Sunday, June 30, 2013

being naked

recent weeks involve more public nudity than usual for me and in very varied circumstances. i grew up in a naked house; it still a naked house to this day and when i go there we all still as naked in it as in my youth. and my house, every home i ever had since leaving my parents' naked house, has become a naked house by default of my living there. friends know if you liming by me, you hadda be cool with me in my panty, because real friends doh ask you to put on pants in your own house. and bona fides know when they come by me, is to take off their clothes and lime in their drawers too.
but public nudity different. baring oneself onstage, or for nude drawing sessions, inviting the open scrutiny of strangers/acquaintances/friends/family you doh necessarily have naked-level relations with...that kinna nudity different. and i doh 'fraid it, but is something i choose to subject myself to in controlled situations not for thrills, but because i think what i learn is invaluable.
i am forcing myself to let myself be vulnerable, to allow myself to be not just nude, but naked, bare, wide open and unworried about whether my belly looks unflattering in this light, or my thighs in this position; i am telling myself to be unconcerned with others' perceptions of beauty and whether i fit them, to leggo all society have to tell me about black and women and black women, because i know, the dancer and science-nerd in me unite in the knowledge that at very least, by my very existence, i am an extraordinary machine; my skin and all it holds together is an amazement of beauty+function and there should never be shame in using it for enlightenment, in any of the many ways enlightenment can come through artistic endeavour.
i make myself take in the truth of seeing self through the eye of the beholder...drawing+painting sessions come with layered anxieties, 1st the obvious, of one's nakedness before others intending to scrutinise+reproduce (and the natural fear is, magnify) every perceived flaw and blemish, but then comes seeing what they show you you are. mirrors, photographs+film are nothing like seeing every part of oneself rendered by an artist's hand right there, live, in the moment, seeing your soft, previously-hidden places captured boldly in a 3minute sketch, a 15minute sketch, half-hour, half a day...the immediacy of their seeing and rendering exactly what in front of them strips away my ability to be precious about any of me. i allow myself to be drawn in "unattractive" positions, crouched, squatting, hunched over in contraction, to rid myself of any lingering whispers of being less than what somebody else call perfect somehow mattering...
i don't doubt it easier for me, knowing dance keeps this body i working with at least reasonably fit, but don't think any of us exempt from insecurities, and exposing them all in close quarters affects even the most confident. but this is what performers+artists do; we bare our souls so others may connect with theirs. this is my responsibility, for the choices i make to do what i do. this is part of how i keep it real, keep the journey to self moving forward; this is part of how i make/art/wuk.
keep it fresh.
walk good.
[read part2 on stripping bare and baring all]


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