2012 had certainly been a year of wholeness and fulfillment in a number of areas in my life. Here are the top seven things I am thankful for.
At Brooklyn College, I've been able to come by a life-coach who is going to be an essential part of my work in 2013 and moving forward. In reading a small book on US Classroom Culture, they spoke about faculty out here being much more impersonal and distanced than in other countries. While I can swear by that fact for the most part, I've been blessed enough to come across professors and mentors who have a vested interest in seeing me succeed academically and in my creative work, (most of them being immigrant anyway). I have been finding myself through lunch conversations and office-couch sittings, one exchange at a time.
6. Future Work
Making plans for 2013 had been one of the joys of 2012. Apart from planning and organizing conferences at school (one of which includes Spike Lee as the keynote speaker in February) and writing for a new African diasporic journal, I will be crafting and developing my first one-woman show as an independent study this spring. The show 'Cascadoo' will center on defining 'home' and how this definition is never fixed and changes by season and cycle. This has been a 5 year long dream about to materialize. Excitement is not even the word anymore.
5. Brave New Voices
BNV always makes it into my top experiences, every year. It was just beautiful being out in the Bay Area, I surely need to spend some time living and working there before exiling myself from America after studies are completed. The best parts for me this year were the one-on-one conversations with youth community leaders, activists and the elders of YouthSpeaks, in truly looking for ways to develop our home bases. For me this year, I honestly wasn't really about the poems, but working to facilitate the space for young people to engage each other, ask questions, develop solutions, all while having fun in a creative space. This year, don't ask me what teams had dope poems or which MC killed it, but ask me which individual or group of individuals allowed their actions and their ideas and their love speak for them and I will be able to tell you. Also, the Future Corps network is priceless in the training and spirit we are cultivated in. For 2013, I don't particularly see myself going to the festival itself, but sure as hell taking what I have learnt to Trinidad and wherever else it is needed.
4. Two Cents
In the same breath of youth and passion, spending time with the young people/young adults of the Two Cents Movement in Trinidad, was truly a heart warming experience, in just being able to sit down and have conversations, and create work. It was an inspiring moment to recognize that the work has miracle-loaved itself into a form that is in the hands of a younger group, willing to take it to the next level with a certain amount of devotion and group politic that had been lacking before.
3. Slam Team
We're at it again for 2013. The old 2012 team re-qualified for this year's Brooklyn College Slam team, and this group has constantly been a source of strength, inspiration, family and love in this last year. We're a family, with great moments, moments of brilliance, disagreements, pranks and occasional rachetery, but it has been a blessing to grow with this group and have a support system such as this one. We also absorbed Mega as part of the team this year and have the Nuyorican's Mahogany Browne as our coach, so it's bound to be beautiful in the next upcoming months.
By the grace and mercy of God, I was able to come by four scholarships from CUNY and Brooklyn College for a number of things including academic merit, activism and a fellowship for travel. These awards still do not completely pay for school (or even remotely so) but they have been essential to my being able to complete my studies and not have me drop out of school and go back home. God knows I need these things to survive in this country, and has made a way where there was none. These are my parents prayers in tangible form.
1. South Africa (duh!)
Being able to finally travel to SA to be with Ryan and to spend time at the Market Theatre Lab was everything I needed to know that God is in charge of my life and that he is the grantor of prayers and dreams. 2013 makes it four years that Ryan and I have been journeying together and it is with increased faith and strength that I have been able to live and be fulfilled by this love and this commitment. The opportunity arose, the chance was seized and it was just crazy how everything fell into place and with precision. God is in charge and I can only wait to see what beauty he has in store for us in the upcoming year.
The self-sufficiency and independence that 2012 had been able to teach me has surely been making me into the kind of warrior my ancestors had been hoping for me to become. The kind of revelations God has been giving me in the creation of this show and the encouragement of those around me has led me to believe that 2013 is going to be one for the archives. I have many people that I thank God for whose presence in my life has surely been essential to my growth, both home and abroad (wherever those two places are to me now). They have all been light and know who they are.
Praise the seed, praise the womb of things, praise the anticipate.