Dispatches from the Awesome Lady Squad, #2: In which the ladies plan to meet for a second time

cooltext1368115366I’ve been feeling lighter lately.

I’ve been walking around with just a bit more bounce in my step.

I’ve been feeling, well there’s just no other word for it, rather awesome indeed.

I believe I’ve been feeling that way because for the first time in a long time it seems like change is imminent.  Over the past few years, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about finding my place as an artist in the world. I’ve worried about whether I was doing the right thing. I’ve worried about whether a choice I made would get me on the right path. I’ve worried if I’d ever land in the place where I was supposed to be. But you know what? I think I’m finally, finally, finally, realizing that the whole idea that there is a right place, that there is one just path, that there’s even a standard of measurement that is anything close to absolute is a load of crap. And that realization is part of what I think is making me feel so awesome in particular about the Awesome Lady Squad.

After the last squadron meeting I felt the positive power of defining a new perspective. About refuting the idea that there is an absolute when it comes to what’s “normal or that there is a fixed set of disadvantages and that there are givens that stay given about the way that things work.

I thought about the way I run my theater company: as a hybrid artist somewhere between non-profit and individual who is able to make the kind of creative work that doesn’t fit easily into categories and still manage to pay my collaborators the same level as many mid-sized theaters in town. I’m pretty sure that if I’d asked my mentors first coming out of school if such a set up would be possible, they’d have all said no. My guess is that at that time they would have told me there wasn’t funding or structure or opportunity for such a different way of doing things.

At the time, there probably wasn’t an obvious route towards what I wanted.

Now, there is. But that’s only because I found it.

I’ve spent a lot of time in 2013 fretting about whether it’s possible to change how women are treated in the arts. And as one of the attendees from the last meeting said, it’s a feeling that has taken up a lot of space in my life. I’ve felt mad that things aren’t the way they should be. But at this moment, I’m a lot more interested in putting that energy towards actually getting them so they are.

Right now, the route to doing that isn’t obvious.

But after we do it, other cities can look to Philly and see that it was there all along.

The resolution I want you to join me on in 2014 is this: you have to know – not desire, not wish, not hope – but deep down truly know that there is a future world where the Awesome Lady Squad doesn’t need exist because we’ve solved all the problems we’ve identified. And we need to know that it’s going to become reality, and soon. Gathering people and realizing that you are not alone, that your perspective is one that is shared by many, that your view of the world need not be rage-inducing or isolating, that you can indeed find a space where every person around you also starts from the same set of ethical givens, this is the first step. It’s an important one. Because it’s the one where we all have to stop and say, hey, the things that I disagree with are actually NOT truth. They are NOT givens. Not in this room. Not right now.

And once we carve out a little bit of space to stake our the Awesome Lady Nation, we’ll be able to invite the rest of the world in as citizens. One by one, we’ll make them all denizens of our Awesome new world.

Charting that course is already underway and you can check out our first scouting mission here. On Sunday January 26th from 7 – 9pm at the Arts Parlor (1170 S Broad) we walk just a little further down that road.

We’ll use the same format from last time, me asking some big questions, and you guys sharing your big answers. For a few hours in a few square feet of space we’ll create a world where people believe in equity and fairness and respect for female creators. And if we can make it true in a room at the Parlor for a few hours at a time, there MUST be a way to expand that perspective, that new sense of reality past that room and out into the world.

Hope to see you there.

An as always, thanks for being awesome.

– A

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