our words.

Writing of our Pasts for the Sake of Freedom

quick update

In an earlier blog, I mentioned the struggle with owning my weight and being transparent about my journey. Well, let me lead off this week’s post by saying that I am definitely back in the game! Since my last post, I am down 22.5lbs, and I have taken on a squat challenge
with a friend of mine. Let me just say, we are killing the game. 4 a.m. workouts are no joke, but we are doing it! So look out for more updates regarding my journey.

 photo cred: Josh Collins

photo cred: Josh Collins

The 5th Woman is just a few days from showtime. Our preparation to deliver a power packed show has been painfully beautiful, to say the least. When we are not preparing for the show, all of us ladies lead full lives that keep us on our toes. Whether it be hosting a photoshoot, protesting and defending Palestinian rights, prepping media, sharing music, making coffee, teaching math classes, coaching softball, choreographing a spring showcase, and rearing primary school children all at the same time. Defining the lives of our team as simple would be an understatement. What I love most, though, is that even with all the chaos in our lives, one thing rings true in the voices of the 5th Woman: we all understand the battle of our words coming to life.

Several of the pieces that we will share in our upcoming show center around the various heart cries of women. Each voice is uniquely different bearing its own weight in the world from cries full of pain to stories filled with infectious smiles and laughter. What I enjoy most about our work is the battle to stay true to the essence of each our poems. Staying true is reflected in our ability to perform pieces as if they occurred just yesterday.

Sometimes, when we rehearse lines, we have to edit them to solidify the meaning of our message. And I love this because it’s so reflective of the way life works. We have to practice preserving the message of our work while keeping in mind that life goes on. We evolve. We grow past the moments that we’re writing about. And as time inevitably ticks away, we may even change our minds about the topics that we touch. However, our poems are still relevant pieces that can be healing for the people who need to hear them--at any time. This kind of performance often requires us to step back into our pasts so that we may authentically share.

I love the challenge of stepping back into a piece for two reasons. The first reason is the practice of gratitude. I am thankful because I am learning to lead a life full of no regrets. In the words of one of my beloved students, I am “learning to make grape juice from lemons, while you wonder how I did it”. I am learning to be grateful for the hard places that were so painful. I am learning to relish the sweet poems that reflect what may seem inconsequential to some, but life-giving to me. I am thankful.

The second reason is the practice of vulnerability. If you read my previous blog entry, I talked a lot about being transparent.  Being real is so important to me! When I die, I want people to say that I was never fake. I want people to remember me because I wasn’t afraid to share the grittiest truth--especially if that means I am the bridge to someone’s freedom.

Stepping back into our pasts for the sake of freedom reminds me of the movies Groundhog’s Day, Déjà vu, and Looper. These movies share a theme of reliving the same sequences over and over until solutions are found. Similarly, poets share some of the same pieces over and over because our pieces are layered. There are new nuggets of truth to be found with each listen. This is the beauty of the battle for our words to come to life. We hope you’ll join us next weekend, May 20 - 21, 2017, in these layered pieces that have been rehearsed from our hearts.