It takes a great deal of grace and experience to learn how to make the most out of an ending.
Today is my final blog post as an Artist in Residence in the Photography and Digital Arts Department at the Flower City Arts Center.
The culmination of my year-long residency resulted in something I prayed for deeply and repeatedly but didn’t expect: stepping out as a performance artist.
My whole life I have been interested in movement. When I was three I refused to remove a tutu for three days straight. I wanted to be a ballerina. In my teens, I was an athlete using nutrition and exercise to sculpt my body and my endurance. In my twenties, I fell in love with yoga. I have always loved to dance and challenge my body to move, stretch, grind, and groove.
The artifacts of my residency–deeply researched and painstakingly curated photographs–are now being stored away until further notice. However, in the gallery space where they were on view during the month of April, they contributed to an enveloping feeling of transformation.
I make art for my mental well being because I must. Yet the truly fulfilling experience is the impact my art has on my audience. The feedback I receive about personal insights, inspirations, and transformations from people interacting with my work fuels my soul. I am grateful to have received a healthy dose of uplifting feedback from the Rochester community. This reveals to me a community ready for a transfusion of new feminine archetypal energy.
The work pushed me. My choice to do a performance haunted me. I had to show up for myself in ways I had never done before–push myself along and over edges that scared the heck out of me. The reality of the performance caused such fear to rise up in my bowels that I asked myself frequently, “why did I do this to myself!?”
I did it because I must. Because I am unsatisfied with a life of status quos, mediocrity, and normalcy. I crave the depths, connection, transformation, inner purpose, beauty, connection, healing, joy, sorrow, expression, recognition. I am grateful to myself, to my guides, to my mentors and friends, and to Megan Charland who had faith in my vision. So, I built an altar and sanctified a space for transformation to take place, within me and within the other, in unison.
A tiresome question for an artist at the apex of a big project.
It is an abrupt sort of question to receive right at the level of commencement or just following.
My response: Let’s just be present a while in what is currently surrounding us or what has just emerged. I anointed myself in my own menstrual blood and buried myself in a mound of dirt. What follows is a psychological grace period where I slowly integrate the power of my actions and take long naps.
There is a practice of staying indoors with a newborn baby for 40 days just the following birth. This second gestational period post birth allows the child’s nervous system to fully settle. The kundalini teachings say that after this time if taken in rest and connection with the parents, the child is set for life with a healthy nervous system.
Who does this? In a fast-paced world that demands much of us, most newborns are in car seats, whizzing around the world to social gatherings, before they are a week old. I have thought of this practice often in the time following my performance, feeling deeply renewed and unknown even to myself as I reconfigure who I am and what I am capable of.
You will be able to find me at the Flower City Arts Center through the Spring for a number of elementally charged classes. You will also be able to find me at The Yards throughout June as one of six artists in residence in their summer program. I am looking forward to deepening my commitment to ritual and movement practice, building community, and producing more experiences to evaluate and enjoy our aliveness in.