Saturday, August 15, 2009

And I am owning it!!!! I don't know who hijacked this phrase but I am taking it back for myself. Being an opera singer, I guess I'm a little touchy about the subject. It just bugs the hell out of me that a phrase that was once used to describe a woman who had achieved great artistry in her field is now used as a derogatory phrase. It now means someone - a woman specifically (which REALLY galls me) - who is temperamental and difficult to work with (read bitch). I could write a whole other post regarding the misconceptions about opera but here I'll just say that in the opera world I have met very few women who would fit the above description. I know talented, hard working, funny, incredibly bright, dedicated artists who are most often very humble despite their many attributes.

The word "diva" is actually the feminine form of divus, god, therefore, meaning goddess. Elizabeth Gilbert explains in her Ted Talk how in ancient Africa during the moonlight dances when one of the dancers became transcendent, "lit with the fire of god" the people would begin to chant "Allah" acknowledging that god has passed through that person. Although I don't know the exact history of the word the same thing applies to "diva" - when an opera singer sings with divine presence, people call "brava, diva!" That sound, that beauty, that moment - that's god. I know very few women who have heard that phrase called to them and in turn mistook themselves for god. I do, however, know many women who have dedicated their lives to trying to be the vessel through which that divinity may be channeled.
So, just as I say "namaste" to others and to myself, I bow to and acknowledge the diva within me and the diva within you. I invite you to honor all that is glorious and divine within yourself. I call to you with my embarrassingly loud and hearty cry, "Brava, diva, brava!!"


Hybrid J said...

Bravo to Kim the Diva and I'm sure you deserve every bit of it.

And I agreed with you since the pharse had become kind of like a slang, I cringed every time when I hear some one use it to describe bitchy behavoir. What a way to destroy a beautifu word!

But I'm glad you brought it back to your life with its beautiful energy. ;)

Kavindra said...

Diva Kim!

I didn't know the word referred to the divine ...

and I so agree that when we create anything, we are vessels for the divine. Or do anything shiny and brilliant.

Brava to a wonderful post!

Pink Heels said...

Brava Diva Kim! I had NO IDEA that diva had such a fascinating history. Thank you for sharing your knowledge as it has completely changed my perspective on the term! I promise to do my part in re-educating people about the correct usage of diva!

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