Today I am grateful for:
- The healing power of art and the way it helps us understand ourselves, each other and that we are not alone.
- The film Twelve by Lester Alfonso
Tonight Shannon and I saw Twelve at the Reel Asian Film Festival and I still have tears in my eyes. This documentary follows Lester as he interviews 12 people who immigrated to Canada when they were 12 years old. He is looking for healing and wisdom, having had that experience himself at that tender age. He's looking for his tribe.
I had no I'd idea I'd be one of them. I didn't come from another country or speak another language. Only as I sat there watching the film and the tears started flowing did I think, "I was 12." I was 12 when we moved from Montreal to Toronto, and it broke me for a while. It was one of the turning points of my life. I'd never thought of the significance of the age or stage of my life until tonight. I am grateful for a new understanding.
When Lester introduced the film, I turned to Shannon and said, "He's such a beamer," which is how we describe someone who just radiates joy or light. It was so surprising when the film started and it became clear that it was rooted in his pain. And as he and the others shared their stories, I cried for each of our tender, beautiful 12-year-old selves and I was filled with a deep sense of connection. I am grateful for that.
And when Lester spoke after the screening about a project he has on the horizon about kindness, one that was inspired as a direct response to a video he'd happened upon of clips of movie torture set to music, more tears fell. I am so, so grateful that as artists we can celebrate and remind each other of what is beautiful and special about our humanness.
This is a picture of me at 12. It's vulnerable for me to share it. I've posted it before and talked about what it's meant for me to accept and love this version of me. I'm grateful to know that if this 12-year-old me and Lester's 12-year-old him would have met, we would have been nice to each other. I'm sure of it.