Sunday, August 19, 2012

Trans-Atlantic Nomad Part 1

I haven't been back to Brooklyn more than a half day, but this particular post has been months worth of thinking and processing. This year I'd been blessed immensely to do some travelling for the summer and the last three months have been the sum total of the most edifying time period in my growth as a person. As an artist, I've been absolutely obsessed with Geopathology in a much wider understanding of the term as relates to how place and space impacts a person. As a result, I am working on developing a narrative on nomadic women in the 21st century Trans-Atlantic crossing. This will all make sense eventually, it has to. I will now walk through my travels in less detail as I would like.

South Africa
Has to be by far the biggest leap of faith I've taken yet. This trip came together with certain magic, everything fell into place as it needed to. All that was needed was for me to trust my heart and get on the airplane. Getting there meant that everything in my life came to full alignment. Heart, soul and body were finally in the same place. Ryan is by far one of the most remarkable men I have ever come across and we will continue to build on what three years has set down for us. I felt at home in myself. Although he'd been the only person in the entire experience that I'd known in the country before the trip, my heart was full, and I had no desire to leave. This has never happened before. I'm usually one to be ready to be home again within the first week. I will spend some time living there at some point. God alone knows when and for how long.
The young people at the theatre were absolutely welcoming and open to my presence with them. I took away the most valuable lesson in understanding that the theatre is the people in it and the stories they have to offer. It's not always about set and lights and sound cues and pretty things. The theatre is a medium of living and cannot be limited to some inanimate equipment and fanfare.

San Francisco
The Brave New Voices festival in all its annual beauty had trumped my expectations this year by being one of the best since 2008. I felt like it had been arguably more communal, and an interactive safe space with less competitive sentiment floating around. I've certainly gained some more skills in event management and holding space. The Future Corps team got quite a work-out this year and carried much more weight and responsibility this time which is surely more beneficial to my work in arts education and event planning. I'm also appreciative of networking with new folks and being able to learn the internal workings of the organization.

I am absolutely grateful for being able to have spent the three weeks with my parents. I appreciate them even more in adulthood and how they still believe in me. How they are two of the most compassionate and understanding people in my world. For the first time I've bonded with my mom the way I did this time around. She was rolling through shows with me, we went dancing together, she was finally part of a world I was passionate about- arts and culture. Dad is still getting by one day at a time, waiting on funding to start radiotherapy next month God Willing. Looking at him makes me appreciate life more. He aspires to get through every day, but isn't always able to do it. This doesn't stop him from making plans for the next morning.
I've also noticed that people grow with time, and not always in the same direction, and I respect that also. I've experienced a feeling of displacement and unsettling from some relationships and I knew before that this was to be expected. Like I can barely hold conversation with some of my old friends. I felt the opposite of what I had in South Africa. It was now a space of exclusion and it was painful to not feel at home in the homes I had made in other people. It hurt. It still hurts. I remember getting home one night and crying and writing till I eventually fell asleep. How do you become the outsider in your house?

There is a garden party happening outside my window with 1980s calypso and dance reggae. I've realized the evolution of my vocabulary over the last two years. Trinidad was 'home'. Brooklyn was 'Brooklyn'. Now Trinidad is 'Trinidad' and Brooklyn is 'home'. This has left my mouth a number of times without me thinking about it until now. Labour Day is coming up and West Indians everywhere are having parties and endless silver trays of food. They've just started a bottle and spoon section and dancing. I feel at home here. I missed a poetry show tonight, only because I was too tired, not because I didn't have money or transport. I do not have any tuition money for school that starts in a week from tomorrow, but I know that it will come because I strongly believe that here is where God has appointed for me to be at this time in my life. If there are any who are upset with this, there is nothing I can do to help that. Outside they have just put on Black Stalin's music. I hear more calypso and soca in Brooklyn than I do in Trinidad. I have not betrayed any part of myself in being where God has put me. The countdown is on to J'ourvet morning in two weeks.

The triangle goes- Africa, Americas and the Caribbean. In mid-triangle there is the middle passage, the Atlantis, the women who abandoned ship, the people sleeping on the seabed. I am still moving in the current of my ancestors. Where my feet rest, is destiny enough for me to be at peace wherever that is. I will not disinherit anything or any place. I am only gaining. I am only growing. All these places are travelling with me, all of the time as in Coelho's Aleph. I am about to trace my foremother's steps to mine and then to my children's.