Debbie talks to playwright Sarah Jones about identity, community, social justice, and her relationship with her characters.
“To live in a culture where self-alienation can be the norm, without our even realizing it — a culture that says, ‘You’re not doing enough! You’re not perfect enough! What’s wrong with you? Keep up with so-and-so, go on Instagram and compare-and-despair with everyone you see.’ — it’s so hard to come home to ourselves and have a sense of self-compassion… By cultivating compassion for other people — by standing in the shoes of another person and imagining for a moment what their experience is, that they’re doing the best they can with what they have in every moment, even the people we cast as monsters… — there’s a kind of alchemy that happens where I develop self-compassion through that compassion.
And it sort of works in the other direction — if I have self-compassion, if I’m less critical and exacting about every detail of my life in ways that actually feel punishing … I can accept the ways the others are eking out an existence. And then I can take it a step further, to actually loving them, respecting them, seeing the bright spots in everyone.”