David Whyte describes the body as a geography. A meeting place of our seemingly inherited physicality, stories, and ways of being/engaging the world. Body – the sun, winds, waters and soil that move and engage us.
From a young age my particular body geography pulled me out of the familiar binaries of our world: rich/poor, White/BIPOC, tall/short, smart/dumb…. For many years I was all thumbs at living. Wishing I could be some pure identity one day, dreaming of a multiracial country where everyone was like me another – building on a history of miscegenation that could wrap me like a warm blanket.
As I navigated our world in the roles of community organizer, mother, teacher – I found ways to translate my body geography in order to survive. To no longer cut off parts of myself to fit in. Healing enough to share more and more of the fullness of my own geography.
This survival has involved building a space where no translation is needed. Where the logics of my life outside of our hierarchical conceptions of power/binaries could soar. The wings I built in that space sustain my spirit as I continue to stare down the faces of cruelty, oppressions, and tragedies of our world.
I was called to begin to bring weight, texture, and voice to this space, to begin to share it with others who might need a similar outlet in their lives for catharsis and joy.
Sea Free was born.
This is a love letter to 6-month old, 3 year-old, 12-year old, 15 year old Nicola Marie Wells – wherever she is today.
I share these works with gratitude to those who taught me to hear Sea Free and translate their language. The foundation of everything is my life with Ben, Anju, and Rari – I am eternally grateful.
Deep appreciation to the people and places that helped me find Sea Free:
- My Chicago roots and family spreading back across time and oceans
- Adam and Max for making magic happen – right now, and all the time
- Gerry Walsh for sharing stories, musings and sparking my own imagination
- Our community in Tijuana summer of 2002
- Members of Multi: 2001 to 2005
- Paris in the winter to summer of 2003
- L/A neighbors 2010 to present
- Jorge Luis Borges, Octavia Butler, Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L’Engle, N. K. Jemisin
- Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Adrienne Maree Brown, Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Pema Chodron
- Carol, Cathy and Marcia encouraging me to dream and dream big
- Fofie, Joseph, Jess, Jyo, Andrea, Lulu + Karly, Kate, Nadia, Craig, and Maryann