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Recap: From the Repertoire: Birthing, Dying, Becoming Crip Wisdom

Sins Invalid hosted a virtual performance of From the Repertoire: Birthing, Dying, Becoming Crip Wisdom, which exemplified Sins Invalid’s mission in establishing a “disability justice based performance project and movement building organization led by disabled people of color and disabled queers.” The performance was divided into three acts, and the following are some key takeaways that I felt conveyed powerful messages about self-acceptance, liberation, and confidence.

The central theme of self-acceptance stood out to me throughout the first act. The reading of Aurora Levins Morales’ “Atabey” guided us to discover who we are and gave us encouragement with the following words “inhaling the dust of possibility…exhaling dreams.” Furthermore, “Obatala’s Blessings” was a speech rich in healing. I was reminded that each of us was “beautifully and wonderfully made” and that we “were not a mistake. I [Obatala] molded and crafted your bodies as masterpieces each. Crafted with love, to give and receive love.”

The dance performance “Rooted” exemplified liberation. The scene opened with dancers under a long sheer piece of fabric that stretched across the stage. This piece of fabric enclosed the dancers in all directions as it served as a visual representation of society’s labels and words. As a symbol of society’s labeling, this fabric was significant in that it represented how effortlessly society can create labels that have suffocating weight, defining and confining what people with disabilities can and cannot do.

I used to think my startle response was a personal quirk

Lastly, the animated film “I Used to Think My Startle Response Was a Personal Quirk” depicted life through the analogy of a rollercoaster drawn in first-person perspective. Because the film was drawn in a first-person point of view, it led the viewer to actively participate with the film. I thought it was significant how the narrator asked, “what makes a life meaningful?” at the peak of the rollercoaster, right before the big drop. The narrator pondered whether the meaning of life is defined by length or quality, and this made me consider what a “meaningful life” meant.

In response to this prompt by the narrator, I believe that the most important factor is ultimately how we feel as individuals throughout the rollercoaster ride. The ups and downs and twists and turns that make up the track are not something that we, as riders, have the luxury of editing at those instantaneous moments. However, what I think we have control over is our perspective and how we approach these unexpected drops. Roller coasters don’t have hard drops just for their riders to plummet to the ground and crash. In a roller coaster, every drop is also a launching point. A launching point for the riders to gain speed and momentum. And I think this is the same with life. And so, to address the narrator’s question, life becomes more meaningful as “drops” are seen as launching points. Life becomes more meaningful, when I have the confidence to keep my head up and move forward towards what is to come. Life is meaningful because every new launching point provides the necessary momentum to overcome future obstacles, even the most unexpected 360º loop.