about the power of discomfort

annoyingly, i think i have to credit my most recent significant ex for this, but i have recently realized how much i truly value the power of discomfort.

i loved challenging an audience at Comedy Night with an unexplained improv warm-up exercise that consisted of us whooping and hollering, running up and down the stairs in the middle of the seats, flinging ourselves at the floor, et cetera, all cued by jubilant rings of the gong sounded by me.

i loved the bizarre, sometimes discordant, unexplained freneticism of the dance choreographed by Yoshiko Chuma and performed by the students in the evening dance troupe, accompanied by the jangling chords and rapid tone changes of Phillip Glass.

i love responding rapidly and solemnly when one student makes a racist or sexist reference or statement, and speaking to the whole group about the language that we use and why it is important to be careful about it.

i love having a reputation for bluntness and honesty, even though i am sure i have sometimes caused hurt. i like being direct. i prefer it to being nice.

but i don’t think i’m always right. i also love being challenged. i appreciate thoughtful engagement and argument, but also mixture, confusion, discomfort. i am more interested now, in my own and other’s reactions, i believe in making small headway, in causing questions, in encouraging doubt.

both psychology and history teach us that almost nothing is objective, and so much is interpretation. my need for art comes from an urge to explore all of our different perspectives and perceptions, and see where they blur and overlap.

that is excellent to behold.


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