Browsing Tag

writing and the body

Guest Posts, Sexual Assault/Rape, Writing & The Body

Livor Mortis

March 29, 2017

By Megan Collins.

My first husband wanted to pee on me. I kid you not. He wanted me to dress down to my skin and lay in that cold vessel of a tub with the drain stabbing me in the head so that he could piss all over me. Can you imagine? I did. I could die. My tombstone a metal faucet with an inscription in scum, ‘Here lies girl who once was. Wild. May daffodils grow in her stead’. I tell you this so that you know what the face of death looks like when she’s staring at you from across a cafe; the grocery store. What the separation of body and a spirit look like walking around in human skin. It is a body covered in piss owned by a man you despise, with the life spirited away.

 

For the record, I told him I would not. That even the thought of it made me feel dirty and disgusted. So he told me I was a stuck up cunt and that the reason for his late night voyeurism of underage Asian girls and naked, male, jock on jocks with throbbing veiny dicks was because I was stifling his sexual exploration. Continue Reading…

depression, Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts, Writing & The Body

A Tale of 19 Wet Towels or How I Failed to Shed My Skin

March 23, 2017
towel

By Ella Wilson.

1. Birth

Every time in my life that I have had the opportunity – that is to say I have been in the presence of a huge coming or going or leaving or starting, a massive adding on or taking away – every time I have had the chance to step out, to leave behind, to shed, to transform, to butterfly, to snake – every time I could have showered off the detritus of some time in my life that lay heavy on my skin. Every time I could have grown, instead I wet-toweled.

2. Starting school

Here is how you wet-towel. You take the thing you might have stepped out of, a skin, a time, a loss, a tiny pair of pants, a hit in the face. You take that thing and you wrap yourself in it.

3. Suicide attempt age 12

You shiver at first because the wet towel makes you cold. The weight of it makes you slow. After a few days you start to smell old and nothing seems like a very good idea.

4. Puberty

Shame is sticky and the antidote to transformation.

5. Losing my virginity

Shame tells you to hide, unfortunately the tools it gives you for hiding promote shame on shame. Shameless self promotion.

6. Leaving school

When you would rather not be seen it is preferable to hide in anything you can find.

7. Leaving home

8. Getting a job

9. My father dying

When my father died I did not notice. This is not because I was not paying attention exactly, in fact I paid so much attention, maybe too much. Nursing him from when I was 13 to 22. But something can become normal, like someone being ill, like thinking someone won’t really die. So I slept on his hospital floor for months. I swabbed his throat with little pink sponges. I knew the nurses names. He died. I wanted to stay on the floor. I wasn’t ready not to have a father. I wore his clothes. I didn’t cry. I did not become fatherless. I just became personless.

10. Moving to America

11. Being hospitalized for anorexia

12. Getting married Continue Reading…

feminism, Girl Power: You Are Enough, Guest Posts, Women

Yes To Women. Post Lidia Yuknavitch & Jen Pastiloff’s Writing & The Body Retreat.

September 23, 2015

Note from Jen Pastiloff:

Katharine Coldiron attended the retreat I just led with Lidia Yuknavitch, my beloved sister, teacher, and friend. Writing & The Body. It was the second one Lidia and I did in 2015 in Ojai, California, and we are planning another in 2016 for April 8-10th. Must email info@jenniferpastiloff.com asap as this retreat sells out FAST. Stay tuned here for future workshops and retreats. You can sign up for classes with Lidia here.

By Katharine Coldiron

 

We need a new word for “roar”. There needs to be a special verb for how Jennifer Pastiloff sounds when she’s teaching, when she’s commanding us (like a petite, beautiful Patton) to be enough, to be a human thank-you, to be love. To say yes. She shouts, but she’s not angry; she screams, but she’s not hysterical. She roars, but for me that verb has connotations of red-faced men with berating baritones. Jen roars like a woman. Like a lioness: the fiercest mothersisterdaughterlover to be found in any jungle.

All weekend I listen and obey. I am enough. Vinyasa. I am a human thank-you. Warrior II. I am love. Crescent lunge. Open your arms, shine your heart out into the green valley. Vinyasa, downward-facing dog, child’s pose. I say yes.

I don’t cry when I tell a story I’ve never told anyone, a story from the dead swamps of middle school when I did a shitty, shitty thing. I don’t cry when I explain about the year that I slowly starved, or the bizarre food-hoarding that followed once I was on my feet. I don’t cry when I talk about the thing that happened in 2004 that wrecked my capacity to form friendships with women for the next, oh, eleven years. It’s not a pride thing. I just don’t cry for my stories this time.

