Owning our bodies and inhabiting them with strength.
In the powerful photographs and text by artist Del LaGrace Volcano in one of our “wormholes” Del presents their own body in an intensely moving way. Del says,
Queer bodies are ‘Bodies That (don’t) Matter’. Bodies that are disposable and often disowned. Bodies that are not valued or valuable. Bodies that through the simple act of existence personify resistance.
In the name of scientific knowledge, intersex and trans bodies have been photographed, catalogued, displayed and classified. We don’t know if the people whose bodies were on show at Hirschfeld’s Institute, for example, gave consent or not. Del uses self-portraiture to interrogate this history but also to reclaim the power of the image for themself.
One of our oral history interviewees talks about documenting his changing body
And because the effects of T come really quickly as well, and they did for me: my voice started changing within a couple of weeks and that, you know. So, I started physically changing quite quickly, which was wonderful for me. That whole thing… I was like every other trans person and I started doing the YouTube vids and “Here’s my squeaky voice” and “Week One…”, “Week Two…”
And exploring queer categories gave another participant a new word to describe his body
I mean I had this lush full head of hair and this hairy chest. And I think I needed a word for… because I am overweight, and I’ve always been overweight. And I wanted something that just acknowledged that it was okay. And so I fell into the kind of ‘cub’ category.
Honouring and/or loving our bodies can be a radical act of resistance. Bodies can be messy, awkward and complicated. Having one can be difficult. How can we feel free in our bodies?
EXERCISE – WILD AND FREE
There are lots of ideas to become wild and free in your body. Take what you want and discard the rest.
- Calm your system with a few deep breaths.
- Yoga moves. There are loads of online yoga sessions to follow, find one that makes you feel good. If you want to stay still, Yoga Nidra is about cultivating a state between asleep and awake and could be worth a try.
- Cold water for a few seconds/mins in the shower.
- Exercises to feel or show how spectacular the body is.
- Dance, bust some moves in your bedroom, do a class or hit the dancefloor.
- A homemade spa – cucumber or tea bags on your eyes and relax.
- Go for a walk, try to be aware of what you can hear, see and smell.
- Put on body lotion with your eyes closed. Be curious, what does your body feel like?
- Listen to a favourite song, shut your eyes, can you feel the music in your body?
- Try meditation. Even just for five minutes, being still with your body can be powerful.
- Wear something you love and that makes you feel good, even if just for yourself. As the advert used to say “because you’re worth it”.