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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Bullock

Performing, YES. Performative, No.

I am proudly part of the performance revolution. This is a movement/practice where activists, educators, healers and artists are committed to both being and becoming.

For example, when I am angry, I can perform my anger by singing an opera. I can be both who I am (feeling angry) and who I am becoming (performing the anger gives space to create new meaning, new feelings, new responses).

Why is this so important to me? I believe as an activist, coach, and therapist that we need to find new ways to grow together. Performing who we are and at the same time who we are becoming, with others, is our ticket. Performing is growing.

There is another revolution occurring that relates to performing very differently. In the current movement for social justice, there is a term used that is opposite of growth and becoming. It is “performative”. This is a term used, as I understand it, to critique someone who is playing it up to look legit, woke, on the right side of history. For example, a white person posting a lot on social media about their fight for racial justice, but are they living any differently other than going to the BLM marches with your camera on selfie mode?

Performative-ness is about individuals: individuals feeding individual ego or trying to individually look woke or right, and individuals criticizing them for getting it wrong or not being authentic or opportunizing, etc. Performance is relational: how and what we are doing together, how we are practicing our relationships.

I invite you to perform with someone differently than you usually do. Next time you are going to react negatively or even next time you are going to respond naturally, practice who you are and who you are becoming by giving another performance. Leave your ego at the door, do something different and weird. Let me know what you discover.


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