I wrote this piece for “Voices from the Vulva”, self-penned monologues women performed before the Vagina Monologues at Laurier in 2009, put on by the then Women’s Centre (now known as the Centre for Women and Trans People*). It’s not really the same on the page/screen, than when performed by me, but, such is life!
This re-post is for Sasha.
Body Affirmation, Self Affirmation by Janice Lee. March 2009.
We’ve all heard these sayings: Too good to be true. Sinfully delicious. So good it must be a sin. So good it must be a sin. So wait a minute, really really good things are, sinful? Exactly what are we talking about here? I’ll tell you, we are talking about pleasure. Sensual pleasure. Mmm hmm, pleasure of the body. Your body, my body, our bodies, our senses.
Our senses: hearing, music, right? taste, tasting butter tarts yeah? smell, mmm, hot chocolate, sight, an orange sunset, touch, touch, touch. you know, about this, touching…
You know, what is it, about the physical pleasure of touching that is so effing taboo in our society? Touch! hugs, cuddles, kisses – the pleasure of touching it’s built into our skin, our bodies, literally. Our physical makeup says, feel pleasure. Feel the softness, it feels good. To deny the fact is simple foolishness. AFFIRM your senses. Let yourself feel pleasure.
No no no, you should not be enjoying yourself, your body. Women should not be heard mmm-ing in pleasure no way. Save that for the privacy of your own room with your gentleman lover, got it? This society, is for intellect! Ideas! Civility! and there is no room for touching, no no, well, shake my hand and that’s it, now back off, get out of my personal bubble thank you.
WHY THESE RESTRICTIONS MISTER MAN? WHY SO LIFE NEGATING? Don’t touch, don’t feel how good it is, because it’s probably a sin? Aw hell no! It is natural, NATURAL, to feel pleasure. That yummy warm feeling you get inside, yeah, you’re supposed to feel that! Your body says so. It is built into us.
And another thing. We’ve all been told this before: Stop crying, crying won’t change anything, don’t worry everything will be fine tomorrow, don’t cry over spilt milk, hey at least you didn’t break both ankles…
Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute. What if I need to cry right now? What if I don’t give a shit about tomorrow because today I am effing devastated? What if that was all the damn milk I had left and I really want some frickin cereal? And the ankles, soccer is my life!
Don’t tell me that I should stop crying. Right now, my body needs to cry. I need to cry, and I am going to keep crying until I don’t need to anymore. And whether I’m sitting in the movie theatre or bawling on your couch, it doesn’t matter. If I feel that way, that feeling is valid. I will feel better when I need to, and I will feel better tomorrow when tomorrow comes, but RIGHT NOW, I am going to cry. Don’t make me feel guilty about the way I feel. My feelings are natural. My body says so, and I listen to my body.
You know, my body is wonderful. Capable. So capable. Me, my body, we venture out into that world every day do our thing and come home safe. Well, maybe the occasional scratch, trip, broken ankle.. broken heart even, but me, my body, we’re just doing what feels good, what feels natural. I love my body. I love what I am capable of because of this wonderful, feeling body. My body holds my life in it.
So no, I am not going to sit around and hate on my body, hate on my thighs for being fat, or my nose for being big, or my arms for being short, or my leg hair for existing! Nuh uh! I loooove these thighs and my nose sits just right and my arms are lovely and my leg hair is damn sexy. Awww yeah.
I will not negate my body, I will not negate my self. I AFFIRM my body. I affirm it in all its ability to sense, to feel, to live.
And when I need to sing, I’ll sing out, loud and proud or wrong and strong, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if a whole lotta people are around or if I’m singing slow jams in my room by myself. And when I need to dance, I’m gonna dance, watch out! You might get injured if you’re standing too close to this intensity. And when I need to be loved, I’ll love, I’ll love myself. Because my body, this pleasurable body, is my pleasurable existence, and I love the way it feels.