|Cacky performing for The Label Project in Times Square|
I started The Label Project, Inc. almost four years ago. During that time, I have borne witness to many stories and transformations. In addition to doing fifteen performances all over the world, I have recently expanded my work to include a new branch called, "Impact: An Exploration of the Physical Impact of Words."
In "Impact," I work with participants around the word that has most negatively impacted them and where they feel it in their body. I work with them to create a visual representation of the way they experience the word using face paint to create a bruise on that area of their body with the word inside of it.
One of the most empowering moments for me to witness in my work with "Impact" happened at the premier of the video last December. I have chosen to remain vague to protect confidentiality. After showing the video, I invited a small panel to join me onstage to share their experiences. One of the women had been very on the fence about being on the panel and decided at the last minute that she did want to participate.
I had worked closely with her, as I had with all of my participants, in a one-on-one session to create a visual representation on her body of the word that had most negatively impacted her. In the session I asked, "Do you want to tell me about the word?" fully ready to change the subject if she chose not to. She opened up, telling me about the traumatic story that had caused the pain tied to the word and that this was her way to take back her power over that word. I did not know at the time that I was one of the few people she had told about this.
During the panel I asked the participants to share what they felt comfortable with and I asked the audience to respect their boundaries. During the panel discussion, this woman moved the entire audience to tears with the courage to tell her story. It was so amazing. I am still inspired and draw strength from that moment. After she told her story, another participant come down from the audience to join the panel saying, "I couldn't just sit up there and watch this."
I cannot wait to be a part of a massmouth event and continue exploring the therapeutic possibilities of storytelling.
To learn more about this project, watch our short film "Impact: An Exploration of the Physical Impact of Words"
For more information on my work with The Label Project, Inc. please check out our website: thelabelproject.net & follow us on Facebook!