Partnership & the Arts
by Tatiana Baccari, January 22nd, 2021
What a momentous week it has been! I feel full of hope after watching this week’s inauguration events and at the same time am painfully aware of the immense work that still lies ahead. In the spirit of hope, of lifting the veil, of celebrating the wins, demanding accountability, and committing to better ourselves while showing up for the ones we love, I have decided this week to talk a bit about two partnerships in my life that have undoubtedly shaped who I am and continue to bring great love and meaning to my life.
First, you should know that I am a Scorpio. My sense of loyalty runs deep. I consider myself an extraverted introvert. I am intensely private. Trust doesn’t come easily to me but once that bond has been made, I am there, through thick and thin, for the long haul.
I consider myself to have two life partners. The first is my soon-to-be-husband and high school sweetheart, Michael. I am twenty-nine years old and I’ve known him since we were fourteen. I remember him at fourteen. He was boyish with long, auburn curls and a bright, contagious smile. Now, his curls are cut short, his stature is that of a man, but he still has that bright, contagious smile I fell in love with years ago. At this point, there are more years in which we’ve known each other than years in which we haven’t. It’s really kind of a head trip. We’re pursuing very different life paths — he’s finishing his last semester of law school and is headed to a clerkship in the fall to work for a Federal judge. I spend my days writing and directing plays, applying to grants and fellowships, working with artists and building a new business. And yet, we manage to find similarities in our values, in the picture of the lives we want to cultivate and build together, and also in the questions we each face. This past year working from home has tested my boundaries. Spending more time inside in front of a screen has made it harder to take breaks, to create the physical and emotional distance I need to digest and assess situations, and to take care of myself. I’ve watched him face similar hurdles. There have been days when I needed more support from him and days when he needed it from me. At times it has felt like we were on a life-raft together trying desperately to stay afloat. But there has also been great joy and love this year. I am not taking any of it for granted. We are lucky to be alive. We are lucky to have found each other and to continue to care, cultivate and grow together.
My second life partner is my business partner, creative muse, and constant source of inspiration. I met Wednesday in 2015 when our mutual friend brought us together to form a collective, now a company in which I serve as Artistic Director, called Experimental Bitch Presents. I remember this first meeting. She looked like a fair-faced sprite with long, straight dark hair. She was dressed up, clearly having somewhere to be after our meeting, which made sense. It’s only natural for people to be drawn to such radiance. Each of us brought something to this meeting that we found inspiring. Our friend brought a Nancy Fraser interview, I brought writing by Hannah Arendt, she brought a psychology text. Others brought poems, songs, and original art. I still find it fascinating that the three of us were drawn to feminist science and theory, but I digress. I didn’t know that night that she would become one of my closest friends, my confidant and partner. To be honest, I didn’t deem myself worthy. But, similarly to my other life-partner, as we began to grow in our art and ambition we realized there was a magic between us: that we spoke the same language and saw the industry through a compatible perspective. There certainly have been bumps in the road. Even after working my butt off these past five years to build our company, I still find myself feeling like a beginner in moments. But through it all, I am so grateful to have found her, to be sharing it with her. I hope someday we can expand the company with a staff to share in the work that we do together. We’re in an exciting place right now where we are building our infrastructure, imagining where we want to go and what success and fulfillment looks like for each of us as individuals and for the company. It’s also a bit scary. Like taking a leap of faith.
Partnership is complicated. It requires a dedication and honesty that can feel at its worst like holding a mirror to the things you most want to hide about yourself or the things you didn’t even know you had to face. At its best it is like a becoming. A homecoming. Both. At the same time.