RESPONSES

HERE ARE SOME REFLECTIONS AUDIENCE MEMBERS
HAVE SHARED AFTER VARIOUS PERFORMANCES & workshops.

we are so different but I teared up regardless. Definition of art?

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I feel closer to some of my friends in here but even closer with a few strangers

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My body feels alive but it is an alive that hurts. I'm really cold. I don't trust a lot of people but what does that even mean if I don't trust myself. I don't know anymore and I don't even know exactly what it is that I don't know and that really scares me.

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I'm thinking about how I can forgive my parents for the way they raised me, knowing that they are products of a larger system of toxicity that they are likely not even aware of
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love the show. you have an amazing energy 

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You make me want to write poetry; to feel the way you look whole you are on stage.

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Really appreciated your spoken word about faith and bodies. Also really appreciated the activity on thinking about WHERE we are POWERFUL. Thank you for your powerful words

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Thank you so much for this workshop. Thank you for setting it up the way you did. Thank you for allowing us to put paper on the walls that were little pieces of us without directly addressing them. Having them stand alone in the room is so so incredibly powerful. Thanks for skipping over the normalized introductions and having us make hand contact and better contact with people. Please come back next year

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being here has made me realize that "being okay" is my default state and sometimes I unfairly force it on myself and sometimes even I unfairly force it on others

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Thank you for helping us create this space. I felt whole inside and very connected to many souls tonight. We are all hurting so much. Tonight was a rare time to be real with myself about that hurt and the hurt of people in my life here and away from here.

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Some of the pain I've been holding in got let out, body feels physically lighter. Was glad to do this workshop with other Asian Americans, never had a chance to do something like this before and was so rewarding being with a group that is talking about not being ok together when society forces us to say or look like we are

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I feel tired, but quietly strong. I feel blessed and honored to have heard the stories I heard tonight. I wonder how I can hear and see how people can feel similar feelings I do - but still feel so alone when I'm by myself in these emotions and feelings. How do we lift each other more? Love more?

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Thank you for doing something that felt human and more powerful than any of the other mental health related workshops or talks that I've been to! It is honestly though human connection by sharing stories and experiences can we get together to create a sense of community!

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I feel the most grounded and aware that I have in a very long time. I have found some sense of clarity in identifying the people that I want to continue to grow with and continue to love and be loved by. I don't feel as scared and alone as I did before. I still feel guilty for a lot of reasons, for a lot of the things that I've done. But I am not them. 

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 I'm upset at myself for being swayed by someone else's whims instead of doing what I wanted to do. I wish I was able to talk to someone I actually didn't know. Though I appreciated getting to know more about people I already do know, too.

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This session was informative but left me with questions that make me uneasy. Since pride is a white space what am I doing there? Am I just a token poc in a predominantly white space. Has my adoption made me more compliant/agreeable to whiteness? Where do I go from here with my adoption being the basis for my racial identity? How am I supposed to learn my race amid gender and sexual identity based on my transracial experiences? Can I separate myself from whiteness? Should I? This is a lot to process and I'll probably spend my life untangling these threads. This was an important step though.

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Do I have a difficult relationship with my mother? Is it guilt in even thinking that that kept me from talking about her to my partner in that exercise a few minutes ago?

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Inspiring. You gave us (your audience) so much. Thank you. 

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I want to read your poem to my mom. I do not know yet know how to eloquently express sorrow, heartbreak and forgiveness without apologizing for who I am.
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I am uncomfortable talking about my family’s money
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Mother. Language. Queer imperialism. Bougie activism. My white western concept of queerness and political justice. Ironic given my non-western bougie roots.
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When Bex spoke about their mother asking them to grow out their hair, I resonated with those words. I had long hair for 20 years, and it's finally shorter than shoulder-length and it's liberating. Whenever I see my mom, she asks me to grow out my hair. I will one day, but I want to enjoy my freedom for as long as I can.

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I like the thoughts about feeling strong

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The metaphor of the asian relationship to racism in the glove to invisible hand was beautiful.  Your eye contact melted me away. Coming out to your parents as trans...while looking at me. Another trans. 

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You fucking rock. Your art makes people think and question. As for me, I thought a lot about how my Jewish upbringing shaped my worldview and spirituality while listening to your poetry. And maybe picking up hypocrisies in that

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I push away a lot of my identity because it's easy for me. Im Chinese American and I'm bisexual. It's easy for me to put away half of me when it's convenient. I've never been to a spoken words event or any kind of poetry event but I'm glad I came out tonight

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Clowns, man. I don't think I'll ever look at them in the same way because I can relate. It also makes me wonder if clowns actually do laugh, except only at themselves. Probably, huh? Thanks so much for speaking tonight, my friend. You really gave me courage.

