I'm having an emotional week. It feels like I've been crying for days. I don't like crying in front of people, let alone admitting to doing so on a public blog, but I've been trying to push myself to sit with my vulnerability, so there's a start. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I certainly needed a release. And this is certainly the time for it -- add miscommunications, car troubles and other frustrations to three days of intensive training about the issues surrounding child sexual abuse, and I really have no choice but to let the tears fall. I think I can allow myself this one -- there's no harm in needing a good cry, and getting a great one instead. Part of forgiving myself for being so full of emotions involves understanding why I'm crying and what it's doing for me. This kind of reflection can build up more emotion, but it's building in the best way. I'm checking in with my body about where the tension is, where it's coming from, and how my crying is helping me let it go. I've been doing the same thing with running, another way to release. Not always -- sometimes I run just to run, and I feel release then, too, but I also feel
a sort of emptiness in wondering what it was, exactly, that I lost. On the other hand, there are times when I run with an awareness of my body, of the way each muscle flexes and stretches, of what feels good and what feels hard and what feels nothing at all, as my skin pours sweat, as if my body's weeping.For me, like crying and running, writing can be a release. This is nothing new, of course. Writing has been used to express our feelings ever since the world's first angsty teenagers created paper upon which to spill their tears. But I'm wondering what it would look like to be more intentional about it, in the same way that I get in touch with my body when I'm running. I center my body and mind, remembering that I am in my body, feeling the connection from the roots at my feet to the threads of my fingers. I think of what's brought me here. Thinking back to the tension of the day, and then back further, to the tension building in my life, and then back further still, to the tension in my communities and my environment, and further still, to those who have come before me, to the history stirring in the ground below me... and then?Release.
Last Thursday's Generation FIVE fundraiser
Tonight at InsideStorytime
, I'm reading a piece set in Trinidad. It's a piece that feels deeply personal, in a strange way. I guess I can wait until after I've read it to elaborate on that. But it makes sense that the idea of writing as an act of discovery
applies to reading and sharing work, too. Each reading brings surprises. Sometimes, discoveries come through self-reflection on my work and its relationship with the audience. And always, I find something new by sharing the experience of that work with the audience.At last Thursday's Generation FIVE fundraiser,
for example, I gained more insight on how my poetry fits into the framework of Transformative Justice
. It really felt right to be part of an event that included the brilliant voices of Vanessa Huang and Janee Smith, as well as a moment to join a stand for human rights by making phone calls to support the Pelican Bay Prisoner Hunger Strike
. I'm still in the process of taking in everything that evening offered. For tonight's reading, I'm already making new discoveries, as I think about this piece and what it means to me. I'm also looking forward to readings by Michael David Lukas
, Angie Chau
, Heather Fowler
and Andrew Dugas
. With Ransom Stephens
as the MC. Come by if you're in the Bay Area tonight. Our art engages us in conversation, and the more people join, the more we can all discover.
800 Post Street
San Francisco, California
This week has been chaotic for me. I'm hopeful that my life will find its rhythm and slow down soon, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Tomorrow evening will be a good start. I'll be eating good food, spending time with good people and reading my poetry in support of a really good cause. It's Thursday night's Lengua en Salsa, the pupusa fundraiser in which I read last year for Community United Against Violence (CUAV). This post
reminded me of what a great reading that was, and I'm really pumped to do it all over again, this time to support Generation FIVE. What is Lengua en Salsa?
It's "Happy Hour of the Movement," a fundraiser that happens every Thursday at Sunrise Restaurant in San Francisco. DJs play music, folks share sangria and pupusas, and 20% of everything the restaurant makes that evening goes to benefit a community organization. That's right - all you have to do is show up and eat delicious Salvadorean food, and you can help create social change. Mark your Thursday calendar, if you haven't already. This Thursday's event will benefit Generation FIVE, and will feature poetry by Vanessa Huang
and myself. Who is Generation FIVE?
An outstanding organization that aims to end the sexual abuse of children within five generations. Visit their website to read about their approach
to child sexual abuse as social justice - "Generation FIVE works at the roots of child sexual abuse and holds a vision of liberation, justice and sustainability for all of our futures." I first became familiar with Generation FIVE at last summer's U.S. Social Forum.
Folks from the organization shared the principles and practices of Transformative Justice
, a liberatory approach to violence that includes healing, accountability and community action. "Toward Transformative Justice" is available here
if you want to learn more about Transformative Justice. And to support the good work of Generation FIVE, join us for pupusas and poetry tomorrow evening!
Lengua en Salsa
Thursday, July 14th 5:00-7:30pm
3126 24th St. between Shotwell and Folsom in San Francisco
Also, a request if you plan to attend: Please make preparations to ensure this event is accessible and safe for people with chemical injury and environmental illness. We request you refrain from wearing hair and body products with fragrance or clothing washed in detergent with fragrance, including "natural" products and essential oils. We want to make sure everyone can attend. For folks with MCS, please note that this event is going to be held at at a restaurant that will be open to people who have not received this invitation. If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to check in with Prentis, firstname.lastname@example.org prior to or during the event.