I don’t think I have ever been as nervous to write, as I am in this moment. The woman you are about to see dance in the spotlight, is the reason I am still able to dance. I met her in my junior year of high school, at a time when I was the embodiment of silence, self-hatred and my father’s suicide. Like now, I found great refuge in the written word, and all that I felt and desired to feel, was contained in the ink that I spread across pages. One day I gave her some of those pages. She took them, and loved them, and made them into what I never could.
Maxine is a qualified drama therapist, a founding member of the Healing Through Arts trust, and a woman who bequeaths onto all, the knowingness that they are enough. The charitable trust, of which is her livelihood, was founded in 1994, and uses the intricacies of theatre to nurture the humanity within us all. One demographic that is in perpetual need of this service, is the youth, and Maxine steps up time and time again, to answer their screams.
“Why do you work with youth?”
Because I love them, because they’re full of hope, because they’re smashed, because they’re tortured, because they don’t need to be, because if they could just realise that they are enough, and that everybody suffers, and that it’s normal, then they can find the strength to get over the challenges they’ve been given.
“What are the biggest challenge facing youth today?”
That they don’t see that they are enough. It doesn’t matter if they’re going to be a rocket scientist, a social media whizz, or someone that just sweeps floors somewhere… whatever they do, they will make an impact on another person’s life, and all persons being equal, that is enough.
At the risk of sounding overly hyperbolic, I’m going to propose that never in our history have such words resonated as they now do. We are constantly inundated with images of how we should ideally exist, and because those images are so far from what we really are, we are forever tormented by the feeling of inadequacy. Enough is enough, because as she has articulated, we are all enough.
At this point in the interview, we both boarded the train of profundity, and spoke with the most honest of tongues.
“What is one experience that without, you would not be the woman you now are?”
Do you want to know the truth? I had an abortion when I was 17 because I got raped. At the time it meant nothing to me because my brain was as developed as the average brick. I remember lying there in hospital though, and suddenly this energy force went through me, and this little voice said to me; “You can’t kill me, I am energy. It’s alright.” What I learnt from my first child is the very thing that has kept me focused while I’m on this planet; We are so much more than our body.
Religion aside, I believe this to be a universal truth. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only move from one form to another. In that sense, we are eternal, even if we do not understand the nature of that eternity. Maybe it’s reincarnation, maybe it’s heaven or maybe it’s existing in the very air that surrounds us… whatever it is, it’s something, and in knowing that, our lives on this earth and in these bodies, transcend all meaning.
I would not dare publicise Maxine’s age, purely because I cannot determine the repercussions of such an act. However, what I can say is that this woman holds in her hands a diary of a thousand lives, and years after meeting her, I am still reading it. Perhaps one day it will be published for all to see, but until then? It’s time for the most important question.
“What’s your favourite television show and why?”
Game of Thrones, of course. It’s fantastical and fabulous and passionate and loving and there’s magic and dragons… It allows me to feel fully human because I can lose myself in fantasy and remember who I am.