The reason I like walking onto stage is not for the accolades or glory. It is an internal reason. When my foot first touches the stage, it is like everything starts moving at half speed. My senses are elevated. I can hear conversations in the crowd. I can feel every movement down to the bone in my body. I can feel the muscles in my partners’ bodies indirectly. Every sensation becomes laser focused.
I have never experienced and out-of-body experience and I think my stage experience is almost the inverse of it. It is like my heart takes over. This is where the sincerity of my expression comes from. I feel my heart remembers details of my life that my brain seems to have forgotten. If you ask me about details of relationships that happened seven years ago, I have difficulty pulling out that information to share. It’s not that I want to be guarded. It is more that the information seems to have left my brain. Yet, my body can remember the physical interactions that I can bring back for the stage. I can remember the emotions of the interactions. However, why those emotions were provoked are often not rememberable anymore unless it was exquisitely traumatic.
This past year, I cried before I went on stage for the first time ever. It was not that we had not adequately prepared for the piece. I think the preparation is what provoked the tears. It was as if the preparation had torn my heart open and the remembered trauma that inspired the piece was seeping into my veins. I could feel every physical strike. Every bone bend under his muscled force. Every blood vessel tear in his grip. Every poisonous word whisper in my ear. Every lie smear across my name. It all came back and hit me as we waited in the curtains.
During that performance, I did not feel at my best. The torture my body had endured seemed to be back in my physical body during the performance. The displaced ribs. The purple hand prints on my arms. The terror memorized in my muscles. I flashed back to his evil eyes stalking me. I was stiff. I was traumatized.
Everyone wanted to talk about the emotion the piece had provoked in them and I had a hard time keeping it together. I felt exposed and vulnerable and my body ached in remembrance. I had no regret in putting this situation on the stage. I feel these situations being expressed in my art is important as it can communicate at a level that my words cannot. This is part of dividends and expense of this experience. My only hope when being this exposed is that it inspires strength in those who witness the story played out on stage and in their own lives.