(change) on the canvas of my own body

tall-haired blonde women, sticker-graffiti from the HaightGood morning!

A quick post this morning — Yesterday and today, I set my alarm for something early, and my body decides only to rise when it’s something late. My nighttime self is overly optimistic about my morning self’s willpower.

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So, after my six-month break from the long workshops, I’ve got a lot coming up the next few months! Don’t forget about Writing the Flood this Saturday, 5/14, and then I’ll be in Sacramento on May 28 for a reprise of our Erotic Writing as Liberatory Practice workshop! Over May 20-22, I’ll be in Seattle for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, and I’m scheming to get a workshop going there — more on that soon. And I’ve finally got the summer 2011 8-week workshop schedule up — register now for Write Whole: Survivors Write or Declaring Our Erotic.

And the Erotic Reading Circle meets on 5/25 — we’ll be co-habiting with the Sex Workers Art Festival for this Circle, which should be a lot of fun!

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I haven’t written about self care in a little bit, have I? This was going to be the year of getting to know my body better, of setting up radical self-care strategies, of starting 17 exercise classes, finding an acupuncturist, learning all my insides out. I haven’t started the yoga class yet. I have gone to the dr and asked scary questions, or rather, questions I was afraid to hear the answers to (and, it turns out, the answers weren’t that scary after all), I have gone to the dentist, I have been working my way into some somatic practice in therapy. I want to be accountable to you: I walk a bit more, and stretch sometimes, which is more often than never.

When the 8-week workshops start again, I’ll write a bit after each one is over, and, too, I’m going to do that yoga and/or other body-centered practice the day after — I’m shifting my day job schedule around so that I don’t go in to work on the day after a workshop, which means I’ll have time for yoga on Tuesday morning, or maybe Zumba (I know, I know) on Friday afternoon — or maybe even massage. (Massage feels the most frightening, like the thing I most don’t deserve. Maybe I should just go ahead and schedule a few for the next few months; even that would start to challenge that inside voice that tells me my body hasn’t earned, doesn’t deserve, that kind of touch and care.) This would be a big transition — instead of building up sleep deprivation over the course of these 8 weeks (which leads to frustration and shut down), I could, instead, go deep into my own writing and hold space for others to do the same, and then take care of my body and deep self afterward. What a concept — I’m feeling excited about this!

I want say something about self care and accountability. Over Tour, Kathleen and I were talking about some actions we were needing to take that scared us, and so we were procrastinating on those things; for me, it was registering for the GRE and making a Dr’s appointment. I said, or maybe she said, first, If you do your thing, I will do my things. We made ourselves accountable to one another, because we love each other and we matter to each other. When I got back home, within the week, I had done both the things I’d told her I’d do — because I wanted her to do the thing she’d said she would do, and because I wanted to be true to my word to her. And she did her thing, too, and we got to leave each other loud, joyful, celebratory messages on our voicemails (because we live so far from each other) and do the terrifying things, those gorgeous steps forward, feeling like we’ve got a sister holding our hands.  Sisterfemmefriends, and other deepheartfriends, can do this for each other. We become each other’s witnesses and heart-celebrators.

Here’s some self care — last night, while watching a movie, instead of digging into the pantry for every edible thing, I got out my little pedicure kit, which consists of a couple of plastic bags containing cotton balls, nail polish remover, foot lotion, foot scrub, toe spreaders, and lots of different polishes, a collection I started building up when I decided to be a girl again. I took off the blue polish and then massaged in the lotion, letting my feet get some care. I opened my toes up with the toe spreader (which I think might be a good stretch) and then applied a brand new polish, something of indeterminate color that shimmers and changes in different light. I played with color on the canvas of my own body — that’s letting the self-care in.

How about you? Want to take 10 or 20 minutes and write about what self-care is looking like for you right now? Or for your characters — what steps have they taken, or are they avoiding taking, to be good to themselves in a deep and scary way? Maybe start by describing the action, whatever it is, and then let yourself move into how your/their body feels during or as a result… and follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

I am grateful for you. Thank you for your words.

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