First Two Weeks of the Second (Spring) Semester!
How to move from student to ARTIST?
This question has been on my mind recently as I contemplate being in second year and how I want to approach the work in the remaining years of the program. I've realized that I have been an "obedient student" most of my life. My suspicion is that a large part of this has to do with my upbringing and how I based my self worth on gaining the approval of elderly or authority figures whom I have unconsciously perceived as "gods." Growing up, it mattered more that I was "good" (mabait) or "obedient" (masunurin) than brave and speaking what's on my mind. This meant a lot of silence on my part which also bred a lot of hidden resentment. It didn't help also that most of these "gods" were profoundly flawed human beings with a lot of their own unresolved issues. My silence cultivated their status and authority while my own voice threatened their egos and hence my own place in my communities. Until now, articulating difficult emotions remains a challenge in relationships.
Bravery and resourcefulness, I believe, were things that I found and cultivated on my own as I touched upon adulthood. A part of making the journey to a new environment and building a new life in that new environment is getting to know more deeply who I am and exercising the right to nurture my personal Voice.
As a student in Juilliard, I do admit that I take teachers' feedback as "gold." Sometimes there is a fear that if I do not do what I am told I will be skipping an integral part of my journey as an artist and will leave the program with a "hole" in my toolbox and will be unable to enter the gates of an industry that I want to be a part of. An industry in which most gatekeepers are white. The same way that most of my teachers are white.
On the other hand, listening to and watching people like Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer on youtube made me want to reinvestigate a number of things. One of the things that I want to move towards now is stepping into who I am. I think that the Self has a lot to do about being an artist. The Self is where maybe 90% of the resources/material is drawn from for an artist (the others may be: collaboration, technique, era, etc.). And yet, sometimes it is hard to look in the mirror and realize that one does not fit into the prevailing cultural ideals in terms of physical features. One can also be too aware of one's hang-ups, or unhealthy emotional patterns set early in childhood that one is still wrestling to heal in adulthood, or the fear that one is crazy because one's opinion or point of view is different from the majority that is in the room, etc.
I thought that I was a person who particularly likes, respects and loves myself. Upon closer inspection, I feel I can be more compassionate to myself with all the things I'm dealing with on a day-to-day basis.
"A calculated form of disrespect,"
I am an actress currently based in New York City. I received my acting training at The Juilliard School. Take a look around!