#Talk to Me: A Conversation With My Student

There is a grief and a loss in me that can crack wide open and it is fragile and easily accessible. It is the moan of a thousand losses in my life. My friends, whom I lost to a great plague in the 80's, and then a few decades ago, both of my parents, who passed suddenly and with no warning. I wandered lost for a while and although the gentle arms of a loving wife whom I married in 1996, covered me in kindness and showed me light and hope, I turned in bewilderment and lost my faith.

I was angry at God and I wanted nothing more to do with a healing or a spiritual mindfulness.

I wanted no more lessons.

And then I was lead by these students of art and humanness that I had been teaching since 1994. And it was as if I had been blind and suddenly restored to sight as I began to open my eyes to what had always been right in front of me. I was Dorothy and these spirits became my magical Talismans. The guided me. They allowed me and they taught me. And as I worked my way back into the human experience, as a TransWoman and an actor and part of the queer community since 1980, I was fully realized and accepted and honored by these younger people. And so they became part of me.

I would call them my children, but that isn't the whole truth. They are not children. They are adults and moving into their voices and they show me how and when in a way I had forgotten. They are fearless and filled with self doubt, as I am, as we all are, and they are constantly in search of. They are curious. And they are my reminder.

So one of the angels that has taken me with them is here asking me things and confessing things and we sat on the floor of my office at California State University in Long Beach, where I am an Assistant Professor of Theater Arts, and where we explore the liminal space between our lives and our art. And I am honored to be with this woman because I have an enormous amount of respect and love for her and I am in awe of her journey and her life force.

Here's Tay Villet and I speaking about stuff for a few minutes. And I can't tell you how much I learned.