I didn't realize there was a special day for military spouses, but I'm glad there is. And I'm grateful for all of the military and their spouses. Thank you for supporting and protecting those who protect our freedom as U.S. citizens.
I performed "The Protected" for the second time today. Yesterday, after the performance, a young friend inquired about the piece. "I'm still in the process and it's really personal so I'm not quite sure how to talk about it, yet," I responded. As an artist, herself, she seemed to understand.
But then, I saw the VHA posting and thought about gathering the courage to talk a bit more.
"The Protected" is inspired by those who are left behind during war. The ones who love the soliders, the protectors of our freedom and American values (a term, I realize is currently up for debate.) HOWEVER, the debate does not deminish the value of the work being done by those who put their lives on the line everyday - military, police, firefighters... In fact, the debate IS ALLOWED because of the work of these individuals.
Personally, I am grateful to have the freedom to be an artist in this dynamic culture, of the U.S.
These "protectors" are also people who also need protecting.
Who protects the protectors?
Military spouses and parents are so patient with their protecting. They wait. Pray. Don't watch the news. Watch the news. Lose sleep worrying and waiting for a phone call. Pray for a phone call. Pray not to receive a certain type of a phone call. Write letters and notes not knowing if they'll be received. Cry. Pray. Wait. Continue with life as normal -whatever that means. Cry. Pray. Wait. Yell where no one can hear. Hide. Smile. Pretend. Breathe. Wait. And when the time comes, they fight. Fight to understand. Fight to help. Fight to provide health insurance and care, mental and emotional support. Fight not to bring back what was lost but to provide protection for those who have already lost so much in protecting. Fight for what is and what could be.
I don't ask questions but I know the role of the protector is one of challenge and sacrifice. As is the role of the protected.
The images below are from a second piece created for me by my collaborator in the process of "The Protected". Jessica Hardinger wrote and performed the music for this work. I deeply appreciate her own roles as a protected and protector, as an artist and educator, and as a friend.