Love Your Tree

“Do you say that tree isn’t pretty cause it doesn’t look like that tree? We’re all trees. You’re a tree. I’m a tree. You’ve got to love your body, Eve. You’ve got to love your tree. Love your tree.”

Eve Ensler, The Good Body

I remember the first time I saw Eve Ensler live.  It was on Broadway and it was THE GOOD BODY.  I had read THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES and though I enjoyed it and “got it”, I couldn’t connect to it.  But I had seen Ms. Ensler in interviews and thought, wow…how brave.

As I sat in the theatre listening to the bravery of a woman sharing her most vulnerable feelings about her body, how it tormented and bemused her, my mouth dropped open in awe of her courage.

The play was about an hour and a half and throughout I sat crying, privately clearing away tears I wanted no one else to see, because then they would know.  They would know, I too feel like this.  I too look in a mirror and think or say deplorable things to myself.  I stop myself from doing things I know I’m quite capable of and I hate myself for it being so important.

I don’t know that I had ever experience theatre that way before.  It was so different from seeing say, JOURNEY’S END where I left with the wonder of the theatre and the empathetic pain of those who’s lives I felt had just touched me.  No,  this was different.  This was me onstage being exposed.  This is the power of theatre!

I wanted to meet her, to be one of those who waited as she exited the theatre, to tell her, “I understand”.  I didn’t; instead I walked for a while, thinking and reflecting on my experience.  I was frozen and yet impelled; to do what, I didn’t know.  I think then, I thought about a blog, back before it was truly cool or popular, but I wasn’t ready.  That would be true exposure.

What I did do is tell my husband.  I told him, I know you have never understood how or why I feel about my body as I do or what it is like and I don’t know how to explain it…it fact, I can’t.  But I want you to see this show, if you do, you will know me better.  We bought tickets the next week and after we left the theatre, he simply held me.

I don’t speak of these things.  I don’t like to make it important because my true nature tells me I am beautiful no matter what.  But sometimes my brain and the outside influences of media and frivolity devour my senses.

I was watching TED talks, my new obsession, and I came across Ms. Ensler and sat to listen and to be reminded of that connection I made years ago.  The connection through art, theatre and my heart.  It reminds me again why I am an artist.  The fact that I am writing this in this blog tells me how much I have grown.

In the past, I would never share these vulnerabilities, these truths.  What I have discovered is that these truths, though painful are a part of who I am and who I want to be and sharing that is where the growth is.  The Good Body was a first step for me back in 2004.  That was my first year in NYC; my brave leap into my new life.

Now I’m living that life; fully, honestly and authentically.

As a nature lover infatuated with trees, the quote above has stuck with me.  It is from a woman Ms. Ensler had interviewed in Africa.  Over the years I sometimes in my head I say, “Nichole, you’ve got to love your tree.  Love your tree”.

I can’t begin to thank the artists who have inspired me enough.  But I would like to share with you her words.  Below is an awesome Talk after Eve had been through cancer and realized what she had been doing to herself and the reality of what it truly important.

To whoever, if anyone is ready this; I hope you have some time to listen if not now then later…its worth it!

 

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Author: Finding True North

Nichole Donje is a interdisciplinary artist, activist and leader. A philosopher and self-exploration addict, Nichole is currently working on two books of art and poetry FINDING TRUE NORTH and LIFE POEMS. She is a visual artist and photographer. Nichole founded and ran the highly regarded New York City based independent theatre company TAPT/The Artist’s Playground Theatre, from 2006-2016. Serving as TAPT’s Artistic Director, Nichole worked diligently to support new and forgotten works that help shape the way we view the world around us. A recognized leader, Nichole served three terms as Vice President of the Board of Directors for The Players and currently served on the Executive Committee. The Players is the oldest theatrical club in the country founded by such luminaries as Edwin Booth and Mark Twain "for the promotion of social intercourse between the representative members of the dramatic profession and the kindred professions of literature, painting, sculpture and music, and the patrons of the arts". A key influencer of the Players current revitalization she has become an advocate for the art and livelihood of a social club. The Players not only honors yesterday’s and today’s luminaries of the performing arts, but also brings back the forgotten art of face to face relationships. Nichole is a member of SAG-AFTRA, LPTW/League of Professional Theatre Women, LeanInNYC, and The Players.

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