Feel free to comment on week 3 here.
Ancestral Body Love
There is no no NO one size fits all eros. Last night I invoked my Nana and then felt tongue-tied in a golden opportunity to remember how my ancestors lived fully in their bodies. So many examples.
Nana is still in her body at 93 solar returns. She survived concentration camps, multiple forced voyages across the Atlantic, gave birth to 3 healthy babies, and though she is living with oxygen tubes 24/7 right now, her face still gleams when she is able to step into her garden and shower her plants with water, nourishment, and unparalleled affection.
Gabba, my other grandmother embodies patience and pace, respecting a need to slow down and sink into delicious rest. She has used prayer to heal physical ailments. Feeling mindbody as one comes from her grandmother, who led the family away from Catholicism towards a faith that is imperfect, to be sure, but offers one entry point into the intimate connection of thought and feeling.
My mama moves! We dance together and bake. She can still outride me on her bike at age 61. She gardens, fingernails blackened with earth, drinks whiskey late at night (sometimes), and I know she and my dad rode 32 waves of marriage years and still going strong because of some juicy physical chemistry. My mama is the first person I told when I had PIV sex. She took me to get my ears pierced when I got my first period and gave me the teeny tiniest garnet earrings to go with.
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Audre Lorde’s essay is an inspirational – breathing life into life – calling for profound satisfaction to serve as a threshold for intentionally excellent living. And sharing that quality of excellence, of joy, of feeling uproots and composts european-american patriarchal status quos that cement porn and rape culture, both abuses of eros. Just as dandelions bust through concrete sidewalks, just as concrete is another source of suffocation, her words invite delight and shared liberation in soulful, sensational consciousness.
I am so eager to listen to your conversation from last night. This essay feels a beacon to me. With an urge to contribute one last nugget here from the layers of insight Lorde shares, this passage keeps surfacing:
“But when we begin to live from within outward, in touch with the power of the erotic within ourselves, and allowing that power to inform and illuminate our actions upon the world around us, then we begin to be responsible to ourselves in the deepest sense. For as we begin to recognize our deepest feelings, we begin to give up, of necessity, being satisfied with suffering and self-negation, and with the numbness that so often seems like the only alternative in our society. Our acts against oppression become integral with self, motivated and empowered from within.”
thank you everyone for being so honest and open this past week, it felt great to speak about such intimate topics with you and to hear (and read-Cat!) your personal reflections. the discussion we had definitely helped me understand Audre Lorde’s essay on greater levels.
Anjali, are there any links or methods of staying in touch with Jeffery and his work? it would be great to stay connected and thank you!
reflecting on Jeffrey’s opening question “…where is home?” i found my response for a group art show titled ‘Remember Our Place’ organized by a collective called URBAN x INDIGENOUS (a multi-disciplinary, inter-generational convening of artists, activists, incubators, scholars, and community members whose mission is to honor their ancestors in a society which is driven by the act of leaving them behind…so relatable to the work we’ve been doing!):
“home is a feeling that travels, it’s not limited to one place. i have several emotional attachments to places that i associate with home, from my parent’s, aunt’s, and uncle’s houses in salinas to islands on the other side of the ocean. it depends on where the people that matter most to me are. home can be where ever i am.”
also, i wanted to share some of the “work” in my life that i believe fulfills my erotic power – or as i reinterpreted the concept – my passions, purpose, motivations in life: dancing at the studio (come join us sometime! http://www.myhipline.com/) and creating (http://www.nicolegervacio.com/).
Jeffrey’s email address is Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find some of his writing at jeffacido.blogspot.com. Y’all may appreciate this first of a three-part essay: http://jeffacido.blogspot.com/2010/08/letter-to-my-kadkadua-part-1.html.
Thank you for sharing this.
i connect with this writing SOOO so much, thank you again for sharing this Anjali!
Listening to the recording from this week was like medicine, or water for parched mouth.
At this moment in particular, the conversation about “irrationality” is needed. The possibility of crying and laughing simultaneously – 2 energies sharing one space – arousing of hope and truth. Healing ancestral, intergenerational trauma is no small task, and the support we are creating is palpable. Thank each and every one of you, and thanks to the support that surrounds us.
Sexuality as that potent site of either enslavement or liberation – demand liberation. Fight for it. Surrender to it. Let the river flow rightly.
And on that note, in light of the Angela Davis quote/book Anjali shared, the HBO movie “Bessie” about Bessie Smith might be of interest: http://bessiethemovie.com/
Oh, also: can’t wait for the conversation about Politicizing PMS. Was just thinking this morning to ask if we could talk about menstruation, and also “birth control.” And alternative options. Went to the gyno this AM and she talked about how hormonal birth control methods flatline our cyclical spikes and drops. So literally if we were to visualize our hormonal cycle, certain (mainstream, pharmaceutical) birth control methods make a straight line our of what is naturally curvaceous and undulating.