How is it the middle of June already? With the skies growing dark around 11pm and then getting light around 4:30am, most nights I find myself stuck between the desire for my bed, and the desire to see the sky grow bright again.
With each passing day it seems we might be hugging each other sooner than we think, and yet I find it hard to think about the comfort of a friend’s arms when there are still so many around the world who are suffering, struggling, and standing up against injustice, racism, and brutality.
I’m stuck in a perpetual inhale. While working to navigate this uneasy notion of “reopening”, I’m also working on confronting the harsh realities of the systemic racism my privilege has let me ignore during my life. It’s all uncomfortable, uneasy, but nowhere worth going and nothing worth doing was every simple. Now to share what I’ve found this week…
Once again, my breath is taken away by Junk Ensemble. The group have been releasing clips from previous projects every week, and they’ve been an excellent way for me to stay inspired and curious.
Their most recent work, a commission from Project Arts Centre’s New Future Forecast, is the short dance film called ‘Fallow Table’. To say it’s stunning is an understatement. The haunting score from Denis Clohessy barely let me breathe, and I found myself left with an uncomfortable sort of disconnection between my heartbeat and the rest of my body. Eerie and familiar at the same time, it didn’t give me a chance to exhale and I loved it.
From Project Art’s website about ‘Fallow Table’:
“The concept grew out of this current time when much of the world is waiting or resting, resembling land that is left fallow – the soil is left to ‘rest’ so that it recovers it fertility. Perhaps through this burial, or purge, we will renew ourselves.”
It is available to watch until the 18th of June, so DON’T MISS OUT!
New Future Forecast premiering @junkensemble's Fallow Table 🎉
Join us for a celebration of the future & recognition of the things we've lost along the way – the burial of self in order to renew.
Premiering until Thu 18 Jun 👉 https://t.co/V3kxL7XbTY
📸 Luca Truffarelli pic.twitter.com/BJZIei9Z6A
— Project Arts Centre (@projectarts) June 11, 2020
I will be hightailing it to see ‘The Misunderstanding of Myrrah’ their most recent show in collaboration with visual artist Alice Maher, when they announce rescheduled performances.
On a lighter note, I came across this earlier, and burst into a fit of giggles…I tend to forget that Pierce Brosnan was Bond, please forgive me. His singing (or lack thereof?) in Mamma Mia is now the only thing I think of when I hear his name. But yeah, 007. He rocked a tux a long time before he declared his love to Meryl Streep, albeit slightly off-key.
Will never not be amazed by the fact that Pierce Brosnan playing James Bond meant that for a while….
Bond was from Meath.
James Bond. Meath.
— Juliette (@juliettec49) June 11, 2020
Even in the best of times, my mind can feel quite scattered, fractured, following several different trains of thoughts at once, and this (we’ll call it a state) has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. In the moments I have to just be, settling down and enjoying contemplation can be exceeding difficult. Thankfully those moments do come, they just tend to be elusive for extended periods of time.
This piece from dance artist Glòria Ros Abellana for Liz Roche Company’s blog spoke to me on a deeper level, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the variety of posts and works created, including Lucia Kickham’s ‘Where Calm Once Lived’ which we featured on Stage Door Live during our sixth episode.
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"This piece comes from a scattered mind and a gathered body (…) The following is a dialogue between two parts of myself: me and her." THE DIALOGUES is Glòria Ros Abellana's last contribution to the STILL/MOVING blog. Watch the 3 videos & read the full text on our website. Link in bio. —————————— The STILL/MOVING Blog has been a place to share thoughts and ideas on what it means to be a dancing body that suddenly finds itself having to be still. Sharing movement with audiences and each other is part of what makes us who we are, so these weeks and months ahead where so many rehearsals and performances have been cancelled are going to be a challenge. We thought it might be a good moment to pause, reflect and, above all else, continue to share. For that reason, we invited 5 dancers who are currently working on different productions with the company to contribute to this creative blog during the confinement period: Sarah Cerneaux, Kévin Coquelard, Lucia Kickham, Glòria Ros Abellana and Ryan O'Neill. @luciakickham @ryan0nei11 @sarah_lfb_et_cie @gloriarosabellana @chickandpig —————————— Liz Roche Company is Strategically Funded by the @artscouncilireland and supported by @dublincitycouncil —————————— #contemporarydance #dance #dancingbody #lizrochecompany #blog #creativity #creativeblog #danceblog #artsblog #stillmoving #stillmovingblog #videoart #confinement #lockdown #dancer
Instead of struggling to express myself through speech, I’m able to watch these pieces and just feel, which in this world of Zoom, Skype, and other screen to screen connections, is such a blessing and rarity, at least for this gal recently.
