This is a Hampshire College Division III (undergraduate thesis), but it is also a healing process I do not intend to end. I have a visible and physical disability. I am a dancer. I am a lover. I continue to be disabled when I am dancing and when I am making love. Under my skin there is a lot of trauma surrounding the visual and physical reception of my body by others. But rather than desensitize others to my difference, to desensitize you to the difference of any marginalized monstrous body, I would rather resensitize you. Remind you of the many uncanny creatures that erupt from within you too. Your body, our body, how monstrous, how sticky, how awkward, how horrifying, how weird. How wonderful. Bodies are haunted. And you are so so brave. Your others are waiting for you.
So what do you do when two dudes corner you in a bar in your hometown and tell you you’re from a nigger country and nobody does anything about it? honestly do not tell me not to go to that bar because i am going back. IT’S SO FUN. every time I think about it or talk to my friends about it I end up just getting pissed off and word vomiting more and shitting out of my eyes.
thanks for the responses, ya’ll. yes I am from that part of jersey. I went back last night with a crew and they weren’t there, so I didn’t get the satisfaction of frightening them but I had a blast and danced to a live cover of, “In Your Eyes.” In my mind John Cusack was just bludgeoning those dudes with heft and grace and a boombox.
Also another thing that made it better? My crew last night was mostly ladies. Even though it was a really sweet dude friend of mine who rescued me the other night, it was harder to explain the fear I felt to my other white dude friends. It was like, “Wait, so why are you letting ignorant people get you down? Do you want us to go after them?”
The aha moment came when one of my best (white dude) friends said, “It’s really fucked up that I can go to that bar by myself and read a fucking book if I want to and you can’t do that because you’re a woman of color with a disability. I’m so sorry. I’ve got your back.”
"Like porn, dance stages bodies for other’s pleasure. Like porn, dancing has been maligned for the moral dangers it purportedly poses to the individual and society. Porn and dance similarly deal with: issues of propriety and obscenity, public censure, voyeurism, the multiple layers of meaning and fantasy, and the power relations of who gets to call the shots."
A Photo-essay: Decolonizing My Body, My Being
He understood the purpose of the entire exercise. He realized that he wasn’t just photographing a naked black queer femme man with a visible disability, but essentially, peering into my consciousness and extrapolating a truth I already knew: that my body, that all of our bodies, are worthy of aesthetic adulation, that communities, institutions and power are at fault for constructing beauty, desirability and body positivity in reductive, myopic ways.
"Walking in and around the comfortably dark space you created allowed me to be present in a way that I’m usually not: aware and receptive, curious and only bearably apprehensive, your monsters making the suggestion that mine might be less frightening…So it was something I felt as happening to me, in me, but also not, it being your fear and your courage and your anger tempered by love and humor, asserting a willingness to be in the body, yours, and suggesting to us that we might also be brave enough…It was spiritual and opening of that space between self and other trying to be respectful, gentle, aware and real about it…the way we knock against each other or make such faint overtures that they are not even registered…it was a very good and personally important piece, it felt whole and complete as a work but ongoing as an experience…"
some of my mom’s thoughts on the show!
Congratulations. I was certainly devoured and spat back out.