Week 44 of #TWmemorymondays! Let's jump straight in.
I'm addressing racism and the body (again) - how the body tells me something is wrong and then the mind catches up later. Sometimes WAY later.
Back in the college days (2009-2012) as we know things were different than today. People said and did incredibly racist things that wouldn't fly right now at least in my social circles. I remember a guy pointing out my asian woman-ness on a very consistent basis, and on different occasions would do these two things: pull the corners of his eyes to make them slant and also speak Chinese gibberish. All in the name of fun and love of course!!! (Side note: there's also an added element of my intersectionality, where not only was the color of my skin was pulling me down, but the patriarchal dynamic of a male holding social power in those situations was also against me.) What I want to address today is the relationship of my mind and body in those situations.
My mind: That's kind of rude. I don't think I like that at all. You should laugh though, because he's your friend. He doesn't mean it and it's just a joke. Everyone else seems pretty chill about it. Don't make this awkward. Ok the moment has past - just move on and forget about it.
My body - my gut seized up right away in a very particular way that I can identify when it comes to these kind of things. It said: You're hurt. That was hurtful and insensitive and rude and offensive and it's not right. You're angry. Angry that no one else seems to see this as offensive and that you're friend would even say and do that.
Another more recent memory came up while I was thinking about mind/body when it comes to racist comments. A friend of mine was referencing absurd and racist white people who would pull on the eye lids and fake speak chinese, while reenacting those two things in a mocking kind of way toward people who would do that. My body reacted first in that same way as it did before, and my mind justified it by saying: she obviously means to point out how awful people would do and say that and there's no reason why this would be actually offensive. So I let it pass.
It took me long while for me to figure out why my body reacted how it did: it's because not only does it trigger past memories, but it was painful to see a friend embody such offensive gestures and sounds especially as a white person. It forces me to witness and experience something that cuts deep from a person that I care about and who cares for me. I had a great conversation with them later, and I am so thankful that my body was patient with me in realizing those things. It brought not only healing to me, but also with the friend.
I'm still learning to be trusting and attentive to my body. My brain is so programmed and influenced by our white supremest patriarchal society - I need to follow the promptings of my body and catch up to it. It has and will take time, but I'm encouraged with every situation, the time between the two are getting shorter!
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 44/53. 'Flux' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper