Sunday, May 30, 2010

tears get in your eyes

Today I was faced with a dilemma. And I'm still not sure I chose wisely.
Either way it was a crying shame. A case of the tears, tears prickling behind lids, and no real place to put them. Nowhere as a space between out and in, and neither would really do.
My whole life I've been really private about crying. Just like my nakedness is, it's mine. Not because I've been afraid of the censorship of others.
In fact, I remember how, in the way of so many small children, when I was upset I would imagine scenarios which would exacerbate my sadness - like being a bird in a tree at my own funeral and watching other people mourning my death - and work me up into body-wracking sobs, enjoying the voluptuous pleasure of my moments of grief even as they shook my small body. And another sneaky part of that pleasure would be the thought of being caught in the act, busted on my tears and how that ineffable someone would respond.
A part of my head would become that someone, looking at my tears, responding compassionately, placatingly, and be moved by my frustration (the most common cause for tears for me for years), or sadness. So I would sneak glances at myself in the mirror, and watch for those tears and how my face moved and how my body shook, and that would make the moment simultaneously more 'real', and less.
It's only recently that I've caught myself in the mirror doing a similar act.
But this act has shifted somewhat by a lot of the work and reading I've been doing about leaky bodies, and the feminist politics of viewing and looking, which probably owes itself in the most part to the indomitable Laura Mulvey. This, coupled with a political and lived investment in living a life as embodied and affectively open and engaged as possible, mean that such a glance has become rather more complicated.
In fact, it occurred to me last night, as tears spilled unchecked from me as I washed my hands in the bathroom sink that I was watching so that I could add something to the experiential moment of crying. That particular visuality adds to how I can understand my embodied, leaky, uncomfortable, and altogether 'natural' moment. Not only do the hands to the face which feel the spilling wetness affirm and add to this cry. The seeing of my crying form, the examining of saline spill, this shows my experience to me (visually-oriented as I am), and makes it whole.
Perhaps I'm a little lost for explanations for this in front of others. Maybe now I've found the words, tears will be more see-able as far as I'm concerned.
Or maybe I'll stay in places where the reflective surfaces are mine alone.

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