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A conversation with StaceyAnn Chin

stacey_annWhen I talk about StaceyAnn Chin – I stumble on where to begin. I see her as a woman of such complexity and grace. She seems to be someone whose ideas and ideals are interwoven in a tapestry of activism and the written voice. I had the amazing pleasure of talking with StaceyAnn last week to discuss MOTHERSTRUCK, her personal history, her relationship with family and her daughter Zuri.

In case you were not aware, MOTHERSTRUCK is now in Chicago playing at the Greenhouse Theatre Center. StaceyAnn is not just a poet and lesbian activist. She is a story teller, a weaver of words. She uses her gift as she performs alone on stage telling in her own words the story of her path to single motherhood as a non-partnered person. She begs to ask “how does one navigate?” With authenticity and an honest energy, her life and struggles are unfolded in front of the audience and we feel as if we are a part of her journey.

StaceyAnn brought MOTHERSTRUCK to Chicago for many reasons including the warm and welcoming environment this city unfolds. She mentioned our huge activist community and how so many waves of change actually began here in Chicago. She finds herself and Zuri “In a city full of amazing human beings” and hopes her show might feel at home and reach an audience familiar with her experiences.

Born in Jamaica, StaceyAnn had a childhood void of any real family connections. She recalls at 12 years old feeling very small wearing only the hand me downs that were tossed her way. She knew even then that she was deeply moved by the idea of family all the while having no family to truly call her own. Jamaica was not a nurturing place for a woman who loved other women and the abuses of that narrow society directly affected her. With a fragmented identity she came to America – “a half Chinese, half black lesbian from Jamaica” and she began to create her foundation for all she was yet to become.

As a single woman with the triggers from her past (abandonment/tumultuous relationships) StaceyAnn still deeply yearned to be a mother. Carrying the knowledge that she herself was badly parented – she worried that she too might not be a good parent. With family scattered all over the globe and no real relationships to speak of – she began to navigate what the identity of family really means. At some point she recognized that she must write her own story. With the birth of her daughter came a “new lens through which to see.” Zuri is the co-pilot that has shown StaceyAnn views of herself and the world around her that she would otherwise never have seen. “The goal is to give and receive kindness and to raise your kid not to be a rubric.” …….I love that sentiment so much.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Staceyann Chin and Missouri Chin are seen onstage during the "MotherStruck!" opening night at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre on December 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Staceyann Chin and Missouri Chin are seen onstage during the “MotherStruck!” opening night at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre on December 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

We talked about parenting. As a mother of two fully grown and truly remarkable children I found StaceyAnn’s enthusiasm and fluidity concerning her daughter so beautiful. The changes we as mothers experience in ourselves through the work of parenting our children cause us to evolve – whether we are ready or not! When StaceyAnn talks about Zuri I hear the wonder and the love in her voice, “She has been such a blessing – it is so interesting and amazing how much they learn without intention. Zuri is growing and learning everyday and I am not always prepared for how it changes me.” We talk about loving and supporting our kids and how vital it is to be there for them as they figure out what is right for themselves and how wonderful it would be if we have a place in their journeys.

My conversation with StaceyAnn took many turns. I found myself smiling and embracing the intention behind the powerful words she was sharing. One of the things I wrote down during our conversation stuck with me and resonated deeply. She said, “The norm IS abnormal. We are the norm – those of us who live in messy places – we are the norm.” More often than not I do my interviews with simple Q&A’s – transcribing the answers I am given and turning them into a story. This was different. This was no word document with fill in the blanks. This was alive and breathing and wonderfully real – much like StaceyAnn herself. Please take some time out of your beautiful Chicago summer and RUN to see MOTHERSTRUCK – a work written and performed by StaceyAnn Chin.

Find Tickets Here

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About K. Guzman

Kathy grew up all over the US – lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.

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