My friend recently tattooed “I am enough” on her forearm. Something so simple yet hard to remember. When I saw this on her Facebook, I just got back from a long day that included an audition and meeting with my mentor so I felt good and thought ‘yeah’. These words were a reminder for me that “yes, I am enough!”
But then came the next day and the next. And by Wednesday, I wasn’t enough. I had a few days to stew on the fact that I walked into that audition on Sunday feeling hopeless. My ‘future’ self had understood why ‘past’ self wasn’t up for an audition.
So this terrible thing happened the Tuesday before called the election…do you all remember the presidential election? The election where the U.S. showed its preference towards white superiority over all aspects of human decency and exposed the dark core of this country’s heart? Yeah, that election. Anyway, I was feeling pretty shitty that week.
My friend Carvell said it best and wraps up my feelings perfectly “America is a country that every time there is progress against white male supremacy, there is blowback. it happened after the civil war, and after the civil rights movement. it’s happened again this year. it sucks to live in a country that is always trying to fuck you out of your humanity, but we have each other. we have love and we have our work. let us always lean into that.”
Now is the moment and time to honor and perform my work, my blackness, my Chicana pride, my culture, my art, my femininity, and my message about this love of being black, Chicana and beautiful. This is a liminal space that is both transformative and critical. Therefore, I am critical of the spaces I co-perform and inhabit.
Walking into this audition which is a dance style born from black bodies using art to harness a sense of power despite their oppressors, my heart sinks a little bit at the lack of black and brown bodies in the space. This is not to say that they were not present, they were. However white bodies surpassed brown and black. For many reasons with everything going on in the Bay Area and beyond, it just wasn’t a sufficient diverse racial demographic to the community and message this dance group serves. Because there is a loneliness of being black in the Bay Area these days.
This is the time to be surrounded by and around the power associated with black bodies creating art together. Queer black bodies using their art to construct and reconstruct their blackness. Using dance and hip-hop to expand the boundaries of the black identity to include more of our voices to show blackness is not fixed that it is quare and queer and beyond.
There were several conflicting variables going on for me before and during this audition. Then someone used intersectionality in the wrong context during an exercise which was annoying because we shouldn’t be using words that we don’t understand…
These are all the external factors having an affect on this experience in hindsight. All a reminder of the work that needs to be done. The work to lean into. The internal conflict is my part of this whole experience which is my mediocrity, lack of preparation and need for validation from my peers. My mentor had to remind me that I returned to dance after a long, long break (like a decade). She told me that I’ve come so far in such a short time but I forget that I’m a novice, amature compared to dancers with consistent training and importantly too I needed to remember “that’s okay.” She continued “your best is good enough, Iris.”
I remembered my friend and her tattoo, I am enough. With everything that is happening and going to happen, I am enough.