June 29th, 2012
One of the things on my mind in the immediate is a lesson I’ve been learning for a long while now, or rather, unlearning the wrong lesson. My body is my own, to do with only that which I want to do. I’m nearly thirty-two years old, you would have thought I’d known this for quite a long time now. And I have gotten better about it. But I’ve also let myself be pressured. I think I’ve posted about this before, but in college, I sometimes viewed my body as a tool, a thing that didn’t really matter. It wasn’t who I was, it was just this outer shell, to use as necessary. I never got into anything terrible or dangerous with this attitude, I just often didn’t care enough to tell someone no, you can’t touch me.
The article I read the other day, went even further than that. It talked about not forcing a child to hug or kiss someone. Letting it be their own choice. The mother in this article had several reasons. One being that she wanted to teach her daughter that her body was her own, to do with only what she wanted. She didn’t want her to grow up feeling like her body was for pleasing others, especially those in authority. The other being because sometimes kids sense things about adults, sense things that make them uncomfortable, and she did not want to force her to hug someone that scared her. How many people do we give physical affection to, just because it’s expected of us? Are we confident enough to say no to someone with their arms out for a hug?
I know that I often struggle with this. I feel guilty if I don’t return a hug to someone offering it. There are certain people I don’t want to hug, so I do everything in my power to keep them from offering one. Either by my body language, keeping a distance, or outright ignoring them. Why don’t I just say no? It’s my body, why should I be more afraid of offending them, than my own feelings of comfort? Because that’s what I was trained to do, programmed from a young age to greet people with a hug.
So, how do I undo that training? First, by being conscious of it. That article made me painfully conscious of it. Second, by looking at myself. When do I behave this way? Why? With whom? Third, taking action. I spoke to hubby a bit about this, about not wanting to feel pressured. He has agreed to help. And I will be more active, and less passive in my offering or denying of physical affection. More conscious. Asking myself to be sure I want to be doing this, and enabling myself to say no, if I don’t.
It is an odd thing to think about. I don’t really have personal space anymore. I don’t mind people being close to me. I don’t understand when people passing a foot away say excuse me. I do excuse myself for doing similar at work, but that’s because I understand other people have personal space. So I don’t mind closeness, but it’s the affection that has me hooked.
My body is my own and I shouldn’t use it to make other people happy, if it doesn’t also please me.
January 5th, 2012
Just let go. Let it all go. Just be who you want to be, be who you are, deep down inside. Let the beast out. Let the animal play. Don’t think, don’t rationalize or make excuses. Just do it.
She had arrived, there was no going back. The forest loomed black before her, she stepped out of her shoes, slipped off her socks and let her feet sink into the soft grass. Her coat fell from her shoulders as she let her head fall back. The stars above looked down at her, unblinking. She tossed her shirt aside and stepped out of her shorts.
And then she was running. Into the forest, into the night. She could hear the others, ahead, behind, to either side. All of them running with abandon. It was a night for the wildness. It was a night to be with the Earth and the Nature and the Beast.
Ahead there was fire. In the center, far from the world, crackling in the night. They made for it. Drawn to the light, the warmth, each other. Breaking through the trees, they found it.
Clasping hands, wrapping arms around each other. Greeting with hugs and kisses and strokes and bites. They crushed their flesh together, breathed and touched and tasted each other. All around the circle of fire, greeting everyone, touching everyone. Groups formed and broke apart in waves. No one spoke, this was not a night for words, only actions.
The fire-maker picked up his drum and began to play. The greetings began to change. Their bodies moving to the beat. Groups spread into a circle, hands or arms linked. And they began to dance. It was not uniform, there was no ritual, but the beat moved them all together. They turned about the flames, feet kicking, arms swinging, voices raising in wordless song.
The fire-maker, now drummer, picked up the beat, pounded away to the rhythm of their hearts. Spiraling higher and higher, the dancers filling in with the music of their bodies. Clapping, stamping, slapping and singing to the pull of the drum. Faster and faster, until they all crashed together again with a shout of pure ecstasy that filled the entire forest.
The drummer picked out a different beat, slower and heavier. They stepped apart, finding the rhythm alone or in pairs. Moving with purpose and showing the story of their hearts. Pulling out pain and worry, dancing it into the ground and the fire. Throwing stress into the air, to be carried off by the night wind. Tears fell, screams tore the air, the drummer beat on.
Their steps grew lighter. Their movements less strained. The drummer lifted his tone. The beats came softer, faster. They drew together again, joining hands and raising voices. The circle fully joined, they began to move together, hands raised, around the fire. Tears still fell, but the voices were filled with joy. The drum beat waned and the circle came to a gentle stop.
Breaking apart. Touching again. Hugging each other close. Pressing hearts together to share their joy. Kissing deeply to share their passion. Stroking skin to share their energy. The drummer picks up again, pulling on their energy to find a beat. Following instead of leading.
There is no dancing now. They find each other. Pulling to each other. Touching, feeling, sharing. Kissing, hugging, stroking. Letting go and being with each other. They find the ground, dirt and grass, and they are part of it. Bodies lying on the earth, bodies lying with each other. The drum their communal heartbeat.
Hours later, they lie still. All together, all touching. The drum is silent, the drummer has joined them. They stare up at the sky, the trees, the fire. They are part of it all. Part of the earth and the forest and the universe. Part of each other. Here and now, nothing else matters.