Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Year of Embodiment

from In Her Own Skin
My birthday is one week away.  On February 1st I will have existed on this earth for 46 years.  It isn't what we'd call a milestone birthday.  It doesn't round out a decade and I've already passed the statistical midpoint of life expectancy.  It is however, a personal milestone in that it marks the year I finally came home to my body.  To celebrate this I am kicking off a new project on my birthday....

As a woman raised in a feminist home in our American culture, I grew up surrounded by contradiction when it came to my own body. I was told my body was mine alone, and yet I existed within a culture that told me my body only existed to serve others. My copy of the book Our Bodies Ourselves told me that I should love my body’s form no matter what its size or shape, but I was also hit daily with messages that if my body did not conform to a certain standard that neither I, nor it, was worthy of love. I was taught that sex was something to be celebrated and shared between two mutually consenting partners, yet time and again, my experience was that my consent didn’t matter.

I came to live with the contradiction of being in my body, but wanting to detach from it. I felt betrayed by my femaleness. This led to a sense of self-objectification. I began to see my body as an object to be manipulated to fit the standards imposed upon it, or one to be ignored when it did not comply. My body was something apart from me and as such, it did not have a voice in my life.

It has been dance and movement, particularly the practices of Authentic Movement and Contemplative Dance, that have changed how I relate to my body. I began to see my body not as an a burden that I have had the ill luck to be saddled with as a woman, but as my home. And slowly, incrementally over a period of years, I began to recognize that my body is not just a vehicle for the non-corporeal ‘stuff’ that is me, it is me; all of me - blood, bone, heart, spirit - and it has a voice.

This decade of work has inspired me to create a Year of Embodiment. As a woman about to enter midlife, this message of embodiment has become something I want to share with others; people of all genders and ages who feel alienated from their physical selves, so they may begin to move forward in life as whole beings. As survivor of sexual abuse and assault, I want to create avenues for other survivors to come home to their bodies.

This year of embodiment begins on February 1st, my birthday. It will cover several projects including:
  • On going embodiment workshops many of which I will make available to all regardless of economic circumstances.
  • Regular blog posts on the subject of embodiment.
  • The creation of a performance art piece, In My Own Skin, inspired my own journey from separation to embodiment and the visual art work In Her Own Skin.
  • An embodiment show to take place in February 2019 for artists from a variety of disciplines to share works that speak to the concept of embodiment and to share their body's story.
  • And other possibilities such as monthly podcasts, video blogs, classes, art and more.
You can support this Year of Embodiment by visiting my Patreon page and making a contribution.  Any contribution will help, and all contributors of $3 or more are entered into a drawing for a signed print of my In Her Own Skin visual art series as well as other embodiment inspired rewards.  As before, for any annual contribution of $100 or more I will pass $5 along to another Patreon artist because I love supporting artists too!

Thank you for your ongoing support of this work.