Monday, February 18, 2013

this place beyond shame is where we belong

I just want to be in my body.

Is that ok?

I was working and the sunlight was so delicate and fleeting coming through the venetians it made me feel so touched by Something.  I felt innocent and clean, good, good, and in the lovely, fun down-time we, my sex worker sister and I, decided to take some pictures of each other as embodied nakedly with the nearest prop: a red, red apple. Why not?

Immediate thoughts: your sister is not your actual, biological sister, but with work like this you have to say something more than "friend," more than "safety," more than "co-worker." Your sister is male and this might piss off your boyfriend because male and female bodies are not supposed to feel such intense, insanely gratifying fun, innocent, and silly love toward each other unless they are about to fuck, but you don't fuck this boy. You laugh at your boy-sister as he hovers over you awkwardly taking the picture and you think about how your boyfriend might see this from above if he were watching the room on television and you feel so ashamed.  This isn't what your boyfriend wants, but he doesn't know how to want what he wants because none of us have been trained in anything but shame, we are, "fluent in the language of shame," holy shit, how can anyone breathe?

I wanted to write something to accompany this picture that would make the picture excusable. To just show your body is not ok. To delight in the visual document of its changing through time should be ok, but you have to give disclaimers.  You're supposed to be self-effacing and say you are getting old, oh how the years have changed my face, how you miss what you used to be.  Saying those things makes it ok to the person who happens upon your nakedness and wants so badly to be naked too, but would never dare. You should never say what you want to say and that is:

I am getting lovelier and lovelier.  I love being me, for better and definitely for worse.  Body, I have loved you so much.

So here it is for you, a gift: a body with accompanying text discussing embodiment and how necessary it is to get back into one's body in any way we can after trauma, how this can save our lives.

1 comment:

Timun said...

After a while without your written words showcased here, in February we're gifted with these two essays and this incredible photo. The text here of this second post explores themes that I have come to see as archetypal, foundational, in your writing. This comment space cannot contain my many thoughts on it, so I will just exclaim Yes, and Yes again. Without shame, without furtiveness, aggression dies and love flourishes.

The photo bespeaks a harmony of Apollonian and Dionysian, with the bright and well-considered arrangement complemented by the glorious outlines of nature, of curves like a landscape and fingers that work metal and stone, make music, and tend solicitously to life in all its forms. Thank you for imagining this composition, realizing it so artfully, and sharing it here.