Updated: Oct 7, 2019
There was a strong pull to post Lizzo this morning, as she is the current #Queen of #Selfcare, and if you've not heard one of her sermons then I highly encourage you to. But, I will pull another song from a musical, and one that was instrumental in a summer of self-care for me last year.
I'd never seen a musical live until 2018. I know, but I didn't see my first Broadway show until 2015, for my 30th birthday! But, with all that said, the summer of 2018 was rough. Riding off the winter of change and body dysmorphia in 2017 and the antidote in "This Is Me," I was still struggling come summer. In May of 2018, I lost a close and dear friend literally 5 days before shooting a short film.
Actor's Express was running a production of The Color Purple, and by the time One Minute Play Fest came around we were playing on their stage. Throughout our show I'd heard how amazing The Color Purple was, and how it was continually sold out. I told Dear we were going. And so, we went. And I listened. And I Cried. And when Celie, played by Latrice Pace delivered that song, it was and has been a whole word to me. I broke down in the theater as Ms. Pace sang this song. I was afraid I would get into the very loud gasping crying stage, I cried so hard! I felt my recently deceased friend there. I felt all of my shame over dysmorphia. And I saw how her character said she was still here. And so was I. I had my brother, my partner, my parents, my friends. My dogs, my house, my job, and my life. I'd survived thus far.
I wore the song out. The first thing I did was tell Mr. Freddie Ashley at Actor's Express that Ms. Pace and the rest of the cast need to record that song, because I could only find the two Broadway versions and they just weren't the same as Ms. Pace. And then the second thing I did was settle on Ms. Cynthia Erivo's version. Listen, her version is by no means settling. Because I listened to that song for months. The first month I couldn't listen to "I'm Here," without crying. And then, I stopped crying.
In therapy, or at least in my therapy with my therapist, he helps me bring up issues and things that still have an emotional resonance. And we work through them. Not so that I don't have emotions, but so that it's not the raw emotional reaction of not understanding or still feeling hurt or what have you. So that I can look back on the issue or event or memory and acknowledge it instead of letting it control or dictate my actions or emotional state. I release control so that I can have control.
At any rate, this is one of my favorite songs because it brought me so much healing. As I listened to it this morning again, I was overcome with emotions in a different way. We just wrapped on the first weekend of shooting. And I realized that, a year later, I felt what Celie was talking about. Who I have in my life and how grateful I am for the support. And that what started out as a dream is now being brought to life. A year ago I was crying tears of shame, and today I was shedding tears of joy. How wonderful it is to cry because of joy!
I hope you have a wonderful week. Don't forget to crown yourself, and don't forget to live unapologetically. Release the shame!
The Duchess of Grant Park
P.S - Two things - Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr and Janelle Monáe are in the upcoming movie about Harriet Tubman.
And Actor's Express is holding The Color Purple in Concert for two nights in February. Visit www.actors-express.com for more info!