The End & The Beginning

Wow! Hi! I’ve been overdosing on Lemonade (both Beyonce’s album and the beverage) so I thought it’d be cute to have a lil bit of lemonade, but then I realized that lemonade is nowhere on the internet. So Christian Scott came second.

Onto life. I bought my ticket to Los Angeles! One-Way in August. It’s so very strange to be leaving a place in which I’ve spent a good 6 years of my life. I became a young person here, where I am. But, even with sadness, there comes a great joy in asserting my will. In choosing my life in an active way. I read a book that was an introduction to directing and in it, Anne Bogart talks about directing as a violent series of choices. Whether or not I mean it to be, choosing my life is a violent choice. I’m actively choosing to save money, pack up my life as I have arranged it, say goodbye to family and friends and move all the way across the country. Are violent choices necessary for life to truly be lived?

I’m currently reading “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens” by Alice Walker. It’s about the 10th time that I’m reading it. The pages are worn and crinkled and turning brown and the cover lost it’s shine a long time ago. The significance of a well-loved book. I read it so often, mostly because I love hearing a brown woman’s voice. She’s speaking directly to young queer brown women artists. How often do I get that in my life? Mostly never. Anyway, in the book, there is a specific chapter, named after the book, in which, she speaks of black woman and artistry. It’s probably my favorite chapter. “What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist in our grandmothers’ time? In our great grandmothers’ day?” This is a question that has been plaguing my thoughts recently.

I just finished a project called The Doubleback. It was conceived by a dear friend of mine and focused on the very real lives of three women, buried together, enslaved by the same prominent New England family in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Very little is known about these women. With all the archival digging, what was found was relatively simple and short information. Phyllis, Rose and Fanny Chase. I don’t know what they looked like, sounded like, moved like, and yet I feel such a closeness with them. Fictive kinship at work once again. Fictive kinship is the relationship established between people, generally of the same ethnic or racial background, despite age, time and circumstance. These women, through fictive kinship, somehow take the place of ancestors that I can’t name. Even today, I go and sit next to their grave, talk to them, and look for that friendly tell-tale breeze that lets me know that I’m not alone but that I have nothing to fear. In what ways did they make art? Were they allowed to be artists? Were they artists? What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist and yet to not even own her personage?

Now that I carry on in their spirits, how will I use my artistry to pay them homage? It’s so very important to me that I continue to find myself as an artist at the same rate that I find myself as a human being. What does that mean? My tattoos, my hair, my piercings, my clothes, my makeup or lack therof, my sexuality, my heart, and my voice.  My journals, my poems, my pieces, my plays, my songs, my music, my words. I don’t think that artists find ourselves simply, nor do we find ourselves with relationships. Maybe it’s the in-between. The moments that didn’t quite last, although we maybe wish they did.

To loving breeze, Neo-Soul music and wonderful walks,

Cathy Xo

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