We hold so much Fear. Stress. Tension. in our bodies. I so often hear from students of dance "I'm not comfortable in my body." or something about a specific part of their body. My stomach pooches. My thighs are too big. I'm too tall. (We also hold so much love, joy, and happiness if we allow them to exist).
Andrea Olsen in Body Stories (in collaboration with Caryn McHose, 1998) wrote:
"A good friend, whose parents have both passed away, was speaking of the grieving process. She said that she felt a sense of dissolution of home, even though she was married, owned a house, and had a community of friends. Do you think of your body as your home? I asked."
I feel as if Professor Olsen was speaking directly to me.
Our bodies are our homes. This is where we live. Feel. Share. Engage. Process. Digest. Change. Grow. Die.
In the physical home structure - the apartment, loft, dorm, house, ranch.... We spend a lot of time and energy making our lived space comfortable and beautiful. (If you doubt me, I send you to http://www.hgtv.com/). Our homes are reflective of who we are as an individual, of our dreams, beliefs, aesthetic, and cultures. We choose when to invite people into our homes and invest in keeping our homes safe. We lock our doors and windows. We install alarm systems and gather neighborhood watches. We protect our homes and we make clear decisions about our physical-home-space to make us feel comfortable, happy, and safe.
Our bodies are our true homes. Why do we allow other elements to enter into our home-body-space and violate them? We're fed images and ideas from people who might be experts, but really, what expertise do they have about your (my) body? (and they might also be just as insecure as they're making us feel. What's their research?) They don't live in your/my home-body-space. They don't know your/my story. (Did they even ask?) They're like designers telling you what color to paint your bedroom. Or your lips. They're telling you what curtains to put up. (or what jeans to wear). Except, when we invite designers into our homes, we can also tell them to leave if we don't like what they're saying or they're disrespecting our space. Why don't we tell people who are disrespecting our bodies to leave? What authority do they have?
Insert a variety of arguments here. My teacher. My parents. My friends. People I love and trust. And sure, that makes things more difficult. Especially when these negative thoughts are ingrained in us from a young age. X is beautiful and Y is ugly. Beautiful is good and ugly is bad.
Quick juxtaposition. I had the opportunity to listen to a very successful entertainment and marking director. He told a very poignant story about representing porn stars. (I don't know what his relationship to the stars was, but that doesn't matter). Another marketing person in the room asked "Why do you call yourself stars?" And the porn star replied, "Honey, we're stars because we say we're stars!" From that, the marketing director instructed his listeners, say what you are. Do it. Be it. Don't let someone else tell you who you are or second guess yourself. Say what you are and then do what you need to to live up to that. He was talking about marketing, but I want everyone who has every told me they're uncomfortable in their bodies to hear this and take action.
My body is my home. My home is sacred. I decide if you're welcome to share my space. If you're lucky enough, I'm clearly inviting you to share yourself and I have a level of respect and trust for you... but if you disrespect my home, get out. No seriously... GET OUT!
The constitution grants that the home is sacred. There have been many recent Supreme Court cases that question at what point the safety of an individual can be investigated or when law enforcement can enter an individual's "private space". And the home space has up until this point, won as sacred.
My body. My home.
I leave you with this song:
(I don't know what advertisement will pop up before the video. I can't control youtube... but please accept, forgive, and laugh at the irony if it's for some anti-winkle lotion or weight loss plan....)