We live! Claim your voice

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I will not apologize for being who I am in words, action or thought. I will not shrink, diminish, or minimize myself to make anyone comfortable & I will not adapt to foolishness as not to rustle feathers. It is not to say that I have not accommodated in the past or brushed off others crap; it is to say that the more that you do that, the easier it becomes to do.

When I thought of writing this blog, I was reminded of a situation a couple of weeks ago where someone tried to diminish my expression and defer my sense of being able to handle a situation. They were trying to rewrite my words upon me speaking them, because I don’t always communicate in a linear way. This person did not take time to adjust, see, or be present to what I was doing, but instead side coached my whole process. This was appropriate because I sound young, am a black woman, and also can stand the ability to not have a stick up my rump all the time, so I must just be chatting, must be off topic, lacking the ability to be deliberate, or connect with others, and follow rules at the same time. Right?

I recognized the undertone of a need to control what I was doing rather than be present to it and re-route later or them allowing themselves to trust my particular process, since everyone is their own person. (A bit of background: I was being coached on a specific technique and method of doing something, but I had not veered off course yet enough to be interrupted the disproportionate amount of times that I was). I am not writing this because I can’t take criticism, am being overly sensitive, or desiring to complain. My intention is to share that you do not have to let anyone make you feel inferior because they don’t understand you, don’t work the same, are trying to control you, or have insecurities.

When people are used to certain ways of expression and they think that everyone should conform to those ways, it’s disheartening because then you realize that there is such a desire within some people to control and curate others (especially women & people of color’s processes because they are not presented or expressed within a certain expected narrative, are not necessarily robotic, verbally edited to be syrupy sweet, chipper, surface, redirecting, curled at the ends, removed, or presented in a covering state that some Americans have grown to be used to expecting for others to carry as a one size fits all way to express themselves and means of accepting others.

I did not say that the instruction was helpful or nice because it wasn’t. I am not sure of the way that I put my words together anymore, but I made sure that they were not apologetic or acceptance seeking, because I knew that I was being mistreated and that the person needed to know that I knew it was not fair or amusing.

If this takes me out of certain places, those places were not for me. If it removes me from people, those were not my people. Meanwhile, the plan is that I’m going to womanifest the $#^t out of this abundant life that I’ve been given. If we live a life of plenty, we must stop believing in and exuding lack. With the lemons, make herbal tea, lemonade, lemon cake, lemon water, juice them, use them for a still life, give one away, hold one in gratitude, rub it on your skin for toner, make fire cider, liver tonic, flavor your food, or whatever you need to do, do that!

Life is too vast, rich, and precious to wallow in dissatisfaction and a downplayed self worth, lack of self respect, or a shaky self love. Breathe and walk in your purpose with all the beauty and love that you are. Some people expect you to cower in the face and expression of their fear. Show them that you are born of the most. Show yourself and them that you are encompassing, cohesive, non random, unimaginable energy just as their ego was, and that what you exude is stronger than ego because it’s rooted in innerstanding, purpose and self love.

 

An affirmation to move forward:

  • I have released anything that has served its purpose, and I blossom in the deliberate strength and purpose of my existence. I am divinely protected and attracting the bounty of life!

 

A poem Inspired by the incident:

Just because your eardrums have issues holding space for the tones vibrancy and resonant frequencies uttered through my vocal cords to translate and harmonize spirit doesn’t mean that I will allow my voice to crack break and exude a pitch that you find more pleasant.

My people are not just of the valley 

We have been here since before this realm was released

If you need to close your eyes as I walk by, do what you need to do as you await that I scurry by 

Realize I tend to move in ways akin to the dance of a baby enjoying the freedom of the womb 

I am here to disappoint your expectations and appoint myself to my highest position in frequency and physical ability 

Nurtured in sacred space

My movements are a dance to the hums of black existence 

What you may not be able to see through, is sharp, full, all encompassing..

We live this music

You close your eyes and hear it

Block your ears and see it

Can’t escape it so you wish to change it, but we flow with the change and easily adapt to furthering life

When you can’t see, all of the other senses step in to function more keenly.

We all have night vision.

That’s inner vision

Though some are afraid of the dark

You label us the minority

Though in actuality that’s primarily only a hope for you or even just a wish.

When you look at reality, oh my how the picture is vividly flipped

You are the minority among brown and Black faces indigenous 

We give you back your gods 

So that we may properly reflect and recreate our image 

We dissolve mourning our lives in your hands and have no desire to beg at your mercy

We have always created

Recreated

Remixed

Procreated

Covered

Uncovered 

Protected 

Nurtured

Somehow focus gets redirected from staring at screens and embracing dreams deferred

Redirecting

We celebrate the highs and lows of our lives breath voices skin tones and pieces of our glory in daily life stories because this is what makes us human and visible

Creates our identities 

We will not cower and mourn in the darkness because we are full enough to do so in the light

We work to re-image our brokenness to visions and plans of building instead.

Home

Who are we to be fragmented compartmentalized beings? We are the world

Since the beginning and through the endings as the sun rolls across the sky each day

To reveal a different aspect of life 

Of creation

We create

How dare we believe we must sacrifice ourselves to live

as we were born creations as gifts.

We give a home to life 

And live

We live.

Home

 

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Copyright© 2018 Narelle Thomas

All rights reserved.

 

 

“Allow me to re-introduce myself!…”

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I attended an event one of the last times I performed last year, it was a beautiful event with very gracious hosts, good people and a nice environment, but when I was introduced I was introduced as a spoken word artist with a special poem to share. I wasn’t well acquainted with the hostess very well because she was newer to what she was doing and in general I thought that I would have been introduced a little better than a talent show participant and more like the professional artist that I was/am. I was kind of disappointed.

