To my beautiful, perfect, loud, hilarious, emotional, giving, strong, feminine, masculine, neutral-maskin’, hair-raising, hair-shaving, laughing, crying, supporting, loving, international family:
We did it. We made it through this nine month journey.
For such a short amount of time, we left behind a lot to be here – families, lovers, partners, homes, jobs, security, and (for many) our mother languages. We left the hot, arid deserts and the cities with different names and patterns. We left our routines and our favorite breakfast foods. We left our cats. We left our cars. We left our serving jobs and teaching jobs and circus jobs and learning jobs (because some of us left other schools, too). We left unfinished business and unresolved fights and many, many loose ends. We left some things responsibly. We left some things carelessly.
We brought ourselves as fully as we could to this place.
Our silly, heartbroken, hopeful selves.
And whether we acknowledged it or not, we brought others.
We brought our exes and our former teachers. We brought our expertly crafted, classical training and the egos we formed while gaining it. We brought our partners’ kindness and our best friends’ encouragement. We brought our cats (in spirit, anyway). We brought our grandmothers’ ethnicities and our cousins’ sexualities and our fathers’ political apathy. We brought our relationships with our mothers (again and again and again). We brought our love, hatred, loneliness, passion, opinions, different artistic processes, and a ton of baked goods.
And we met each other
(again and again and again)
You met me in the stairwell while I sobbed on your shoulder, and I didn’t have to explain that I was triggered by the sight of a beautiful tree. You met me in Studio 2 during Cine Club, but instead of leaving when the projector wouldn’t work, you had impassioned conversations and practiced acrobatics with me for two hours. You met me when you climbed on my back. Even though I was wearing high heeled wedges, I still felt safe. You met me when our eyes were closed. I knew it was you because you smelled like lavender. You met me when you demanded the talking stick and yelled “Five, six, seven, eight!” You met me when you directed a form you had never tried before. Even though the facilitators didn’t like it, I thought you were brilliant. You met me when you said “Yes!” You met me when you said “NO.” You met me when your face turned bright red and you didn’t run away. You met me with thunderous applause when I was proud and when I was absolutely terrified.
Now we leave.
Every time we say goodbye to each other,
(again and again and again)
over hugs and tears and beers by the river,
It’s not because of the times we missed, though.
It’s for the time that will pass before we get to have more.
I don’t need to look back.
We held our red noses high,
(and our larval masks and neutral masks and frighteningly absurd expression masks),
and we had between one and one million full moments with them.
Thank you for those perfect moments.
And on a selfish note…
Thank you for bringing yourself here,
because even though I know you came here for you,
now I get to carry you with me.
I hope you take a piece of me with you, too.
Thank you, LISPA First Year Class of 2018, for living it fully.