Well, since I first started on my poem “Love Myself” when I started Series back in June, I have finished my first video media performance of the series. After many revisions and after a lot of hesitance and patience, I’m proud to present my video media performance piece. I created “Love Myself” to explain that though I am sick, though I may have concerns about my relationships, though I may stress and worry from time to time, I can overcome each of these concerns and more by making myself my priority. In addition, “Love Myself” is a call to action: Not only can I help myself by looking at things differently (and then acting differently than I would have before), but so can you. You have it within you to make change in your life to yourself, you have it within you to sculpt your own destiny, and to enjoy the process that is you.
This performance piece was challenging in multiple stress-inducing and stress-relieving ways. First and foremost, the hardest part for me was conceptualization and editting. I knew from the start I wanted to create a mediatized piece, but I found quickly once I started editting, that the technology I wanted to use I couldn’t get to easily; that the decision-making process of what stays-what goes was tougher than I expected; and, that finding the drive to look at myself and listen to myself over-and-over-and-over was especially draining. Yet, despite these issues, I found pleasure in revisiting my assurance and my endurance. I kept hearing myself say, “I will love myself more” and “I will take a moment more,” and each time, I created fuel and drive. Furthermore, I found a joy in the process: Much like I do with printmaking or threadwork, I enjoyed seeing where things line up and where they intersected. It was like finding candy where you wouldn’t expect it, all of sudden I loved how this sound occurred and I could edit it, I loved how taking different cuts from various sessions could weave together, and most of all I loved how my performance continued to empower me.
When the editor is also the actor is also the writer, judgement can get cloudly on what’s good and what’s convincing and what’s gone, but when the material moves me-myself, I can only be proud of one person: myself. I can only hope I move you too. When I finally got the gusto to perform the piece in front of my camera, I told myself how much I wanted ‘this to go here’ and ‘that should be that way,’ only to find I wasn’t satisfied. Once I pushed past my delusions and enjoyed the fluidity, (and once I got my camera to stop stopping on me prematurely), I got to stand back and see just how much I had committed to each session. Sometimes, I wasn’t there enough; sometimes someone else was; but ultimately, I closed my eyes and jumped, and am proud of what I have with which to work. I should note though, that I also saw a dark side of myself during shooting, not in my performance (I know that side of me), but in my work ethic. Here I was, telling myself that I could do this-I could do this-I can do this, and eventually I had to say ‘I have enough, I need to move on to the next phase, I can’t go back.” That was hard and I had to say to myself, “You’re being lazy, is that all right? You are done with this stage.” Having feedback from family and friends helped greatly, to them I am thankful. In its performance form, “Love Myself” is a product of how much I could work on this piece to keep it growing, and it is my acceptance that it really was the first in a series and now I must grow too.
Creating a series of anything, without a pre-determined form, is freeing for me but also constraining. I know now, that I can fully begin the next poem, the next visual work, and subsequently the next performance; but ultimately, I find myself on a journey of which I cannot leave. It is this committment of which I am proud, for it pushes and pulls at my spirit and my perceptions. Series is a first look at what I can accomplish, with each of its seedlings just sprouting.
I invite you, dear reader, as my friend/family/newcomer, to watch “Love Myself” and let me know of your thoughts and feelings. This video piece is a visitation in many ways, I hope it inspires you to recognize that though life can be hard and it can be dark, there can also be optimism and pragmatism that becomes your light.
Watch “Love Myself” on Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK8gsk6EaSM
Justin Orlando Fair