Later I thought (because I didn’t go the extra mile to give myself a proper introduction following the poorer one) that it was my fault.

Let me explain..

In my opinion it is your responsibility first to represent yourself. No one will be a representative of you better than yourself. You must be your biggest hype-person, representative and cheerleader through words and action. You don’t have to be dramatic and overbearing, but it’s important to conduct yourself in a way that is indicative of who you are and what you’re about. They say “first impressions are everything” so it’s important to be authentic and show gratitude for what others give to you, but if someone is not representing your fullness (which only you can really do for yourself) it’s important to use the amount of time you have to really clarify what you see fit to bring to the light. If someone mispronounces your name, correctly and politely speak your name as it should be spoken because that is what others will call you. If you don’t embrace what makes you who you are then no one else can. Be confident in this because it’s necessary to be glad for who you are and what you’ve become up to this point. There is nothing wrong with sharing that. In the words of Jay-Z “allow me to re-introduce myself!..” If you don’t give yourself the proper credit, you can’t expect anyone else to, because most likely unless you have a bio that they’re reading from, or unless they follow what you’re doing, or are prepared for your performance, they won’t know and you can’t expect that your audience knows it all either. In the moment before you do anything, you are here for yourself.

I can say this because I’m on the quieter side and I’m not boastful or a diva so people probably could think that it’s okay to interact with me that way more easily or might be quicker to do so, but this post is not really about me. Sometimes I feel younger artists may deal with these types of situations too where some will underestimate you because you’re young, you look younger than your age by a great deal, or because older people may not really know how to celebrate younger artists besides by building on the fact that they’re “so young” (which is often a remarkable and celebration-worthy thing, but should not be built upon just the fact that they’re young and so they condescendingly get false praise but that’s another story).

It can also be interesting at local shows where some look at you a certain way for not being a huge artist yet. The thing I would say to that would be to keep going, because as you go, you grow! Know your amazing-ness! As you do more and more of what you love, you improve until you get to the places that you aspire to be. Everyone starts somewhere and most likely if you’re in a place to be able to share your work, there’s a reason that YOU were chosen. Reflect on that why and build with it. Whether you’re paid or not paid, being in front of a crowd (no matter the size) is an important moment of connection. It’s a beautiful opportunity to really touch others and pour your essence into your work. Introduce yourself properly and as my former director and amazing friend and inspiration Magdalena Gomez would say before shows, “Go out there to love them.” It’s not so much about them loving you. If you’re authentic, how can people not? To me it was very clear to always go out to set your intentions free. Your work is to deliver something to the people, and that is your highest form of representation, responsibility and reciprocity. Go and GIVE. This speaks even if you actually drop the ball and don’t introduce yourself as you’d like or need to, or you let someone else do it and don’t add to it re- introduce yourself. Whatever you give, you will get back in return and guess what? You’ll meet those people face to face and you can expand from there.

You may have one shot on stage to “get it right” but life is so forgiving, that when you go with your spirit and do what you feel strongest, it all works out in the end as it did for me. I wrote this because I felt unsettled a bit from that experience and wanted to share something that I learned in the process and expand upon it to include a couple other things, but my main lesson was self-representation. You can’t rely on or expect for anyone else to do your work for you. And guess what? you win some, you learn from some, and you make it out great because when you don’t feel strong in your work, it’s a place to build from. It’s a point to strengthen and reinforce. Reinforce your intention, stay focused in your purpose and see your actualization play out and then continue until what you envisioned is closer and closer. Write it, say it, believe it, see it, and know it. Go out to set your intentions free. Let them grow what you wish to receive.

Thanks for reading & Much Love to you and yours

~Narelle

 

Copyright© 2018 Narelle Thomas

All rights reserved.

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A Tribute to Magdalena Gomez- Happy Birthday!

Magdalena Gomez

People know her for many things

Performance Poet

Playwright

Arts Educator

Columnist

Co- Founder and Artistic Director of Teatro V!da

Magdalena Gomez

My inspiration

mentor

teacher

and friend

a woman of compassion and strength

that teaches me many things

like that i  can bring myself way farther than I ever thought i could reach

and when in doubt reach anyway

do not be scared but prepared

for anything..

and

“Narelle this is your last chance, if we can’t hear you this time call your mother to come and pick you up, because we can’t spend anymore time on just you”

“do you all think that’s fair?”

after that rehearsal, i decided that it was and worked to make sure it didn’t happen again next week

She helped to nurture my outside of the box thinking

and to see stories like kaliedescope images

there are many pieces shapes and colors that create the image that you see

it is the same with self expression

we all have a piece of the story

because we are all a part of the image

and when the lines serve to separate us bend them into circles of connection or connect the dots to see a new story

She told me that we are more alike than you may think

and as always that made me think

but also made me feel like i’m walking a path where it’s not so lonely

and taught me that living with intention is pretty hip

In an interview I was reading 

she said that “even in times of great sorrow, we must choose to find what is encouraging and life giving, how we choose to live our lives is the greatest lesson we teach.”

well in response to that Magdalena

I’d like to say thank you for always presenting me with a life giving option in which to grow from

thank you for the infinite lessons that you continue to share with me and the world each day that you live

and for showing society the beauty of being a woman of color that is fearless

fierce

brilliant

and bold

to not always do what you are told

but to do what is necessary

Copyright© 2012 Narelle Thomas
All rights reserved.

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