC healing is in the every day. It’s in the big movements of speaking up publicly and it’s also in the small movements of taking a nap.
Something new I tried out this month is making IGTV’s instead of instastories for #TWintersectionalfridays. Here are the four IGTV’s that I made:
BIPOC JOY and being open to the surprise of it: MORE JOY
Hyperlapse art process that I made for AOKI: WATCH
Talking so much about joy, I’ve been asking myself what brings me joy. And this month I’ve come to a couple realizations of what brings me joy, energy, inspiration, motivation, and heart-fullness. One of them is through performance art - I went to two plays that gave me all the feels and was food to my soul.
Wind Our Sails
The first was “Wind in Our Sails” a ICAH (Illinois Caucus fro Adolescent Health) fundraiser performance featuring my dear friend, Alex Kelly. The play reading was about reproductive rights via a story of a high schooler. The play moved me deeply. The performance and storytelling was incredible, and when they invited the audience to participate in supporting the young person, the experience of unity and love will forever be with me. THIS is what art is for. It is for telling our stories. It is for changing people.
At the wake of a dead drag queen by terry guest
This was the second play I went to in September, and I had the same experience. I was filled with energy and it was healing to be witnessing such incredible art. The performance and writing was other worldly and so real and grounded. Terry Guest’s writing and performance was so moving - it expressed so many explicit and implicit dynamics of race, sexuality, gender expression, and love. It once again changed me. These two experiences of art reminds me to continue to invest in art like this. And to CREATE art like this. It may not be with the same techniques or mediums, but I want to make art that shakes people and fills them up with an invitation to change.
Climate change Activism:
Something that we need to be vigilant about is to think critically and see when white supremacy sneaks up. While it is wonderful that Greta Thunberg is speaking out for the next generation and environmental accountability, she is not the only one. So many Black and brown people young and old have been speaking up for our world since the beginning of time. Just to name a few here are some. I appreciate Kiona from @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch lays it out - she points out that there are Indigenous people (Samit people) in Sweden (where Greta is from) that have been speaking out about this. WATCH KIONA’S IG HIGHLIGHT ABOUT THIS! And while you’re at it, make sure to support Kiona on Patreon.
These are two books I’m currently reading:
Also, I am FINALLY done with The body keeps the score By Bessel van der Kolk. Wow it was a lot to absorb, and I’m glad that I made it to the end. If you haven't read it yet, it is WORTH IT. I learned so much about how trauma affects us holistically - how urgent it is to be on a path of healing, and how much hope there is. It also encouraged me about all the things that I’ve learned along the way that has helped me without me really knowing it such as meditation, mindfulness, music and art. The book also freed me from being so harsh on myself. There are so many reasons why it’s not as easy to will myself out of certain things and also how helpful coping mechanisms can be even if they may not be ideal. I’m leaving the book with more grace for myself and others. And I’m going to see everything through the lens of being trauma informed.
And I’m still reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Hurari.
I love this article that points out what questions we need to ask when we see or enact call outs and call in’s. White supremacy is in the air that we all breathe. It pulls us all the gaslight and question Black and brown people. It ALWAYS uplifts whiteness and its privilege. It ALWAYS tells the lie that the “success” of white people is only possible withe Black and brown lives are oppressed. It tells all of us that there’s only room for one group of people. So we ALL need to ask ourselves, what are we defending?
They are back!! And I’m LIVING FOR IT.