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The last half poem about love resonated with me deeply. My personal belief about love is that it's a chain..... A place of vulnerability, an opportunity for ownership despite the fact that's not what I want for love. That's not what love should be. May inspiration find you in completing the poem! 

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I really like that last unfinished poem. I found it very relatable and there were a lot of lessons to be learned from it. You are an amazing actor, I was pulledcompletely into all of your stories and poems. Thank you so much for sharing those with all of us. 

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I hate how i can never be comfortable. even in spaces that cater to me, my identies. like in queer spaces i can never feel at ease. and i feel like my whole life will be searching for some comfort

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I was touched by the elequant way you explore the delicate subjects of racism, gender, and religon

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Im not really sure what to write but I'd like to take the time to thank you for your talk. It really helped me reflect about stuff I normally wouldn't take the time to do.

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I really enjoyed the piece about your grandfather. It reminds me of the cultural differences I've noticed between me and my father. 

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Something that made me uncomfortable recently was way that my roommates speak so negatively all the time and point out my imperfections as if it was an open topic to discuss I put my headphones on and pretend not to listen Don't take your insecurities out on me I have my own demons thanks

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Bex Kwan really made me think about racism in a different way. Bex made me think about how I perceive others and how others perceive me. Bex allowed me to think about how I act towards others to generate a specific response. I experienced an influx of knowledge about myself and the world around me tonight!

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My radical political love is a valuable framework in my emotional world too.

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Estranged relationships with parents that never valued my queer, but living in how my younger sister uses the word "normal" to describe my queer to others, yes even when I'm not there. Everyday vocab that I never fathomed 

 

 

"Think about the ways in which you are powerful" - thank you for the reminder. You make me feel like we can genuinely move towards building a more honest world.

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Honest, moving, deeply powerful. Your stories are the first ones I see myself in so much. The poem about being sucker punched and supposed to laugh was difficult to watch - so brave of you. Love the honesty and candor. 

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This conversation left me pensive. How am I contributing to the pillars of white supremacy? How do I change this structure? Why do I not consider race, gender, and sexuality as the same issue? All questions that are now at the forefront of my 'social justice' mindset.

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I think the workshop was very powerful in bringing to words some of the things that I've been thinking about in relation to dealing with mental health as an Asian American - if mental health is a white concept and the treatment of mental health is a white concept, then can I even actually be dealing with it?

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I feel really moved by the entire workshop. I feel like it's true that I'm sitting in a bank right now and I really want to do something to make a change in order to help the other POC communities off campus, especially with younger children who may have been like me when I was a kid and did not really know what was going on. 

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Recognizing that we are all different, I want to know how we can be aware of individual needs and specificities of experience, ability, dreams, etc. while considering community and without assimilating to whiteness

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This really gave me context about my issues of mental health/self image. I think that I need more compassion in my life

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Bex, this was the first intentional queer space, and space related to relationships and sexuality and desire, I have ever been in. I think this being away from my campus, in a space with strangers, was a big part of finding the courage to come. Thank you for creating and holding an emotional space with so much vulnerability, sensitivity and honesty. You have such a moving, precious, remarkable way of holding a space that brings us closer to ourselves. This is unlike anything I've ever experienced before. I leave feeling like I can live with more truth and love, and with more courage to come to terms with my struggles and fears. Thank you, deeply. Sending your strength and loving energy on your journey of creating, educating and remaking a kinder, more honest world.

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family acceptance guilt. thinking about myself and the hands that shape me

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Dope. Raw. Energy. Perspective. Inspiration.

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Your artistry continues to astound me. 

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I def felt the Asian/Asian am identity struggles in your work and I loved your new shit!

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i almost cried so many times during your poems they hit me in places i didn't know were sensitive

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Your work sent shivers up and down my body. Thank you.

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Opening wounds, trying to patch them up. Causing REAL emotion

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ive never been to a poetry performance. you have me crying about transness and parents. your work is beautiful and has given me the strength to speak to my family.

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It's evident how much of yourself you give when you perform and it is deeply--I mean down to my soul--moving. Thank you for your vulnerability.

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Did you ever learn to take from institutions without becoming of them? Language is so frustrating 

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Even you were speaking english. I heard chinese. Or cantonese. Whatever you call my mother tongue. Whatever you call my kin. Whatever you call me 

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Thank you for coming and sharing your words with us. Your poem about love is making me think about how to create something beautiful with someone else without necessarily feeling like I am owned by them or they are owned by me. Thank you for putting those feelings into words in your own way. I really appreciate it.

