Updated: Feb 7, 2020
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE USING MUSICAL THEATER TO HEAL THEIR TRAUMA — AND IT’S WORKING When I read this article, it resonated with me so much.
I wrote an article “”I found myself in Music and Music found me” earlier this year. It was really therapeutic process. Art therapy exists for a reason. When my friend MJ told me about De-Cruit the organization that uses Shakespeare work and science to me negate the trauma . It blew my mind. Because I knew art is healing, just by my experience, but the scientific backing would really support that process, even those who are not open to the idea of “Art is healing”. I see a lot of people say “Oh, I'm not an artist”. based on what their ideas or definitions of “Artist”. The very own act of creating something from your idea, taking that action, that is an art. I am a firm believer of everybody is an art on their own term. I’m a straight out right brain artist. I love to write, sing, dance, play piano… anything in that traditional sense of ART, I just love it. But I see chefs, teachers, scientists, educators, mathematicians, doctors and they blow my mind. What does that mean? They understand the languages that I have no idea what that mean and they create something magical. Their art form is different than mine. That is it. Creating something. That is beautiful. That is to challenge ourselves and spark curiosity. It is an opportunity for me to push myself. It starts with “What’s possible?”
I am doing my very first Solo show on Aug 16th 2019. I wrote script in 4 days. I sat down and wrote everything that was in my head and my heart. No filters, no holding back. That on its own was already a challenge. Because I constantly had the worry of “I don’t want people to think that I’m complaining all the time”. “What if people don’t like this?” “Should I tell people about this part of my life?”… All those anxious feeling came to surface. After the first round of feedback from my director/script supervisor, my script was basically done. As I revised it, I saw the circles and patterns of my thoughts clearly. I learned more about myself than ever because, I pushed through the fear of those questions & hesitations. Especially the one that says “What if nobody likes this?”
When the script was finally finished, the rehearsal process began. It was clear that I was still living in that story...everything felt personal. Everything triggered me. Every word had me re-live in that moment. It was painful. I cried the whole entire rehearsal that day. And I was so grateful for my director for just letting me be that day. 2 things that I decided was that,
1) I am going to give myself a full permission to just be a mess and process all feeling that would come up during the rehearsal process.
2) I am going to be the vessel of the story 100%.
It was the decision. Not some nice idea or I wish I can. This was a decision that would not let this story be in control of this show. There’s a difference between, this actor is feeling so much and connecting to this story intensely vs this actor is really a vessel of this story. And because this story is so personal, I knew that it would require me to do a deep heart work. But I was finally getting to separate myself from this story that I’ve repeated in my head over and over for years and years. The story was finally out from my head.
This feels like an open heart surgery. I took everything out of my body/head and put that out in the paper and re-writing my own narratives, word by word. A simple word choice made a huge difference. I’ve been crying every time I go over the script. The first few days, I caught myself being judgmental. I felt this character on this paper being way too dramatic. I was judging for the way this character lives her life. Why doesn’t she get it? Then I wonder if I’d been judging myself like that. When people say “you would not talk to other people the same way you talk to yourself”, I felt like that was what I was experiencing.
What theatre and storytelling allow us to do is to really change the narrative of the story. By understanding the character, we understand the journey. By understanding the intentions, we understand the choices that we get to make in those circumstances. By accepting the story, there’ll be curiosity. By changing the narratives, we heal ourselves. We can express ourselves in so many different ways. Those narratives don’t have to be done in the written form. Music, dance, painting, cooking, we can use many forms. The beauty of using art is that it builds relationship with others, as collaborators and as audience. It could create support, accountability, love. Because we cannot create art by ourselves. We could, perhaps, but we don’t want to. At least I don’t. I believe that these stories are to be shared. And even when you think, nobody cares about your story, there are someone who’s waiting to hear your story that they don’t even know. And I believe that it is our responsibility to share that story and create healing not only for ourselves, but for others.
Love and light