Thursday, June 21, 2012

My hips don't lie

Some recent conversations with some friends have had me scouring feminist websites and blogs. There is something that I love about processes like this: I go in search of one thing and come out with a completely different, but equally as important discovery. I went in search about articles about whether or not men can be feminists and I ended up reading this: How to Tell a True Story. It was so very interesting and brought up an awful lot of thought and emotion on my part. But then it happened again. I was reading this and I found myself completely involved in the tiniest, smallest, seemingly fairly meaningless part of the work which was:

"While training to be a yoga teacher, I learned to be careful about hip opening poses. “People store memories in their hips,” my teacher said. “Especially women. Trauma. Be gentle, and don’t be surprised if some students start crying.”"

I continued reading the entire story, but I emailed myself that quote and found myself reading it over and over again and I'm not really sure why. But it's so true.

It's true for me in yoga class, it's true for me when I'm just stretching on my own, it was true for me in ballet, and it's true for me now with burlesque too. When I am in an uncomfortable situation I turn my toes in a little and this closes my hips. When I am feeling highly emotionally charged I bring my knees up and close my hips off to the world. When I am sick or really tired I curl up on my side leaving no access to my hips.

And then something made sense to me: I stopped ballet and modern while I was at a very intense and serious level due to hip injuries, stress fractures in both. And though having to relearn how to define myself was difficult enough, I now wonder how the fact that the injury was in an incredibly vulnerable part of my body affected that process.

And why wouldn't your hips (especially for women) be place of great emotion?! Hips-close to gut-close to pelvis-close to pubic bone-close to ovaries-close to uterus-close to vagina-close to vulva. We push memories down, we push trauma down, we push emotion down down down because it is BAD to be emotional. You are weak if you show vulnerability in any way. And as a woman, (and this is just me personally), I don't think of 'down' as my legs or toes. I think of 'down' as that place inside my tummy. the opposite of the base of my spine. And what surrounds that? My hips.

Pretty interesting thing to come out of looking around for feminist vs. pro-feminist men!