One of the highlights of my week was Carlow Arts Festival’s Slice #2. Although technical gremlins made them start slightly later than anticipated (an issue which the team at Theatremaker.ie understand all too well), Slice #2 proved just as delicious as we expected. (Get it? Like a slice of cake?)
As a welcome surprise at the end of the evening, Carlow Arts Festival shared with us Maya Jackson’s “Noble Call.”
It was another kind of call to action. The one that comes after the “trending” has ended. After we’ve donated, marched, petitioned, posted. After we think we’ve ticked the boxes of helping the cause, of being an ally. A reminder that we must do better, we must stay in the fight.
It's been about two weeks…And I still don’t know what to sayOr how to say it.And so mostly I’ve been thinkingBut you think too much about anything and you start to lose your reason.You think too much about Race and you forget how to speak.Because to think about Race in America is to examine HistoryAnd to examine History means to eventually consider Hate.And to consider Hate.To consider HateFor too long.Is to constantly beg to God“but I don’t understand…”And the constant begging for answersWell, its making my tongue weak.You see I've been meditating on White SupremacyAnd I’ve been thinking too long about wordsAnd it's just really hard to speak.I’m losing my reasonIf Black life doesn’t count, then how can Black words matterAnd so to maintain my logic and protect my mind. I took a step back. I chose to retreatSo it's been two weeksAnd you may not have heard much from meBut you don’t have to guess at what I’ve found in my meditationsMany Black voices around the country have already made it clearAnd more eloquently than I ever could, with clear eyes, sharp aim, honest words, and uncompromising determinationAnd that's why I hold Black voices so dearAnd I trust Black voicesBecause when I needed to retreat.To rage, rest, and renew in silence.When the rage I feel finally caught and quieted me like a nail in my throatThey gave me presence.Raged out loudThey carried me.They spoke.And I trust Black voices.But I've been waiting for the right time to speak up for myself.And honestly, this still doesn’t feel like the momentI don’t feel charitable, or ready, or wellI feel the nail. However I feel…I feelI feel…I should probably speak up now.Because I suspect there maybe people who will not hear the voices outside raging.Right now.Or feel what's being saidRight nowIn this crucial moment (for now)If they don’t hear it from meRight now.So this may be sloppy.imperfect, clunky, and meandering. Long. YesAn anarchy of grammar. YESAnd There will be no links to resources other than my lived experienceBut I think it might be necessary for you to read on nonetheless.Because I am your only Black friend.There it is.Because I am many people’s only Black friend. Or one of a few.Because there is only one of me and many of you.Because I was one of the few on your school bus. Because I was one of two at your sleepovers. One of three in your class. The only one in your cast.Because I am the first Black girl you dated. Because you never considered it an option before. Because, I doubt I'm the first Black girl whose hair you dug your fingers into, but my head must have been the first to introduce you to hair grease.Otherwise why would you have pulled your hand back and said:“Ew.”Because you were my first argument about privilege when I first started really understanding the wordBecause we argued about my father’s privilege vs. your own.Because we love each other and we’re older now and I don’t think we’d ever have that argument again.But when I reflect back on it now, I thinkAt the timeI must have been your only Black friend.Because I am the one steady Black face at all your dinner parties, part of a smattering in the audiences at your plays, part of the handful at your weddings. Because I am the one person you feel safe to say certain things to… to say the things you fear most about yourself deep down out loudBecause mine are the only Black hands to have ever held your young child.I am 33A virgoAnd the absolution you keep on file.I am The Black Friend™And as such I am a Black person who finds herself quite frequently in overwhelmingly White spaces.Spaces where I am MY only Black Friend™. Spaces where the temperature is always set low because most of the people are White and the air is kept cool with lip serviceSpaces where people freebase the term “inclusion” but can’t swallow the word “Racist”Spaces where I am the only fish who knows that what she’s swimming in is not air.But water, and she’s not swimming, she’s drowning but somehow she’s learned how to live and drown at the same time. Spaces where there is no daylight between your Whiteness and your comfort,but nothing but distance between my Black consciousness and my peace.I am your Black Friend™And usually we don’t keep secrets between us, You and I.But I haven’t been talking to you lately or returning your texts.Because I don’t like telling lies.And I’ve learned you don’t do too