Quite A Positive Beginning

by Amani J.K. Alexander

Salutations my fellow Americans! Well, really anyone or anything actually. I don’t want to isolate myself right from the get-go. This isn’t orientation day or the first day of VBS so I actually want to set myself up for success here..... Okay, I’m gonna start being “serious” now.

Off the bat, first thing, let’s get something VERY clear: I have always been an artist. Don’t laugh. It’s true. Now I am not conceding to the notion that I have been an active and contributing member of the artistic community for my entire life. Hell most weeks I’m outwardly more of a “wallower” than an artist…. but more about that on a later date. I actually mean that I have always been an artist in a very archetypal sense. Brace yourself, annoying college actor kid is about to take over. I have always had the essence of and artist i.e. one who has a passion to express something physically that is just beyond the five senses. The Platonic philosophical idea of archetypes identifies pure forms of humans which embody specific fundamental characteristics. An “Archetype” can also refer to patterns of thought, images, etc., that are all universally present in certain individual psyches which repeat themselves.

Okay, at this point I can feel that you’ve already started to become disconnected from this seemingly narcissistic persona I’m describing. But you came here to witness people explain their abstract thoughts in very concrete ways, so what did you expect? Just hear me out. I promise hilarious anecdotes are on the way.

Back to the tirade. Even though I was always an “artist” I didn’t always know it. But I always felt it. Turns out that is a common and re-occurring motif in my life, and the idea that you know something without feeling it (or vice versa) is actually kinda normal. For example, I always knew that being a woman was going to affect my future I just didn’t always feel it. Apparently, sometimes something that you know to be fact can be suppressed emotionally to the point that you cannot possibly begin to truly internalize what it means. Thanks acting class 101 for digging up that lovely tidbit which I had semi-successfully suppressed for nearly 18 years.

Here’s how I know this notion to be true. I have various…. let’s call ‘em “circumstances” that make up my appearance and position in society. And while I’ve always been aware of them I’ve only realized relatively recently the painful truth that how my “circumstances” affect me wasn’t in my body. Also known as something I “knew” but didn’t “feel.” My entire life I ignored every bit of my perceived hardship because I knew subconsciously it was too much for me to handle and would hold me back. The result is honestly amazing. I have the self-love and self-confidence of a cis-gendered white man in the 50’s and every time I think about that it blows my fucking mind.

Yet again I can feel you pulling back—well to be fair not all of you—but let me put whatever uneasiness you might be feeling to rest. This is not an essay where I complain about being bi-racial/bi-sexual/a child of a “broken family” etc. and this blog will never be that. As I’ve already stated I think I’m amazing and I’ve allowed none of those labels or realities to hold me back. Having said that I also need to recognize every part of who I am to accurately express what kind of artist I’ve become. Feels a little bit contradictory-esque-ish right? Welcome to my entire life buddy. Like it or not—and I am speaking to myself as well at this point—it all goes together.

Here’s how I know that to be true. I am currently pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre aka a four-year-crash-course on how to become a literal perfect human being who can do, literally, anything. And yes we are speaking literally here not metaphorically or in theory. I also like to say that I’m getting a degree in jazz squares, but only on days when I feel like I’m a complete failure. If you don’t know what any of that means then GOOD FOR YOU! If you do, you know that being an “MT” (Musical Theatre Kid for those of you that are blessed enough not to know) means that you have to be able to dance and sing and act really well. Like so well. Even I don’t yet understand how amazing one has to be at all of those things to be successful. You also have to pick up and master as many other amazing special skills as you can along the way. Like at least 3 million. Not even a joke.

At least, I used to think all that was true but turns out I don’t. That might be contrary to the popular belief of every casting agent ever but nonetheless it’s definitely what I believe. I have lots of work to do and LOTS of problems to fix but it’s all rooted in one idea: I do not feel everything in my heart and soul that I know in my brain to be true.

This is where I hear you rejoice. I figured it out! I know the problem. Now I can quit school and quit adding to my crippling debt and go live my dreams!!!!! Now stop with the weird essay and make me laugh kid. Also while you’re at it please commit to a POV and general theme and ya know, GRAMMAR! Naaaa na na na naaaa son. None of that. This only means I have more work to do.

My “journey” as an artist only truly began on November 9th 2016 and NOT for the reasons you’re thinking. You do NOT know where I’m going with this, don’t try to guess my move before I write it! It began on that day because I realized that I have always been an artist on the inside. In my head. But I haven’t always been one in my heart. In the physical reality in which I actually live. Sounds sucky and sad right? NO! It’s great! Because that only means everything I’ve been cultivating in my head for the past 19 years is going to start actually meaning something. And that’s the dream man.

So… where’s the hilarious anecdote? Where’s the concrete, real life, physical representation of all this quasi-intellectual shit I’ve been talking about? Well, I don’t know yet. But stay tuned; I’m sure it’ll manifest itself in a positive continuation of this story known as my life.