HELLLOOOOOOOOOOO blog space, thing, world. Yea. That works. SO! I decided to start a blog. Short story shorter, I’m a young 20-something living in a New England city (Hopefully for not much longer). I’m black American, queer and all about the theater. Maybe the blog title gave that away? I usually don’t do internet-y (yea it’s a word) things. I don’t have Bookface or Instagram and Snapchat confusses me. I’m a low-key nerd. I read lots of books, articles, and blogs. I listen to soundcloud for my music jones, I watch web series’ and basically no tv, unless The L Word on Netflix counts as television. I’m currently a theater educator at a theater company here in good ole New England for another eight months. I act, sing, dance, direct, teach, write, basically, I’ll do anything as long as I can be in the room where art is being facilitated and created. I’m social justice active for my QPOC (Queer People of Color). I’m all about blowing the injustice up and dropping the mic and bouncing. So that’s my introduction. On to the Other Weird Things!
Passion. For the last 6 months, this word has been coming up in my life a lot. Sometimes as a descriptive word, sometimes for blame, sometimes to congratulate, sometimes for excuses, sometimes for sex, etc. So, I finally gave in and just looked up the word that I already knew the definition for, but alas, sometimes like Nike, you just gotta do it. Passion according to Merriam-Webster. (Thank you google)
Passion: (noun) a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something
or a strong feeling that causes you to act in a dangerous way
or a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone.
What got me, in relation to this word coming my way was the many definitions. I mean damn. I could either be excited, dangerous, or boutta go in bedroom style. The second one caught my eye the most. A strong feeling that causes you to act in a dangerous way. Let me explain, I’m a person about action. Your words mean nothing in my book if not followed up with some action. I feel this way about all facets of my life, my work, my love, my spirituality. What do we leave behind in this world if not our actions? How did we make this world a better place than how it was before? So many times, as a young woman I feel like having “passion”, the feeling of an emotion so strongly that I just have to act (ok maybe sometime it’s in a dangerous way but not always) is looked at as being angry. I’ve been fighting the black woman stereotype all my life. But why? Isn’t feeling emotion a natural thing? Why is it that somehow in the body of a black queer woman, that’s seen as being threatening…dangerous?
Who else noticed that one word popped up the most in those three definitions? Strong. So then Webster helped a sistah out and I looked up that one.
Strong: (adjective) Having great physical power or ability
or not easy to break or damage
or not sick or damaged
Well. Once again, the second one made me pause. The strongest, most passionate people I know have been damaged and risen above, learned, and become better, but never have they broken. Is being strong, really about being invincible? Is strength a choice?
I teach a dance class once a week to some absolutely hilarious teenagers. They are wide-eyed, eager to learn, awkward, goofy and in many ways very privileged. Private school educated, but nonetheless, they’re still young people with challenges and beliefs that they haven’t yet discovered. As I was going over a combination today, they asked me “Cathy, how are you so cool?!” I had to laugh out loud. Were they kidding? Cool? Me? Who were they looking at?! But then I realized that to them, I’m like the young people that inspired me to be an artist. I grew up in NYC and I remember being in awe of the young theater artists that would come to work with me. They were the coolest. Now I wonder if they knew how cool they were from my vantage point. Maybe the most activist thing for me to do isn’t to go out and do seemingly “crazy”, but really passionate marches, conventions, etc. Maybe it’s just talking to the future, the young people. How do we let them know how cool THEY really are, and that we’ve all been there. In only a few short months, I’ll leave them, but the imprint of passion and strength that they’ve left me with will stay forever.
Peace, love and hair grease.