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The Social Media Dilemma and the Artist

(cross post from FB)

I left all platforms of social media 90 weeks ago for numerous reasons. The ever-present capitalist wheel we contribute to. The invasion of privacy by the powers that own this platform. The lack of autonomy.

But ultimately, I left because I am an artist. One who has difficulty establishing and maintaining boundaries. It took me years to acknowledge this. The way I see and hear and feel and smell and taste music and visual art has a way of blowing open my emotions. It is amazing. It is life-giving. It is singularly ecstatic. It also riddles me with self doubt and confusion, and places me in a state of vulnerability, a time when I need to be aware of what I consume and why.

I love the art I see on here. I love belly dance; I always have. It is incredible to see how the power of dance, of movement, can communicate. How it can heal. I also have times when, despite my love of this art, I need to retreat. I need to be quiet in order to hear my own spirit trying to guide me and give me courage to try new things. It is difficult for me to experiment with an audience.

The last two years have been expansive. I opened a dance studio, something I've wanted to do for years. I've pioneered a new style, Nordic Fusion, that holds space for me to explore to music that feeds my soul and connects me to my ancestors while honoring my animist nature. I formed a dance troupe with amazing souls willing to let me create and choreograph and do weird things until it "feels" right. I put on my first full-length, fully choreographed stage show with an original theme that sold out and garnered a standing ovation. I learned how to use Zoom. And that I fucking hate it. I also learned how to use cameras and mics and video editing software despite being a tech luddite.

I also lost my sister. And my father. And my uncle. I had childhood trauma memories, long forgotten, barrel into my whole body like unrelenting wildfire. I discovered the importance of ancestors, and healing generational trauma. I discovered that my identity as Native, something intrisinic to who I am since childhood, has been largely erased/ignored in white spaces. I learned to speak more authentically. I learned to move more authentically. I learned to accept that this body I have is a vessel for art, a conduit to receive and translate and share. And to do just that unabashedly.

Joy and pain go hand in hand. They have been an artistic fulcrum for me these past two years, and no doubt will continue to be. I don't know how long I'll be on social media this time, but I want you who I've connected with (and lost connection with) to know it's nice to see you again. I hope the art I share helps you feel seen, connected, and inspired.


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