hi, this is my body

How will the body’s rebellions succeed?
Is this what mad politics inspires,
Unwriting the text of your body, a narrative
Disjointed…

“A Dictionary of the Vanishing,” Luis Francia

Folks, I’ve been stressing over this entry for at least two weeks now.  I have written 15 page papers in the time that it has taken me to write three sentences which I ENDED UP DELETING ANYWAY.

Let me be real here: all I really know about my body are its imperfections, its inconsistencies, its downright strangeness.  I constantly have to be reminded that it isn’t simply a vessel or some sort of input/output machine.  It wasn’t until fairly recently that I began to conceive of it as something.. more.  Something that is active, always evolving and collecting and reacting.

I have no idea how to write about my body.  I know I could say a million things.  I could talk about dance–the performances that I have seen lately, the ones that I am preparing for, my borderline-unhealthy obsession with reality dance shows, even.  I could talk about health and my current lack thereof.  I could talk about my mother, who is a better blogger than me (and from whom I got my calves and a disturbing lack of armpit hair).  I could talk about my scars, my bruises, my eyes, my hair.  I could write about Asian women in the news and media, and how their bodies affect my body.  I could talk about riding the bus, working in the service industry, and any number of miscellaneous experiences and musings.

But really, I have no idea how to do this.  But then I read that excerpt–Luis Francia, you had me at “unwriting”–and I remind myself that this isn’t supposed to be easy. Unwriting requires remembering, and sometimes remembrance is labor.

There’s a lot to be said for the intangibles that our bodies hold, the kinds of stories that you find tangled up in veins and flesh and bones and how these memories can become part of narratives that are bigger than our ‘scaredy cat’ feelings about talking about our bodies.  Like how the story of the stitches on my knee isn’t just about shoes that were too big and broken glass–it’s also about class and health care and fear of cultural illiteracy.  How sometimes the ways our bodies interact with other bodies seem like part of a script, to the extent that my body tenses when I step on a bus or a subway and, despite knowing the dangers of walking around with my headphones on at night, sometimes I’d rather just not hear.  And how my mother–field worker, garment worker, hotel service worker, and finally, postal service worker–since learning how to use a computer and navigate the interwebs has dedicated four nights out of every week writing her memoir, unearthing herself, much like I’m doing here, trying to (un)write.

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One response to “hi, this is my body

  1. reading this again and still can’t quite grasp the concept of unwriting, even though i think i know what you mean. i think of unraveling, disengaging…?
    it stuck me what you wrote of ma being all those things. makes me feel proud and uncomfortable at the same time. wish it didn’t have to be so hard then. those are not things any one of us dream of being, are they.

    i think you’re beautiful, big calves and scars and all.

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