Some rambling, not very well organized thoughts on the transgressive potential of power reversal and sexual theater. As of late, my literary pursuits have taken a backseat. I've been deep in the books and in the woods, immersing myself in my studies of plant medicine in some of the oldest mountains on earth. I was nearly in the path of totality. For a brief moment, the world turned strange and dusky today, the animals quieted, and through dorky paper glasses, I watched the moon obscure the sun. I don't much like dualism--but the feminine symbolism of the moon, for a moment, blocking out the sun, in this patriarchal world seems illustrative of what I'm speaking of. I'm so scared by and disappointed with humanity right now that it feels good to be enamored with non-human others, to learn with such fresh wonder after being so concerned with constructs and culture and deconstruction for so long. It feels good to be less in my head and more in my body. But mostly, I'm viscerally learning that these distinctions between culture/nature, mind/body, etc.--aren't so clear cut. This isn't some idyllic romanticization or positing of nature as benign. She's the original domme. Additionally, holistic health isn't a place for any kind of innocence either, with the current state of the health care crisis, and with our bodies being such inherently precarious, expensive, beautifully temporal things. Sometimes I think that the most important role of the herbalist is to build resilience, to strengthen and nurture the "vital force." And sometimes there is only palliative care when there is no cure. I can't swallow any more new age forced positivity or willful ignorance. I'd like to think of my scattered tendencies and curious nature as a boon and I'd like to be grateful for the gift of being a generalist. I do see threads running between these interests and pursuits--ultimately, a fascination with embodiment and alchemy.
I remember my writings on Bakhtin's theories of the carnivalesque--to lazily cite Wikipedia: " It refers to a literary mode that subverts and liberates the assumptions of the dominant style or atmosphere through humor and chaos." Is this not what I, we, do? The theater of it all, the unveiling of masks, the vulnerability and humor. The rowdy, utopic moment and the satire. As Catherine Robbe-Grillet puts it in the brilliant documentary about her, The Ceremony, it's not about who's in power, but about pushing intensity. Are we liberating the assumptions of dominant culture, or are we creating a moment of escapism, placating the dominant class and gender? What about those of us who dedicate most of our lives to this particular theater, to this strange type of transformation? Perhaps we can never be something we've never embodied. These lessons on vulnerability, submission, shedding of ego, servitude and humility--perhaps these serve to transform, in one way or another, the man who craves this and needs this. They understand something of the way patriarchy has deprived and gender has imprisoned. In their bodies, even if they don't or can't articulate it. How artificial and precarious such a superficial, unearned power can be.
More simply and literally, perhaps in terms of helping correct the great imbalances of history, learning to step back, shut up and do the dishes, do the grunt work, support the power and brilliance of those on the denigrated sides of these dualisms (man/woman, culture/nature, civilization/savage, white/brown & black, etc.) is an embodied lesson, and speaks less to some kind of inherent value or hierarchy than it does to the value of knowing when to learn a different way of being, a softer power in opposition to the false, unearned privilege one has unjustly been afforded. My dominance is both playful and serious, a core facet of me, always shifting and evolving. My humility is a core part of me too. I have been in both roles and learned immensely from traveling between them. In many ways, I've earned this immense confidence and natural dominance. When I say female/femme supremacy, I'm not speaking of any kind of inherent value or guilt or punitive exercise. I don't believe in that insidious tumblr politics shit. I am talking about trying to contend with the blinders privilege puts on. In my conception of this theater, I'm interested in the lessons that both practices have to offer. Both roles are ideally based in empowerment and care.