On Sunday I grin wide in Warrior II with a face full of my own rain. The room echoes with hitches and heaves and sobs and boohoos, and it’s all so gorgeous, this breaking down and letting go that’s occurring all around me. I came here stable and happy, unsure about some interior things but not quite needing to manifest transformation. I’m 33 and my Jesus year, finishing its orbit around the sun, has been a minor passion, a closed struggle with a pleasanter ending than the Nazarene’s. Yet the beauty of the uncocooning butterflies around me is staggering. And it makes me weep. I weep for you, for you, for you and you and you, my darlings. Don’t shell over again. Show your wings. You are enough. I am love.

And then.

On Monday, in the midst of Warriors, Jen is saying yes yes yes to nouns and participles galore. Yes to feminism. Yes to beauty. Yes to dancing. One of these wonderful yeses she roars is “Yes to women!”

And I lose it. I cry. I cry for me, Argentina, for the first time all weekend. My nose runs and the tears fly in an arc as I wheel down from reverse warrior into another vinyasa.

Part of why I trundled off to a women’s college in 1999 was to try and do better at making women friends. It didn’t work; I just went down the road to the coed college and made friends with dudes instead. Neither of the two sister-friends I’ve loved are in my life anymore. I don’t have a best friend, not the whatever-whenever-secret-language kind I see in movies and memoirs.

Bluntly: I can’t seem to connect with women. They’re too busy, or they live in other cities, or they just aren’t that into me, or in the middle of us getting to know each other they have babies and make a whole different set of friends. It hurts, but I’ve tried to shrug it off. I can’t believe it’s my fault; even though not making women friends is a genuine pattern for me, I can’t find an intersecting spot among all these failed friendships where some flaw of my own resides. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, I Have Done Love, Retreats/Workshops, writing

Writing & The Body. Jen Pastiloff & Lidia Yuknavitch.

February 8, 2015

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By Jen Pastiloff.

Update: We have just opened registration for our next Writing and The Body Retreat. Book here.

I am on way my to London to lead a workshop and I couldn’t be happier. I do two a year in London (back doing one there Oct 10th), which, truth be told, is a friggin’ dream come true for me. Manifesting.

Making Shit Happen is how I define manifesting. 

Please check out a list of my workshops soon as I have them coming up in Massachusetts (retreat there next week in The Berkshires), NYC in March, Atlanta in March, Princeton, Philly, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Tuscany, and more! Post in the comments section if you are attending one soon or would like to.

You do NOT have to know any yoga at all. Just be a human being. All workshops listed here.

Read this to get a better understanding of what it is I do. 

To anyone who may be disappointed that my retreats or workshops are not enough “yoga,”I refuse to apologize. I won’t back down with my mission and the beauty mark I intend to leave.

I want to remind you not to put yourself in a box. That you can make something up and put it out into the world ( I did it!) with one intention and it will work. But do know what that intention must be? Every time? No matter if you are doing this or that or writing or yoga or nursing or mothering or serving veggie burgers?

The intention must be love. My go to saying- At the end of my life, when I ask one final “What have I done?” let my answer be, “I have done love.”

So please, if you want to come to a workshop of mine, know that I may not have you do 39 handstands. I may not have you do 100 vinyasas (although sometimes we do do a lot) but I will try my damnedest to create a space of love. I will do my best to help you not forget who you are in the world.

 

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Jen and Lidia

 

I just led an incredible retreat last weekend in Ojai, California, with one of my favorite authors and humans, Lidia Yuknavitch, called Writing and The Body. We are doing it again over Labor Day weekend 2015. Book here.

A woman in a room is crying, but it’s not what you think. The salted water brings her home, but it’s not what you think. There is another home in her, an ocean of lives lived alongside others. Look in her eyes. Look differently. Look at how her eyes are worlds. Some of the bodies carried life, some of them carried death, some others, both. There are bodies who have starved or needed more than the open mouth of an infant. There are folds of flesh redefine your puny words, “wife,” “mother,” “daughter,” other. If you listen with your whole body, you can hear our skinsong. A beautiful thunder. Even death begins us. Begin again. ~ Lidia Yuknavich after our Writing & The Body Retreat. Continue Reading…