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.