Another Cycle, Another Practice Reflection

Last spring, I wrote a blog post about practicing that I’ve been thinking about a lot this week. You can go read the original post if you want – in it, I talk a lot about how facilitation is a practice, and reflect on pulling a daily oracle/tarot card as a supportive practice/what it looks like for me/how I level up that practice. Since then, I’ve achieved keeping it up – posting a daily card online for almost 6 straight months! I’m really proud of myself for maintaining the streak (though, somewhat ironically, I did not post a card today).

Other daily practices I’ve kept up with: note-taking at staff check-in, and journaling before bed. Daily practices that have fallen by the wayside: personal kanban, and mosaic-making. Interestingly, I feel equally good about putting down the ones that aren’t serving me as I do with keeping up the ones that do. Doing something daily strengthens my (mental) muscles in a way that I’m only now beginning to appreciate. In putting down practices that aren’t serving me, I’m practicing being kind to myself as I figure out what’s working for me and what’s not – an equally powerful, though somewhat more ephemeral, set of skills.

Recently, I’ve added new daily practice: drawing! I’m participating in Inktober – which is essentially a challenge to draw something and post it online for every day of October. It’s been incredibly fun, and in the last few days I’ve realized my drawing has improved tremendously. In my school district, students had to choose art or music when we were 10 – I choose music and, subsequently, told myself the story that I couldn’t make art. It was a powerful story and it’s taken me a long time to unlearn it – even still, sometimes I find myself telling people that I’m not an artist despite all the evidence to the contrary. It’s particularly interesting to me right now, because I’ve had lots of people tell me that they could NEVER make art like that – the exactly story I’ve been telling myself until recently. Only daily practice has helped me change that story; I feel really trite when I tell people that, even if ti’s true.

Here are this month’s drawings so far (starting with day 1):

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Today’s #inktober drawing is a collaborative doodle I did with a teenager today at school who started by telling me she couldn’t draw before she even picked up the pen. Young femmes are taught so early that we can’t – can’t take up space can’t have talent can’t be loud can’t say no can’t be too forward can’t walk home alone at night – that it’s sometimes an impossible-feeling journey into believing that we can. Today is #nationalcomingoutday and I’m sitting here tonight reflecting on all the power I’ve reclaimed believing that I can – can take up space can be out can change my presentation identity pronouns can draw can sing can learn new things – and all the places I’m still giving myself that permission. Coming out isn’t a one-time event – it’s a lifetime of giving yourself permission to exist in a world that thinks you shouldn’t – and I’m grateful to be alive, in this body, in my community and family (chosen and blood). To everyone out there: I witness you. To everyone not out yet: I love you. The world is not safe but together we can hold each other enough that it might be okay

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🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠#inktober #inktober2018

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Mel

Mel Compo is an interdisciplinary artist, playworker, and facilitator at the New York City Agile Learning Center. Their work with children centers play, art-making, city adventuring, and open conversation about language, bodies, gender, networks, emotional intelligence, brain plasticity, and cycles of growth. Mel studied the intersections of SDE, poetry, and the history of American education NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. They live in Brooklyn, New York.

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