By Amanda Martinez
The topic that has been swelling in my brain lately is freedom of expression. How do we express ourselves and to what extent we are able to do so in this generation? Whether it’s through love or sex or technology or in the workplace or with friends and family, we have blatant ideas and the ones that I refer to in our discussions at times: people use facebook and instagram and twitter and online dating to portray who they want to be and what lens they want people to filter them through (sometimes by literally pressing a filter button) but not always who they actually are. I find this idea fascinating and have been obsessed with it for the past several weeks, talking to my friends about it and trying to understand why people feel the insatiable need to do it (myself included.) Twenty years ago you couldn’t do that type of thing online. You had to create an alter ego of some sort and live in the shadows. Now even my dad takes selfies because he, and I quote, “Thought [he] looked cute today.”
Then you have freedom of sexual expression. To what point does this really exist for some women and men who are too afraid to try things or are ashamed of admitting so? Some men like being submissive and letting the woman take the reins and some men like hitting women. Where is the line? How do we discern what is empowering v.s. what is degrading? Personally, one of the pieces I’m working on makes me uncomfortable; it baffles and astounds me but I can’t judge either partner in the relationship or the writer who wrote it. We do indeed all have our level of kink, who’s to pick right from wrong since we all have different paths we go on in this life? (Here is a great blog about not understanding from one of my yoga teachers: https://etherealwellness.
wordpress.com/tag/ethereal- wellness-blog/) There are so many things that I’m trying to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
So those are pretty obvious, but here are the more intrinsic turning points that set the “freedom of expression” in motion for me: The Lunada reading I was just in (Women of Juarez) and the movement based rehearsals in January – both very different forms of storytelling, yet both revealed to me what I was most excited about doing during this process. The movement rehearsals give us the freedom (unnerving freedom at that) to move in ways we maybe shouldn’t or can’t throughout our day to day lives. It allows us to strip ourselves of words and communicate through the body, using the sensual and the indulgent nature of the physical world. In order to get our feelings and our motives across, we cannot be half engaged, we cannot be subtle, our movements have to have a purpose and a point. Our movements have to express and sometimes over express what we’re trying to get across to our ensemble members and what moment we’re trying to build. It’s both liberating and terrifying at the same time. How do I look when my body moves like this? How do I know I’m conveying what I’m trying to say without words? When do I start? When do I stop? When do I change? When do I keep working on one thought until it breaks through? Do I smell, cause it’s totally that time of the month and I’m sorry castmates, don’t hate me! How do I communicate with other people using my body? Eventually, you hope to reach a point where you’re out of your head and physically present.
Then you have The Women of Juarez. Women who try to find their voice and speak about a frequent injustice occurring in their society in the present day context. Women who can get killed for their words and their actions, women who fight, women who stay quiet, women who persevere, and women who die. All due freedom of speech or lack thereof. They are women not being heard and the story is vital to tell in order to have people know what goes on in Juarez.
Throughout this creation process, I’ve been personally struggling with the lens because I haven’t really wanted to talk about love. It doesn’t excite me as much as it does other people because it’s so vast and done so frequently in a general scope. But the expression of love and expression in life excites me. Gender roles and how they’re played upon or not played upon in this crazy world we live in. How it’s taboo to say I love you to someone you’ve known for a couple of months or how you start wearing make up when you go to work to get a promotion because you need to play the game or maxing out credit cards to make you feel better, to numb the pain of something larger, those forms of expression intrigue me. And I hope they intrigue you too!