YEAR 2012 Completion: My review of my year, my adventures, my prayers, my lessons and acknowledgements. Thank you to YOU ALL for making this year so freakin’ AMAAAZING! You truly give me my life. punto. I know this. I am here because of you. I would not have had this amazing year without you!
Dear Beautiful Peeeeeeppps, I LOVE Completion. Like for real. I LOVE 100 percent completion (That is one of the lessons I got this year, you can read more in MY LESSONS) because it feels soooo good. Lord knows, there are still so many things on my INCOMPLETION list to complete (Dang, can’t wait to complete them but for now, I can say that I am complete with them being incomplete) However, I can directly say out loud, “This is officially complete.” Like, declaring, this year is 2012 100 PERCENT COMPLETE! Here we go!
***2012 was the the year I pushed myself past my fears, past my comfort zone, past my physical limits, waaaaaaaay past where I would usually say, “I can’t do anymore”—ANNNND I did more. (i.e. when I worked on the murals in LA, I got up at 5 am and worked until 10 pm for 3 weeks. My physical body was waay past tired and my mind was in high gear everyday. During the fundraising for the Souljourney Truth Tour 2012- 2013, the schedule was similar. I have not worked so hard in my life than this year AND I LOVED IT!) Not only did I do more, but I gave more heart & soul. I shared like waaaaaay past how I thought I could ever fully express myself. I stepped into the unknown, dark, ugly and uncomfortable places of myself. I did not step over anything–I did not NOT say anything, or hide anything. I put everything in the LIGHT to truly get FREE. 2012 was a year where I met and made new BEST FRIENDS & Familia: Lah Tere (Teresita Ayala), Binni (Robin Fifita) and Carol (Carolina Bonilla). These amazing sisters who have come in my life, like they were always there. I absolutely love these sisters and I thank them for all they have given me and taught me. 2012 was also the year to truly let go of people in my life that did not serve me. I let go of 3 people in my life that I considered “family.” Because I was not stepping over anything in my life and not “tolerating” the smallness in my life, I had to let these people go. 2 of these people were friends that I have known for more than 12 years and this year, 2012, was the year for me to say, “No, this is not what I want. This is not making me grow. Why am I settling in these friendships?” I didn’t just walk away from these relationships but I completed them powerfully. I had closing conversations with them and told them why I am ending this. I gave them a chance to share what was there for them. I listened. No drama. No yelling or fights. Just completion conversations. 2012 is the year where I truly owned my voice. I shared my feelings. I confronted confrontations. I asked non-stop for what I wanted. I did not stop at a NO–not even when I when I was the one who was saying NO. I took myself ON like nothing else before. I went deep into my fears and I am so happy I did 🙂 Now I can fully own all those dark places of my self cuz I really get that I can only be a light worker–and my light can only be seen–in the dark. 2012 where I experienced myself as the artist that I say I am: a poet, a painter and an actor. 2012 is the year my favorite uncle died, Saia and when my father started chemo. My birthday this year was so amazing because I got to go to sleep and wake up to my dad and mum’s voices 🙂
MY ADVENTURES: 1-(Jan – May 2012) I was a part of the most amazing team I have ever worked with in my life, like no kidding, this team was freakin’ incredible! I was hired by CUNY’s (City University of New York) ASAP Program Headquarters to be a part of a team of 17. It was truly fulfilling and one of the most amazing teaching experiences I have had in my life. The ASAP Program is only offered in any of the 2 year colleges in CUNY (Hostos, Brooklyn College, Laguardia, I’m missing 2 others). It’s an incredible program which offers ANYONE (you can be 17 or 77 years old) free tuition, a free metro card all year long, a career specialist and a counselor to make sure you graduate and received your associates degree. More than 80 percent of the students from the ASAP program move on to get their Bachelors degree. Out of the 17 of us, 4 were Leaders, including myself, who partnered with 1-2 Student Leaders (Alumni of ASAP) per workshop. We traveled all over NYC. I went to high schools all over NYC I never knew existed. I saw for myself, the education system in NYC. I went to places in the Bronx I have never been to, I absolutely LOVE the Bronx. I was the leader who focused on leading in the Bronx and Harlem (Uptown, baby, we gets down, baby) but I also did workshops in Queens and Brooklyn too. My Student Leader Team was the best! Their stories, which were shared everyday at the workshops, were not only an inspiration to all the students but to me. Ohhh, I can share on and on about them. The high school students we met thought they never were gonna go to College, or ever leave there hood. By the time, our workshops were done, they were like, I’m going to College, where do I sign up?! They got to see that nothing could stop them–if they were undocumented, if they were failing classes, if a parent was incarcerated, if they were currently homeless, nothing was going to stop them, absolutely nothing. With my Student Leader team, we led workshops to 1,200 students and altogether as a team of 17, we led workshops to over 5,000 students in NYC!!! At our closing event, our team was recognized to accomplish the most in a short amount of time, in the history of CUNY in general. We not only met our goals but we surpassed them. We got national attention in The New York Times and Harvard University gave us shout out’s for bringing EDUCATION to ALLLLLLLL. I give major props to Melissa Fernandez and Patricia Hicks who were the head honchos in leading our team of 17. If it was not for your leadership, we would not have accomplished so much–and have the most Fun and Best time while doing it!
