I realize I didn’t blog after day 2 of interviewing. I think I needed a break, really. Plus day 2 required some pausing, for lots of reasons, power outages included.
Oddly we found that even though we’ve done an entire round of interviewing, we are still having to learn as we go. Day 2 showed us that we can’t over-direct these interviews. In other words, we both had times today where we tried to make something happen, and it just didn’t work. Thankfully my interviewee was fairly easy, in that she didn’t need much from me. However interviewee #2 needed more to set the stage, and that became a different matter. So in the end, that interview probably didn’t go as well as we all would’ve wanted it to.
The plus side of this is that now we find ourselves at day 3, and we’ve figured out a few things. I found that when I’m in the interviewer chair, I need to abandon the idea of being the director. I can still “see” the scenes, but trying to direct and interview at the same time was something I just couldn’t switch between. So this time I gave that up and just turned to J whenever I wasn’t certain if I needed to do more or less. So I could put my full attention on the interviewing part, which helped me conduct a much more relaxed interview. Plus I could focus on creating the conditions for the interviewees that would help them be most honest to themselves.
But in art there is life…
My last few weeks have been roller coaster whirlwind upside-down topsy-turvy timey-wimey discombobulation. It’s been one of those moments in time when I can see the convergence of many different paths, and the decisions that get made will determine major course changes regarding my future. And of course, social justice just has to be a part of it all…again.
What’s the short end of it? I’m so tired…I’m so tired of being in a place, an environment, a region, a climate that continually tells me I don’t belong. When I speak out, I’m told to shut up. When I stand up, I’m told to sit down. When I succeed, I’m told it’s only because others allowed it to be so, and when I fail, I’m told it’s all my fault. I’m the wrong gender, the wrong color, the wrong political party, the wrong background, the wrong religion…it just feels like this all the time. No, not everyone is a jerk to me. This is what it feels like when the dominant discourse is against you. And I’ve been living this for about 7 years now.
So I went on a job interview. And what did I learn? That there’s a whole other place where people actually wanted me – read ME, with all my attitudes and positions and skills…the things that are seen as deficits here were seen as assets somewhere else. Sure there were some reservations…(you just have no idea if a place is the “perfect” fit in a 48 hour time frame) but they seemed to be interested in me and also seemed to think I was capable of doing the job. Oh yeah, this was a place that has higher expectations than where I currently live – yet there was no concern about my ability to make or exceed those expectations. In my current situation, I mostly get from others that they don’t think I’m capable of, well, emptying my own trashcan it seems.
But alas, it was not to be…I had to say no for a variety of important reasons. I was gutted. They were sad and I was sad. And then they had to go say it: “You’d make a great contribution to any department.” I nearly cried on the phone. Then I hung up and cried a lot anyway. To think that somewhere I am the right gender, the right color, the right creed…I just don’t fucking know what to do with myself.
And then I had to come back to the reality of where I live, and now I feel more suffocated than I did before. It’s like that damn scene in Dark Knight Rises where he tries to get out of the stupid pit. I could see the sun…I almost made it to the top. Fucking rope grabbed my leg and I fell down.
Why does it really hurt though to fall? Because, as I finally have put words to it, I went from being visible, if only for a moment, to again becoming completely unnoticed. And it’s not that I want recognition or fame, I don’t want to be “idolized.” I just simply want someone to notice me as a human being. To even notice that right now, I feel like total shit. For someone to say, with some degree of interest, “are you ok?” would show me that maybe out there someone does actually care what happens to me. That my life and my abilities can actually get “seen.”
It sounds a little strange because I have students who comment on seeing my work, and what I try to do for them. And that does matter. But they never get to see what happens in the background. They don’t know, and really they can’t. So there is a whole part of me, and my existence, that really doesn’t get noticed.
And I’m so tired. This past week I fell down and I did not want to get back up.
And that’s what I had to deal with when I went in to interview today. I knew I would hear people talking about oppression, about dealing with this very thing…and I was afraid of it. I was angry about it. I was ready to bawl my eyes out over it.
So after a long venting session, I told myself that I’ve gotta do what I tell my students to do…don’t walk into the room and pretend all that shit isn’t on me. Don’t force it out of the space. Don’t pretend I’m ok. Instead, walk in there fully aware that I’m raw, that I feel these things, that I’m bothered, and simply allow myself to be completely in that space. And then I put all my energy towards being completely present with the person talking to me. Don’t fight it, don’t squirm, just let the wave come over me.
The trick to standing in an ocean, by the way, is to stand perpendicular to the wave, brace, and then release. Inhale, exhale. When the wave hits you, it picks you up, then carries you back to where you started.
That was me today. I heard both interviewees talk about things that hit so close to this. Lance talking about being invisible, being tired, of not wanting to take it any more. Bryan talking about seeing the hurt he’s caused others, not wanting to let them down, and hoping they know how much they’ve made a difference in his life. I don’t know if they noticed me tearing up or not. I didn’t care though, I let the wave come to me.
I think the interviews went well. I still wanted to cry afterwards. I’m also thinking of redo-ing my own interview, because it was crap and I think I need to answer the same questions we’re asking everyone else. Maybe it is time for me to add my voice in the film.
Why do we fall…
(shut up bruce wayne)