Magalene Ballard (aka Magic) was the recipient of our Momentom BOC Scholarship at Circus Island 2021. She shares in her words her experience at our Artist Residency as well how she views being a person of color in minority communities.
Photograph by Therese Lowton
Has it been weeks? Months? Years?! Who am I and what’s even real? I’ve been back in North Carolina for what feels like forever and also no time at all… But often wake up wondering, was it all a dream?
That’s what being at Circus Island on Ometepe felt like; a dream filled with the most colorful and crazy characters, impromptu dance parties and cypher seshs, conscious classes and conversations, with delicious vegan food and lots of abundance from the land! Seems too good to be true, and for a long time felt that experiences like this were out of reach for me. For years I’ve tried to plan my escape from a life turned mundane through work and everyday routine, but felt held back in my home life with being financially relied on. At the end of 2020 I finally did what was best for me by moving out, and the signs came rolling in once the Universe received my ‘fuck yes’ to putting myself and my path first. Soon after a series of synchronicities, with the help and support of friends, family, and Momentom Collective, I was blessed to live and learn for two months in the blissful creation at Circus Island in Nicaragua.
It’s no surprise that from a young age we’ve all been subconsciously influenced and programmed by society, but growing up a black girl in an all white town just ‘hit different’. Self love and confidence immediately became an issue, always feeling like I wasn’t good enough and most of the time resenting the color of my skin. My melanin made me “too black” to feel completely accepted where I lived. And because of my environment influencing the way I talked or the music I listened to, I was “too white” to be accepted by my own people. I’m so grateful that as years passed and I started to find myself and my truth, I realized all of that was bullshit anyway. That being said, I didn’t let questioning looks and unsolicited opinions affect my decision to go to Circus Island. Stereotypes will say that circus arts is a “white people thing”, but in reality it’s one of the most vibrant and beautiful scenes that I’ve been lucky enough to dive into.
Photoshoot with Therese Lowton for National Women’s Day
I don’t see people in color. I see people’s energy. Since arriving on day one, I realized that regardless of skin tone, this was one of the most diverse groups that I had been a part of to date. I’m no stranger to the festival scene, full of glitter, crazy outfits, and funky dance moves; although we had those same vibes, this was different! Everyone brought a lil’ something of their own flair, but at the end of the day we all had the same vision in mind. We came together to dive deeper into our art, and deeper into our hearts! This collective is about showing up for yourself and for your community, going within to transmute energy in order to heal and grow, which in turn helps the collective consciousness of this world vibrate even higher. Everyday I was reminded that we are one and that love is the only rule that should exist. Everyday was another opportunity to connect with my inner child and passionately play with my friends who very soon turned into family. Everyday truly was the best day ever, but that didn’t mean it was always rainbows and butterflies. Healing is beautiful but the journey isn’t always, and a lot of cultures make it difficult to walk that path and feel safe and supported doing so. The container that Momentom Collective created for us to face deeply hidden parts of ourselves and bring them to light, is one that I will forever be thankful for. From clowning and movement classes, to sexual alchemy and Thai massage, these classes covered everything like pulling you out of your shell, to setting clear boundaries and transparent communication; things we should be learning in “real life” that most feel uncomfortable even bringing up. Regardless of our background, or different languages spoken, being there helped us all remember how to hold space for each other as we rode the wave of emotions and back into our flow.
I believe that love and energy can outshine any deeply rooted stigma on race, and personally I can say that even with being one of the few people of color in residency, I never felt any wall or guard put up towards me being there. In fact on my lowest days I was embraced with open arms, feeling heard and validated as I realized I was shedding old versions of myself. I was facing my shadows and uncovering different perspectives and beliefs of who I am and how I show up in this world. Outdated thought patterns had me questioning how can I be a light but yet still be afraid to be seen? I felt empowered and supported by my Momentom fam, and often challenged to take a step further and do the damn thaang regardless of that hidden fear. Being at residency encouraged me to remove the veil of self doubt and truly start stepping into my power! As time went by my mindset changed as well as having higher confidence in myself. It wasn’t long before I started introducing myself as Magic, a name that immediately resonated and reminded me of the sparkling energy I bring into everyday life! I learned to step out of my own way and continue to shine bright, even if it scares me. Magic reminds me of who the fuck I am!! And I don’t think I would have remembered as quickly if it wasn’t for my experiences while being at Circus Island.
Magic celebrating her birthday in the Kush Cabana at Circus Island. Photo by Juliette Carman
Talent, passion, and self expression is not measured or boxed in by the color of your skin. For those who are ready to drop those outdated beliefs and find your own truth, I urge you to take the leap of faith out of the matrix! Curiosity is often the breadcrumbs that lead to purpose, and you never know what you will find on the other side of your comfort zone. Momentom Collective and the POC Scholarship helped me to experience a world that I wasn’t too confident I could be part of. But I’m here to inspire everyone that regardless of what “they” say, continue to follow your bliss and believe in your magic! Forget the old narratives and create your own story that resonates best for you. Choose to be a part of a world where the only color that matters is those of the sunset closing out another best day ever, surrounded by genuine souls and warm cuddle puzzles 🙂
HUGE shout out to everyone I crossed paths with during my experience with MC and made it extra El Dope-o! (Spanish for dope lol)
My heart has been forever changed by your acceptance and unconditional love ♡
Until next time!
Photograph by Therese Lowton