Monday, July 29, 2013

Home and Place: Masks

I run in different circles.  Which means I wear several masks.  Teacher, climber, mama, runner - to name a few.  Each mask is distinct, yet overlap in ways that give a part of myself to whomever I'm with - I guess we all do that don't we?  Do you?  I think we do.

I know that's why I stay so close to Brad.  I think that's why I stay so close to my family.  They know the roots of my imperfections.  Like when my stoicism spends less time grieving and more of the time fighting.  Or when I wear my strength like an armor to cover up my yearning for togetherness.  I think that's why I can be mental and go all out, be blunt or annoyed, excitable or deeply dull - it's 'cause Brad and my closest family members have seen me at my worst and don't have to look too deep to figure out the masks I wear.

And that's why it's so touching when what is real and human shows up.  Outside of what is usually masked or scented with perfections, it's a special thing.  This past week I spent time with a group of educators in a space and span of time where we all got to visit and revisit parts of ourselves that make us whole: artistic expression, spirituality, mindfulness, and risk.  All made me feel vulnerable and sometimes self-conscious.  And it was demanding.  But you know what, we were all in it together for the benefit of urban youth - and somehow the masks got extinguished and instead of facades, there was kind of like a self-revolution within one room.  What's really significant is that I didn't have to go home to be radical.  I got to feel it and be it with fam, and it was right here in the Heartland.

So yeah, I was at the Hip Hop in the Heartland Institute where I went back home to my soul and hip hop roots and reaffirmed my love for the culture and respect for artistic expression of myself and the kids I adore and teach.  Just think of everything hip hop is, and everything hip hop isn't and you'd be surprised with the masks you can tear down.

Check this out - we got to beatbox with the best, and so did Misa and John-Pio right here with Baba Israel and Yako 440.

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