2-My paintings were in 7 exhibits this year in NYC, San Francisco and Florida. (Broadway Housing Gallery in Harlem, State Capital Building in Harlem, The Central Park gallery and the Steve Kirsh Gallery). I got to exhibit with amazing artists like Leon Golub and Kiki Smith. I got to talk to Felipe Luciano about my paintings on the radio. I sold a painting for $3,000.00!!! ( At the beginning of 2012, I said, I’m going to sell my paintings for $3,000.00 or more. Even more importantly, I know how I did it, so I can do it again and again in 2013! I started owning the value of my artwork and myself.)
3-2012 was the birth of my first international art project “WORLD LEADERSHIP: Women, Presence & Power.” I absolutely love this project–it’s so amazing. 2013, is the year when she starts to walk. 2-I did 6 solo performances of my poetry & monologues: in NYC (Mama Tingo Closing event), Chicago (National Writers Conference), Washington DC (Busboys and Poets), Arlington, Virginia (twice! for SULU DC and SULU DC’s collaborative event with the National Asian Conferrence) and Dublin, Ireland (For the Adult writers group, Write On).
4-I was in the VAGINA MONOLOGUES!!! This for me, was really a dream come true. I absolutely love Eve Ensler and her work. I was in 2 performances in the Vagina Monologues in Harlem (That monologue I performed, I really got to have a blast with it and share my acting skills.) Also, this year, Eve Ensler publicly became one of our Supporters of Mahina Movement’s Souljourney Truth Tour.
5-I went to LA twice to be with my family and to create the “Raices Murales.” I worked with over 160 students and adults in Bell, California. It was my very 1st mural project.
6-I lived in Manassas, Virginia from July 2012 to today and I’m moving back to NYC in 2013. (THIS is alllll For LOVE, FOR LOVE). I have traveled from VA to NYC more than 20 times this year (by bus, by car). I HAVE MY OWN CAR and you can witness me zooooommming! (Yup, he gave it to me for my Birthday!) I got to do a road trip with my BFF, Gabby to New Paltz from New York and then drive back to Virginia. I have been and seen places in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia for the 1st time. I have never witnessed the U.S.ofA like this before.
7-Mahina Movement did 27 performances and led 7 workshops in 2012. We performed with Angela Davis for the 3rd time and we also had the amazing honor to perform with Alice Walker, Russell Simmons, and Tibetan monks. I got to meet Cynthia McKinney and Majora Carter! 8-The Soul Journey Truth Tour jumped off and we performed in our 1st International Country! We raised $15,000!!! $822.00 went to Hurricane Sandy relief communities! We had 5 people travel to Ireland to perform and do workshops in Dublin, Bray and Arklow, Ireland. We created over 190 LOVE FLAGS representing NYC, Ireland and Indigenous people of North America.
9-I had my 1st photo shoot for re:spect! I actually had 2 photo shoots for re:spect! Thank you to the most amazing photographer, William Orellana and all my models who made these events so great.
10-I led 3 Silk Screen workshops including 1 at the United Nations and 2 at The Brecht Forum. I also got to lead a workshop with Ping Chong and Jesca about the Undesirable Element curriculum that I have been a part of for 13 years.
11-LEADERSHIP in the house!!!! Self Expression Leadership Program in the hizhows! I coached (I had 5 participants that completed their program successfully! from Jan – March) and am now head coaching the Self Expression Leadership Progam at Landmark Education (I have 4 coaches and 13 participants). Our SELP ends on Feb. 28, 2013. I absolutely LOVE the SELP. I can’t wait to lead the SELP in 2013!
MY (s0-called) FAILURES:
1-I was a finalist for this mural in Harlem. I didn’t get that mural but I know why. The waitress I spoke to on the phone. Now I am the lead artist for this mural in South Bronx about Mothers and their children from West Africa. Meet the Artist and workshops start in March 2013! 2-I applied to 5 fellowships/projects and I did not get any of them. But I still went 100 percent out for them!!!! And that gave me one of the best experiences/lessons of my life: I can give 100 percent of my best self to something or someone and if I don’t “win” it doesn’t matter because I am not stopped. This is what it means to be truly unstoppable. 3-SULU DC’s Artist of the year. I did not get it but I was so happy to be recognized by the community! 4-I set out to go to other countries in Europe for our Souljourney Truth Tour: Italy, Spain, England and Portugal and to do a mural in Ireland. None of this happened and I’m okay with it. It didn’t happen but now I can see clearly what I have to do to make it happen! 5-Pay back all my DEBT–no I still have mad debt like alllll my Student Loans for Columbia University and New York University. Instead of avoiding and hiding in my student loan debt (I got no credit card debt, that’s right) I am OPEN and OUT about it. I’m truly FREEEEEEEEEEE! And I am handling my business!
‘ofa lahi atu,