well with certain truths.Yes you.My White friends.My allies.But it's time I speak up for myselfAnd stop reinforcing the mythologies you’ve built up inside. And ask you some of the questions that have been knocking around my mindAs your Black Friend, It's time I ask you: Why?George Floyd’s death was a senseless tragedyBut Black lives matter before they are robbed of breath: Why did a Black man need to be made into a martyr to purchase your advocacyWhy did you require a Black death?Why is my living testimony not enough to ignite your daily rage?And how do you define friendship, if it does not include the desire to see your friends live happy, safe, and free?What is an allied action, if not a radical act of love? A radical act of friendship?Why was my Black friendship not enough for you to advocate for me?Systemic racism is not only made manifest through police brutality and the murder of Black bodies. It is systemic. It exists at every joint and elevation in the system.A system you have always had the power to interrupt.Why did it take you so long? Why did it take you so long?Why did it take you so long?To take courage.Open your eyesOpen your mouth.And speak up.Why?Why are you now willing to put life and limb on the line to protest racial injustice in the streets of our nation, and yet have been unwilling to sacrifice at times even the smallest vestiges of your comfort in conference rooms, rehearsal halls, classrooms, and kitchen tables in your home communities. To speak up for me?To echo my concernsTo challenge your own biasTo challenge your peers’To speak truth to powerTo believe my storiesTo risk being an outlierTo embrace accountabilityTo help me get freeWhen you decide your day is done you get to leave these protests in the street.Why have you not before been willing to protest where you eat?And How?How are you going to stay in the struggle?How are you going to stay in conversation with yourself and other White people about Racism (and not lay your guilt down on me, a Black friend. Or one of your other three)?How are you going to stay committed to the unlearning? The discomfort? The growth?I know I seem ungrateful for your actions of late. Your messages of hope. love. support. pledges to be better. But you see, we’ve been here before.And I know better.We’ll be back again.And I’m afraid of what happens between now and then.Please hear me when I say:There need be no more martyrsThere never needed to be One.And you see, I know you are trying to grieve with me.But you’re not paying taxes to the States with the lives of your sons and daughters every month.However, I am appreciative.And I know you are searching for the right thing to do. But you see, I am in a crisis of faith. A crisis of faith in you.You see, I’ve been training to live in this racist system my entire life. Doing reps with every breath. Strengthening my resilience everytime I push back or push down a racist aggression. I’ve built the endurance. Black people. We have endured. And here you are flexing your advocacy with all your might.And honestlyI’m afraid you can’t sustain it. Because you weren’t raised for this fight.This will be the heavy lifting of your life. And I want to win with you. I doBut if we’re going to get free togetherI know one thing to be true:You can’t put this down when you start to feel fair weather.You have to keep pushing if we’re going to get there togetherYou must protest in your heart for us. Even at your wedding.You must stay vigilant. Because at some point #Blacklivesmatter Will stop trendingOur freedom must be inextricably linked to your life.You must stay in the fight.You. must. do. betterBut I do. want us to win. together. I really do.So ok. I’ll make this one last concession for you.If you need a Black death to keep you motivated, I think it's past time you knew Because I am your Black Friend™Your allyAnd I’ve been dying everyday In front of you.Because there are things that happen.That kill me a little bit all the time. Behaviors, beliefs, and biases that, in aggregate,In the endMay quite literally, rob me of years of my life. And the fact that you have no clue Well, BuddyThat's killing me too.So take courage, gather yourself, bear downDo what you need to do.Donate, research, read, protest, post, vote, be an interrupter, fail, learn. Repeat. Be a Friend. Do better.And RememberLovetoo:I am your Black friend. Your ally. And all this time. While I've been fighting for myself.I've also been fighting for you.Written by Maya Jackson. Performed as a #NobleCall by Maya Jackson as part of #SLICE2 of Carlow Arts Festival 6 June 2020. www.carlowartfestival.com#blacklivesmatter #trustblackvoices
Posted by Carlow Arts Festival on Thursday, June 11, 2020
I’ve found my social media sparkles this week in the hard questions, the uncomfortable conversations, and the determination and grit I’m seeing in people all over the world. We can change things together, and only together.
Where have you found inspiration this week? And how are you inspiring others?
Take care of yourself, and take care of each other.