In which I come back from Maternity Leave in the midst of a global pandemic...
Two weeks ago, Monday was my first day back to work from maternity leave.
That Monday, it was the first day all of our staff began working remotely.
That Monday, the office was empty except for me. It’s attached to my home, so there I was.
That Monday, I did many things that a mother going back to work would do. I got dressed. I kissed my baby. I wrote out feeding instructions. I waved “bye bye.”
That Monday, I stepped back into a world so completely transformed, a landscape so utterly shifted. This is not how I thought it would be.
I set up my desk, stared at an inbox full of emails, briefly considered the many cancellations I knew were already rolling in… classes, programs, performances, fundraisers…
And I wrote this down:
“How can we -- as artists, a company and a community -- help? How can we be of service?”
That question was the first thing I could wrap my mind around. If I had started with cash flows, cancellations and crisis, I would have spiralled. Instead of survival, I focused on service. I believe that being of service to one another is ultimately how we will survive.
I have since gone down more logistical rabbit holes - as Artistic Director, I am working in close collaboration with our Executive Director David Mack, our staff, and our board of directors. These people are a marvel.
I keep coming back to this idea of community and connection that is at the heart of Invertigo’s values. These are the three things that came to me, in answer to my questions:
- Combat isolation
- Cultivate hope
- Provide moments to recharge
They percolated up into my fingertips and through the pen. I have dreams and schemes for how to go about this. We’ll be sharing more soon.
For my artist friends, it is ok to mourn the cancellations, the losses, the would-have-beens. I am too. I have also been deeply inspired by the outpouring of love, support, online offerings, and opportunities for connection that you’re all cultivating. Within a couple of weeks, we have seen artists - whose entire livelihoods have been called into question - doing what we best know how to do. We are putting classes online, performing in living rooms, teaching through new platforms, reaching out to more vulnerable communities, sewing masks for hospitals out of old costumes, providing entertainment and deeper questioning and perspectives, holding each other together.
In a new world, we need artists to help us re-imagine who we are and become who we must be in order both to survive and to be of service.
This Monday is my third week back to work from maternity leave.
This Monday, I am breathing through fear and uncertainty, and nurturing hope.
This Monday, I am clarifying how to be a leader and an artist.
I hope to share what I find with you.
Be well, my friends, and take care of one another.