Friday, June 30, 2017

A June that dreams are made of // part 1

My spirit has been nourished to near-bursting this month.

A small attempt to capture it. 

Upon beginning to write this, I realized it would take two posts to even briefly talk about each of the things. So this is part one of two.

GirlVentures Staff & Sea Kayak Training

After having worked community courses and one summer course with GirlVentures since 2014, I was finally able to attend an official summer staff training in Point Reyes. We hiked to Sky Camp and Coast Camp, built relationships as a staff, practiced curriculum, and delved into discussions of equity and inclusion. Such conversations are not easy or comfortable, but it is wonderful to work with an organization where we can step into that discomfort and find support.

Another reason I love working with GirlVentures is their commitment to developing staff skills. The weekend after staff training, a number of staff were taken on an overnight sea kayaking trip in Tomales Bay, where we participated in an ACA Level 2 Coastal Kayak Touring Workshop. It was my first overnight paddling trip, and I was so nervous about it that I contemplated not going until the very last minute.

Being out on the water seems so unpredictable, and I'd never had to pack or dress for submersion before, so for the first time in a long time I was getting ready to do something completely new to me. It was a good reminder of how difficult trying new things can be and reaffirmed to me how amazing young people are to face new situations all the time.

TNP Wellness & Solidarity Workshops at Khmer Girls in Action 

I co-facilitated a series of writing workshops with tra for Southeast Asian youth at Khmer Girls in Action in Long Beach. To witness their stories, creativity, eloquence, and their commitment to justice and community was humbling and inspiring. I don't often get to work with Khmer youth and being part of the process of them giving themselves permission to tell and to explore their stories, to tell them that it is okay to make up spellings for Khmer words, to hear echoes of my own story in theirs, to have the opportunity to learn and grow with them-- I am beyond grateful for that.

I loved being able to learn from tra's presence and creativity in facilitation. To be reminded to let go of any insecurities I may have about my abilities, because facilitation is about the participants, not about me. That the job is not to perform, but to listen and to elicit. To draw forth the story. To give authentic responses, to encourage.

Some of them will be sharing their writing at KGA's 20th Anniversary Gala tonight. I'm so excited for them and wish I could be there.

Queer Road Trip with Audrey Kuo at Tuesday Night Cafe

Audrey and I do not usually write or perform with other people, but were invited to do a set together for the June 20th Tuesday Night Cafe. A major event in our friendship was the roadtrip they agreed to take with me to Lander, Wyoming for my NOLS fellowship in 2014. For our set, we decided to make up a podcast called Queer Road Trip to tell the story of that journey and to share the great tenderness we've nourished in our friendship.

We shared "A Minute of Tenderness," during which we took turns sharing things that made us feel tender.

The weekend prior saw the murders of Charleena Lyles and Nabra Hassanen, more tragedy to add the never ending list of tragedy. In our set, we created an altar for Charleena and Nabra and invited everyone to speak the names of those lost to police brutality, to racism, to anti-blackness, to transphobia, to islamophobia.

We invited our dear friend t.k. lĂȘ to the stage to share her poetry with us. We spoke of grief, of mourning, of rage, and of possibility, of hope, of joy.

Five years after I moved out of LA, Tuesday Night Cafe still feels like home. I'm so grateful.

To be continued.