I just cried watching this.
Witnessing, through my 28 year old eyes, my 11 year old get bullied into depression, my 12 year old self do anything to numb the pain, my 13 year old self nearly get beat to death by a gang… and then coming even closer to death through his own knife.
This is my story.
WARNING: This performance is: Raw. Naked (literally). Violent. But it’s NOT rated R… not even PG-13… because I was barely 13, and this was *reality* (without much “PG” at all).
Writing and performing this piece has been some of the greatest healing I’ve ever done in my life to date.
I love my life. All of it. And I’m grateful for all the steps that have guided me here, including all the pain that ultimately lead me to my purpose, all the darkness that enlightened me to my dharma.
Isabella Konold *thank you* with a deep bow of reverence and gratitude for helping me excavate and tell my story, for empowering me to dig deeper when I wanted to pull back, and for inspiring me through your own riveting story and potent performance to make this leap in expression of truth.
In diving into my darkness, I’ve discovered a new power and potency in my current path, with a whole new level of emotional freedom, from the pain of my past.
Artistically, this has felt like my best work to date – and yet, it’s only the beginning. Another step on a 1000 mile journey.
I feel so grateful to everyone who helped make this happen.
Krista Richards for the beautiful musical collaboration, architected just minutes before the show, which made a world of difference in my expression and its impact (that’s Krista playing piano on the right side).
Bella Verita for witnessing and giving feedback on my rehearsals the night before (I finished writing this piece less than 24 hours before show) and your last minute availability made a world of difference.
Angela Povse for, on top of supporting me in so many other ways, watching me rehearse over until the last hour Thursday afternoon. Courtney Acamo for your grounding love and support in the hour beforehand and for preparing.
Sunny Durante for capturing all of this on video so professionally, for the lights and the fast turnaround and your care.
Joshua Armstrong for the beautiful photos captured before, during and after.
Kevin Kurgansky for listening and feedback through the development of this piece in the days leading up to it.
Paul Rossano for emcee’ing the evening.
Dane Maxwell for being one of my closest inspirations in the past year to follow my heart through my art.
To all the volunteers that showed up to setup for the evening for Isabella‘s show, and through that for this opening piece as well. It meant so much to have the space to prepare and not worry about many hosting space details.
To all those who knew me in middle school that commented with some memories on my status last week, to help me discover more memories.
Jess Johnson, for working closely with Isabella on our VIP day together – in many ways, that day was the spark of this unfolding expression. You two asked at the end of the day: “What’s your relationship with anger and shame?” – after which I began to shine more light into my shadow, and gained greater courage to go there even without the light.
And THANK YOU to everyone who attended. Being witnessed in this by my friends, as a loving audience, changed my life.
I’m emotional as I write this, so I’m sorry if I missed anyone. I feel grateful to everyone who supports my artistic expression.
…and of course, since you’re going to eventually see this recording on Facebook anyway.
Scott Seigal and Igor Burdetskiy (“Scott and Iggy” from end of the piece) thank you for being true friends back then.
And mom, Irina Kozlova, I love you <3 I love you so much. You were the best mother I could have possibly asked for. Part of me is scared for you to see this; you did your best to love me and care for me then. Most of all “you brought us out of poverty” – and so much more. I love you and you inspire me. I couldn’t possibly imagine the pain you’ve been through, persevered through, for me and Yuriy, in Russia, through immigration and beyond.
There’s nothing that I wish had happened differently. I’m grateful for every step that has led to today. I’m in awe of today. And I deeply trust in the unfolding future.
…Oh and this might be a good time to debut my new “stage name” > ForWord.