“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls”.
“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.” – Deepak Chopra
A couple of weeks ago I became A.B.D. (all but dissertation) which means that I am completely done with course work, language exams, comprehensive exams and have successful defended my dissertation prospectus. While the thought that I actually have to write a dissertation is quite overwhelming at times it is mostly very thrilling. The thrill comes from being able to write and research about what really interests me, it comes from doing work that I think is very important, it comes from doing it on my schedule and how I want.
This past weekend I traveled to L.A. to do research. Research for me was attending a B.Slade performance. As I balanced taking notes of the performance while also being engaged and enjoying myself- I realized how much I really enjoyed what I do. Yes, I was performing research but I was also having fun. The joy that I experienced during the research process helps sustains me through the sometimes monotonous writing aspects of what I do. But even when I am writing I become so excited when I have a breakthrough or look at something another way that opens up what I am trying to accomplish.The vast majority of my friends and family have no idea what I do with my time. Most are aware I am enrolled in PhD program but now very little information passed that. They ask me what’s the name of my program, I tell them- “Theatre and the Performance of the Americas”. They ask me if I am trying to be an actress (come on, really?) or the more astute ones ask what my focus of study is. I tell them, sexuality and the Black church of course this is always followed with “What does that have to do with theatre?” It is not all my friends and family fault that they don’t know what I do. I am not the most patient person and I rarely have the desire to explain the concept of performance studies in a way that a layperson would understand. On some occasions I might send them literature (an abstract) so that they can deduce for themselves what I study or I might simply say “everything in life is a performance”. Count yourself lucky if I ever had an in-depth conversation with you about my research interests.
While in L.A. I was able to see Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark starring Sanaa Lathan. This experience allowed me to experience my bliss in another way. I am extremely passionate about Black theatre, while I might not talk to you at length about my research- mention Tyler Perry and I will give you an hour long lecture on the state of Black Theatre and why images like those provided by Perry are so harmful. Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. I loved seeing so many Black faces in the crowd, the set, the costumes, the acting and the story. The production really came together brilliantly, the whole time I was wishing I could have dramaturge the show. At the end of the show I had so many thoughts about the piece and what the playwright was trying to convey, I wanted the script so I could really analyze the text. This brings me to the other thing I love- teaching. I couldn’t help but think about how great it would be to teach this play. I really enjoy students and sharing knowledge with them- this is the other aspect of what I spend my time doing.
People ask me what do I do and I respond “I do what I want”. While my answer is a bit facetious it is also very true. There is very little that I do that I don’t want to. I am realizing that when I am doing my work it is actually quite blissful and I am incredibly blessed to do things I really love. Haven’t figured out how to get a Porsche Panamera out of doing what I love but I am sure it will come.
However we can’t have everyone knowing how much I enjoy reading, writing, analyzing and teaching- They might think I am a nerd or something and we all know I am a thug.
What is your bliss? Are you following it?
Video from B. Slade performance
“I love you”<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/50508290″>”I Love You” B. Slade</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6825919″>Tabitha Chester</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
A simple Happy Birthday went from<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/50502349″>Gospel Happy Birthday</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6825919″>Tabitha Chester</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
to this…<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/50496194″>Time to shout</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6825919″>Tabitha Chester</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
B. Slade tribute to MJ