The festival comes to a close tonight, but something in me is permanently open. Dreaming and crafting and claiming space with Aretha, Tara, and Eleanor has been so powerful and supportive. In the past year, i have been working very hard to live in my body in a way i’ve never experienced before. Sobriety, Love, and so-called ‘Gender Affirming Surgery’ have been my biggest challenges and my greatest tools this year. No matter where i was in space and time, it always felt good to show up to a google-hangout Spring Festival planning meetings. I hope you all don’t mind me saying that it’s been a year of painful and joyful shifts for all of us, but we built a tender space for ourselves to hold each other and to bring our whole selves, our flaws, our troubles, our struggles, our questionings, our pain, our joy.
This week, we continue to bring it all, and we have asked you to do the same, and i am so grateful for the lessons you all have taught me about what can happen when we show up in spite of everything.
I learned to think of my pain not as a flaw to push past or separate from my well Self, but instead as a valid part of my self that commands respect / that has much to say.
I learned that while we might strive towards a daily self-care practice to always be well and ready to give care to others, it’s okay to have some back-up plans for the times we have to stop and acknowledge that the work is weighing too heavily.
I learned that the container we’ve been building for ourselves all year had truly become our offering to the artists we are presenting and to the community who showed up to witness and share space with us. That feels like a kind of power i want to know further.
I learned that i can strive to make a safe place for POC and other Othered bodies, but i cannot control all factors. I still need to learn what to do when safety fails. When the performers are brilliant queer artists of color who, through the dances they are making, are asserting their own stories in this very white european colonized lineage, but the keyholder of the performance space is a straight cis white male. I also learned the importance of addressing the privilege-blindness that often aligns with white soft masculinities. And i promise you that i will do the work to learn to identify my own anger or discomfort as a starting place, not just an ugly thing to be suppressed.
I learned that my way of accessing ancestral knowledge is perhaps not through a workshop or a performance, but through myself. I needed your workshops and performances to find that permission, though.
What is a word for witch that comes from a poppy farm in Asia Minor? (You don’t know where that is, but it is who i am.) Bonesetter is as close as i can find. What is a word for witch that means you have been called into being by your ancestors? How does that knowledge change the way you place your self in your body?
We spent last night listening and sharing wisdom and witnessing one another among Liliana Dirks-Goodman’s porous structures, soft nomadic shapeshifting yonic feminist houses. I have been asking myself all year how to build a home within myself and i found it last night.
I’m not ready for this to end, but i am ready to celebrate what we’ve had this week. I am going to cry tonight. I am going to dance and celebrate tonight. I am going to be in love tonight. I am bringing my body to the party tonight. I hope you will bring yours.
“For there are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt, of examining what our ideas really mean (feel like) on Sunday morning at 7 AM, after brunch, during wild love, making war, giving birth; while we suffer the old longings, battle the old warnings and fears of being silent and impotent and alone, while tasting our new possibilities and strengths.”
-Audre Lorde, Poetry Is Not a Luxury.