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grandfathers undershirts. my grandfather passed away last year. I visited his grave last summer in China and cried a lot. thank you for helping me remember

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The way the clown one slid from a participatory thing to something like so serious totally hit. Thank you for coaxing out the tears so fluidly

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It's not so "scary" to be real with myself. To step ankle deep into my anxiety just be open. to not lie to myself. If it's possible here it's possible elsewhere. thank you.

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Although we walk such different lives, how is it that I can still find myself in you?

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Love seems to be like ownership, but I'm afraid to be left like a dog at a shelter or like an elderly grandmother in a home. 

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I may not fully understand what you are saying, but I love the way you speak.

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It makes me feel kind of uncomfortable to confront the idea that my pride over where I am from may be oppressive or offensive to others. 

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Replacement. Reflecting and adjusting.

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Thinking about radicalism as violent/ bloodsucking/ placating/ isolating, about distance from dead bodies, about Americanism and where that is in myself. I realllllllllly liked your set today.

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Sometimes it was unsettling but loved the structure and the insights.

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Earlier I reflected on being sexist and how I've verbally stated "I'm 50% less likely to remember your name if you're a female." Also your performance was great~~and your strength and courage shine brightly :) #camosnap 

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Bex is a beautiful performer. They brought me to tears. Passionate. I felt safe and loved even though I don't know this person. To feel that connected with someone speaking in a room filled with people is a testament to how powerful a performer Bex is. 

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Bex Kwan, (TW: suicide) I'm trying my best to be apathetic. When you opened with an acquaintance that committed suicide a part of me started to cry. My trans international friend committed suicide not too long ago. Today, ucsd lit a candle and bought flowers for him and I wonder.... In 10 years time or even 3 months from now, will I forget him? Did I even know him? He doesn't exist anymore? He's selfish for doing it, but maybe his family? Asian families? I don't know. And I will never know why he jumped off the bridge. No ones knows how his family treated him. We could see his anger, his frustration, but no one saw it escalate. Will his family call him Shane, will they call him their son? I won't know. I can't know. And it hurts.

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My lifelong best friend is visiting from Chicago and she gently pushed me to come out tonight to something I wouldn't normally do. I feel so lucky and so grateful to have her in my life. And also to be here to hear your first show of 2016. Also being here, listening, I really became aware of how physically 'closed' I have become- a good Midwestern girl and wife and manager. That isn't me and I need to open back up, not just in the comfort of my home. I want to live life again! Thank you! This was wonderful! 

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Organization is very powerful, the ability to organize an open mic, the ability to get a college application submitted, the ability to know how to share our wealth of its existent... How can we organize ourselves to our best ability with limited financial means and limited recourse and how can we help others before helping ourselves? 

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Saw you at Coffee Cat in SB. Felt your powerful emotions. I am powerful with my grandsons, they think I can do no wrong. Our daughter is multiracial/hapa/blackanese, her husband born in taiwan, family in shanghai, your message rings true to my heart.

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Capitalism forces us into operating as individuals and facing our problems alone. Your workshop challenges this and instead says its necessary to heal and work together as a community.

 

 

Throughout this entire workshop, I've been unloading a lot of the burdens and unhealthiness that I've packaged and tossed into the back of my mind. I originally thought the start of this workshop was like a long ice-breaker. But then, the next activity seemed kind of like that too. And I realized that all of these activities, in their own way, was doing something to me, unpacking, opening up, priming me for being able to share everything that I have, take in everything that I've heard— it was just amazing and way beyond expectations and I loved every minute of it and wished it would never end. Thank you.

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Really felt the stuff on learning the language to critique these institutions from the same institutions we are critiquing. As a transnational, int'l Chinese student in the U.S. I've been learning more about my Chinese identity since leaving China and family... Don't know what that means that I had to come to America to finally accept my Chinese side.

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The clown story was the greatest cross of standup/spoken word/rhetoric i've seen

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This performance was amazing!! The poem about faith really resonated with me. I am so very happy that I came. I feel so empowered to write again. Thank you so much for blessing our campus with such powerful words and thoughts. We need this kind of radical event on campus.

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Your poem on your relationship with your mother. About feeling like you disappointed her. And I am a only child so I feel the worst about this. About short hair. It made me remember when I had a fight with my mom about wearing a suit for prom last June. I'm still reeling, but I came out to my mom, through a letter, this winter. we're working on it. Thank you, Bex

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I just got from China yesterday...Visiting my parents and grandparents. I am a queer and trans* Chinese immigrant. I don't know what to say except that I feel validated, but also incredibly sad at the stories you told. It feels incredibly raw, and true to my experience as well. I was just told over and over again by my family that I walk like a boy, dress like a boy, and have a haircut like a boy. And that I wasn't pretty because of it. and in broken Chinese, I tried to respond that I look like me, smiling awkwardly. Thank you for telling not only your experience but also helping me reflect on mine.

