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The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

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MAY 2021 Issue
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The Type of Power Our World Needs

Davia Spain. Courtesy the author.
Davia Spain. Courtesy the author.

I’m lying in bed. Anxiety sticking to the sheets. I kind of like it here. I’ve got everything I need in this square box of a room. Maybe all I ever really needed was a reason to stop and rest. I’ve been running a race I was never meant to win for years. But now—stillness. Everything I have been working towards has halted. My gig at the Getty—gone. My performance at the park—postponed … indefinitely. The sadness of losing it all lays on me like a weighted blanket. Is this a sign? Have I chosen the wrong path? My life’s purpose has been deemed non-essential. Does that make me disposable? When technology is king, does being an artist even make me a subject? Has the time finally come to follow suit, go back to school, get a “real” job?

The silence of inactivity clears room for hard truths I’ve long kept at bay to make their way back into my head. Whispers of memories I’ve worked so hard to forget. So, I distract myself. Video games, movies, food, sex, a TV show, video games and a TV show, sex, food … on and on to prevent those whispers from getting any louder. Eventually, I know I will crash from the stimulation. In truth, I’m scared because I’ve been cut off from my vision of the future. I usually have a clear sight into my possible paths, but now the horizon is hazy. Socked in by fog. I guess I’ll have to wait this one out.

I’m on the road. Going to stay at a ranch by the sea. My life in LA started collapsing around me. My relationship is running its course. My closest friendship is waning. My family is manipulating me and calling it love. They threaten to have the cops come and check on me if I don’t talk to them. I needed to get away. My comfortable little square is no longer safe. So, I follow my instincts and run.

The movement invigorates me. Fresh air clears my mind. But there’s an unshakeable feeling in my stomach. A tornado of emotions keeps me awake at night. The great upheaval. A new version of me is trying to break free. Shaking like a caterpillar in a chrysalis. The whispers becoming shouts. I can no longer ignore them, not if I want to move forward with my life. I let them in. They tell me stories I’ve hidden to protect myself. I bear witness to the events that have broken me. A young girl cries alone in the dark. I hold her. A young woman is being taken advantage of. I protect her. She feels the sting of betrayal. I pull the knife from her back. Hiding from the pain won’t make it disappear. The only way to complete the transformation cycle is to breath light into the shadows. Flushing the wounds diminishes their power. It’s painful but necessary. Clearing room for me to stretch.

I’m back in my square. Refreshed. Renewed. I see new possibilities on the horizon. Hard-won battles were fought on the sands of those foggy beaches. My prize: the chance to reach self-actualization. The path is laid out before me. All I need now is the courage to take those first steps. My feet are sore. Carrying around the troubles of my past has done a number on my body. I push through. The future I desire will not come easily, but I’ve already proven I have what it takes to win the fight. I’m fueled by the stories I have yet to tell. Worlds I have not yet built yearn for my effort. That is why I am here. Not to follow the rules of this world, but to create my own. My creativity is not a mere hobby, it is source energy. The type of power our world needs. I must persist.

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The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

All Issues