Who am I? Project (1)

 

So, I am embarking on a new journey and I’m asking you to come with me.  I will be reaching out via Facebook and Twitter asking for your input to help me with a new interdisciplinary art project entitled, Who Am I?

I wrote a poem I have yet to share, I will at some point but not yet.  It is one I wrote while researching Langston Hughes, one that reached down into the depths of me and my past to share my history, my journey and who I am becoming.

Oddly as an artist, I started this way.  My foundation was visual art then I discovered theatre and fell in love.  I became passionate about stories and in doing so loved disassembling them and re-envisioning them while  mixing disciplines.  I always wanted live music, dance, startling visuals, powerful words and voices.  I wanted to make a physically emotional impact with my art.

I am here again, starting again but in a whole new way.  I am a producer, I underlined that because over the past couple of years I constantly wanted to avoid the term.  So many were looking to me as a producer and somehow  it made me feel as though it subtracted the “art” from what I was doing.  Now I am seeing it differently.  I am embracing this talent and understanding its strength.  I have the ability to bring together a vision and people to make something noteworthy and extraordinary. For the first time in a long time I am incredibly exhilarated and inspired.

Funny enough, it is the subject of this project that has made me look back and look deep.  To ask, why I have made certain choices? Why do I question what I do?  Sadly I have a deeply personal admission: my body image keeps me from my success.  There I said it!  What seems to be such a simple issue, one I have been ashamed of because it feels so trivial, but  in actuality is so commanding that it holds me back from everything I know I am capable of.  I have to reach inward and ask sincerely, why?

I have spent a lifetime working to be the “image” of myself I have created in my head.  My personal expectations of myself have only continued to become less attainable.  The tedious phrase, “If  I…then…” has played on repeat in brain for more years than I’d like to admit.  The reality I am facing now is that by not accepting myself as I am today imperfections and all, I am disrespecting everything I have worked so hard for and negating everything I have achieved in my life.  Sadly this only perpetuates my perceived  personal failure that I have seemed somehow determined to achieve.

Its time to change and my change must start with me.

Who am I? How many women ask themselves this question not because they are in a transition, but because they looked in a mirror and made a judgment of themselves that they carry with them throughout the day, each day.  Today I am fat, yesterday I was my hair or my skin, the day before my shoes and so on.  This mirror we seek our reflection in is not real, but the reflection promoted to us by the media and the brainwashing we have done to ourselves in our denial; too dark, too light, too fat, too thin, too old, too young.  When are WE enough?

It doesn’t seem to matter how many forms of proof they show us that airbrushing is rampant and inexcusable, that celebrities wear hair extensions, that “natural” is a color we paint on and no longer what we actually are? We need to stop seeing our reflections on the television and in magazines; comparing ourselves only to the “idealistic” forms sold to us.  Its time to  start looking around at the beautiful, real people who live among us every day.

Today I choose to step up, look in the mirror and not see only what I look like but who I am; a talented leader, artist, performer and activist.  This is not easy to do I wish I could say it is, but I am saying for the first time with true conviction that I will fight each day for myself.  To look in the mirror and silence the voice of irrationality and say out loud that I am ready to accept the awesomeness of simply being me!

The Who Am I? project is about women; how we are seen in society and by ourselves. It is about how we affect men and how they affect us. It is about communication. It is about embracing our personal, individual power while opening our minds and sharing ourselves, our truth with the world.  Beauty has so much less to do with what we look like and so much more to do with the light we shine, the light we can only ignite if we are willing to release falsehoods and accept the magic of who we are.  This takes time and dedication BUT this will change our lives and every life we touch.

Please take this journey with me and look in the mirror and ask each day, Who am I? Then remember who you really are.

Please watch this inspiring video of Lupita Nyong’os‘ speech from the Essence Magazine Awards.  It is both heartbreaking and rejuvenating.  I watched this and couldn’t help but cry because I remember asking god to give me the strength to change and be something different from what I was not because I was bad, but simply because I believed I wasn’t good enough. I know so many young girls have done this over and over and the older I get the more devastating it is.  Society needs to start teaching our children, girls and boys this definition of beauty Lupita talks about and stop perpetuation the deception that breeds self-hatred.  We as human beings deserve more.

 

To be a part of the Who am I? project follow along with  this blog as well as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest .  I will be sharing what inspires me in this process as well as requesting input and participation. Also, please share #WhoamI?Project

Thank you!

Namasté

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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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