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I really love this workshop. The last activity was incredible. Made me realize that there's something more powerful than myself battling against the world. The people around me. How to sustain this power and connectedness and honesty? Thinking about all the people I wish had been in the room with us. Bex, you've created yet another beautiful, powerful, tender space. I wish this had gone on for much longer. Thank you for trusting us with the liberating speech circle.

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Thank you for words about ur mother. It means a lot. A lot of things hurt.

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I'm thinking of my body. And I'm thinking about how different this space is from the space outside. I wish the outside space was more like this one.

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My body feels so heavy right now. But, like, it's always been heavy and now I'm feeling it. Maybe now I can start to hold it better. 

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The first poem you did fucked me up but in the best way possible. Thank you for your amazing work. I could see and feel your heart. I want to lift up the poem about the clowns because it made me uncomfortable and that is so important for learning and growth

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I believe that your poetry opens up the gates of people's minds. To accept difference to question who they are and what they can do with the person they are. You inspire people to break out and be the person they want to be because, that's the person they should be

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Thanks for being a voice for all of us who feel what you do but can't bring up the courage to say it. You're proof that one day we all can

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Hi bex. I'm confused. Confused because I'm feeling too much / things I didn't know I could feel. Things that have been hurting don't hurt and things that were numb are now hurting. Thank you so much for being here. 

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Bex, you are amazing and your words are so powerful. The activity thinking about parts of my body affected by systems really made me stop and think. Thank you for being here.

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Your words mean a lot. I'm going to remember this for a long time. You make me want to be a better artist and a more thoughtful person, so thank you. You're really brave. 

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Your poem about family // expectations of mothers on their daughters struck a chord with me. As in I cried. Thank you

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Weighted down with losing old loved ones who are moving on with their lives. Do you hold on to them? Do you facilitate their departure? This would be easier if they weren't so far

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You always seem very brave, and I wish I also had the guts to call out what I was feeling in a room full of people. Your show was amazing and thanks for being here. 

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 The poem about capitalism and appropriation with urban outfitters was so relevant, so on point, and so profound. Additionally I love your tangents, I think they're hilarious haha thank you for coming to UCR. This was an empowering experience and look forward to look up more of your work. :)

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The last peice you did on religion really reinated with me. I grew up in a tradionally chrostian household and I do believe in a God. But the institution of religion i feel is tainted. Ive always had faith but to be challenged because i am genderqueer, because i am pansexual, because of who I am. Its a sturggle

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I could really feel your vulnerability. Thank you for sharing your heart with us tonight.

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felt your firm and kind patience w loving moms

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Liberated. Anxious. I'm bisexual and my room mates all disagree with it. And I wanted to finally be free in college but I'm not and I'm so broken up inside. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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After hearing you talk about their struggle with their parents and identity, I began to think about how awkward I feel with talking about being half Latina. I have never truly felt connected with my Latino roots. Sometimes I wonder whether my attraction to Latin men is a reflection of my desire to feel closer to my Latin roots.

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thinking about how the way I speak and sound is a map of how power has used me / how I have used power

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I was really struck by the poem about religion/God. As a Christian, I know that Christian hegemony exists, but the God I believe in and love does not advocate hate/oppression. 

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It was very refreshing and beautiful to hear your comments on how we ought to be treating each other with more kindness and gentleness. Thank you for sharing your inspiration and words with us.

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Tonight was my first spoken word show in person; I've seen a lot online but the energy in the room is undeniably what defines the experience. Your way of including the audience and personalizing the show is really special, thank you for being here with us in Santa Barbara.

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Love the interaction with the audience. The passion that you evoke when you speak is beautiful. I also find it beautiful that you keep holding onto your faith.

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The story about the clown was really emotional and sparked anger in me because of how ridiculous it was for men to act out violently over feeling as if their masculinity was at jeopardy because of someone they see on the street. Also 👍 on the new poem 

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Visions of love and loss, stomach wrenching emotion and controlled numbness. Really a touching experience and a night to remember. Thank you.

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This is my first spoken word event and I was really glad I came. I find it so interesting to hear other people's perspectives and thoughts on life and you told yours in a powerful way. I feel like hearing your words open my world to experiences of others helping me become more opened minded and passing those values on to my children. Hopefully, leading to a more understanding peaceful world.