My Spanish lit. class had a special guest today, Hector Aristizabal, a Colombian therapist, activist and community organizer. He told us the story of how he came to be tortured in Columbia for his work in human rights, about his brother who died of AIDS and his other brother who was a leftist guerilla and then became a rightist paramilitary who captured, tortured and executed dissidents. Hector also spoke of his son, Gabo, for whom his absolute love and devotion shone through. Hector explained his work with theater and the Theater of the Oppressed. He played a drum and told us a story about two brothers, one who was a rainmaker named Poder and the other who sought steal his brothers power and unlease the Wrath of God upon the world. I loved the way he included our class as he relayed the story. I felt my body move to the drum. As he told his story, he talked about not just remembering what happened to him in his life, but also re-membering his body as he works to reclaim himself. It felt similar to what I attempt to do with my life.
I have yet to re-member myself, to reclaim my body as my own. My body is still my enemy and almost daily I find ways to harm myself. The experience made me think about something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now, trying to begin writing again. I used to write all the time. Nothing could stop me. But over the years, I’ve stopped. At first I thought it was because I was happier, more self-sufficient. But I think now it is because the pain was no longer so immediate, so dangerous. I had too many external things to think about: food, shelter, work. But now, those old feelings are coming back, the need to do damage to myself, to externalize my feelings. Yet, it is not poetry that I’m trying to write, but prose. Poetry used to be my medium. Not necessarily of choice, but it was much more accessible. I could always tell stories, but writing was different. It was easier to write poetry, there’s no exposition, no plot, necessarily. It was short and to the point. Everytime I wrote, it was like a small cut but with immediate scabbing. It was both a tearing open and a healing. But now I think I might be ready to do that with prose.
I’m scared. I don’t know how to start. A part of me says that I should just start writing. But I’m worried, not just about bad prose, but writing necessitates reading. Who will read it? Do I want them to? Could I get people not to treat it as just another story, but my story? Should I just be handing out something so personal. I haven’t written anything yet, and still I’m afraid. I’m practically crying just writing about writing about my life. It’s scary and I’m also not sure that I’m ready to confront all my demons. Every time I think I’m finally free, more pop out of the woodwork and I’m starting to think it might be time to deal with them. But I’m not quite ready. But soon. Very soon.
In the meantime, I’m going to Hector’s theater workshop tomorrow. And I’m working on the 70s dance with Carina. I’m trying to get my life together. I go to Chicago next week to look for jobs and an apartment. I’m nervous, but excited. I feel like my life is beginning again, another reason to try to begin work on my healing. And I just can’t wait.
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