|Image: Ema Edosio|
from an email i wrote to another performer a few days after 'Will I still carry water when I am a dead woman?'
(saturday, april 20)
your words are so important, changed something in me, opened something.
i have been wanting to write about this performance but my body has felt so exhausted. i know i wrote in my journal but it wasn't enough and i haven't looked back at it again, and my mind keeps returning to two moments (one of fear and one of survival...will write about below). at the same time i felt/feel (as i did with beauty) 'now you can do anything'. and yet i have this strange exhaustion which i hope will pass soon....i imagine it's a combination of continued lack of sleep due to wavering electricity + hot nights + mosquitos. the piece itself was exhausting too...but can i be feeling it only now?
i think you and i talked later that day about doing the performance again (with more people) did that conversation really happen? i know i was in a daze.
your email reminds me of so much i was feeling. i think i mentioned this, but this performance was the first time i felt that i might not be able to do this. i was worried about everyone else. i didn't check my mask's eye holes. i didn't test the weight of the water in my own kegs. i didn't take the time to cut thicker pieces of fabric for myself which i intuitively knew i would need. once we crossed the street i thought, oh fuck, i totally fucked up. this will take an eternity and i will be way behind the others and i may not make it at all. pulling the water kegs by the ankles was intense (i too had that same feeling about the strength of my legs...i knew my legs could carry me and these kegs. after all, i had crawled with water kegs before). but somehow the mask, which made it hard to breathe, and the amount of water really terrified me. i have always relied on the strength of my body. even as a young child i would challenge people to races, including adults. i always knew i was a fast runner. i could trust that strength.
and yet in that beginning moment i doubted so much. i had to remember the words i had spoken upstairs. trust, rest, trust. i learned so much in the first five minutes. walking required my entire body (were we actually even walking? it felt like something else). i had to throw my arms ahead of me in order to garner the force to move. and there were many moments when i lost my balance, it was awkward, it felt so awkward to move this way. the fabric cut quickly into my ankles and i couldn't help but think about slavery, slave ships, it was a momentary flash that i quickly tried to dispel from my vision.
the water kegs bumped into each other. i would pull with all my strength, only to have one keg slide up against the other, momentum lost. in that moment i thought how unnecessary it is to struggle. struggle is a waste of energy, it does not necessarily produce results. it can exhaust us and leave nothing in the end. how ironic. even after all that work i arrived at the finish with one keg completely empty of water. i had hoped it would leak out much sooner. and this was not the keg on my right side that had been leaking so slowly from the beginning. this was the keg on my left side. it remained totally full until the last street. it was heavier that the other one the entire way and it gave me no relief. and yet when i was almost finished with the performance the water completely drained out. that was disatisfying. i had journeyed so far, i should at least have water to show for it. this was a lesson about struggle. 'struggle for what' fela. ah. 'now your fault be that'.
|Image: Ema Edosio|
(sunday, april 21)
you asked yourself, “am i a masochist?”. i thought about that question, about the relationship of pain to pleasure and what it is about it that makes us feel alive. controlled pain. also, the performance was intimate but i think it was more self-intimacy if that makes sense.
there were even moments when i thought i should wait but where i went into a deep survival mode decision. there were times when i was thinking, if i stop now i won't make it and i must make it, even if the others do not, i must. different from beauty where the physical connection was so absolute, certain.
ALSO, read Wana Udobang's response on her blog