The Lovely Yumminess that Dwells Within

Stills from video by Junauda Petrus (credit: Chrys Carroll)

The theme of “Girls in Their Bedrooms” aligns deeply with the recent inspiration of my video, written and movement work which I have been calling “Black Solitude/Autonomous Wilderness.” 

This concept to me is a reflection of the healing dance movements of Black Womanness, when the dance is for us and to ourselves. This dance is so that we can cry, melt hurt, shift stuckness, and resist the imposition of psychic contortion for survival in this society.

I have been ruminating for the last year or so about what has helped me survive and retrieve my true soul in the midst of all that obscures the road to my self-love. The many phases of my life when I could not see myself, let alone be compelled to love myself, because I had absorbed a consciousness that would not acknowledge my dimensions, sweetness and primordial movement.

I have recently become utterly aware of my survival relying on reclaiming wildness in mind, body and spirit. Wild, as in natural state, aligned with intuition and grounded in instinct. There is for me in this concept also an inherent sense of being embodied and sensually in enjoyment of it.

A practice of this for example is forgoing panties in order to orient airflow to your pum-pum (vagina) and allowing your sacred sweetness to get cleansed in a breeze. Another practice of wildness would be to smoke a joint and dance to an Al Green record in your bedroom, naked or in a towel or a dress you just got from the thrift store.

These practices of wildness have brought me closer to that lovely yummyness that dwells within me. The yummyness that births laughter, consciousness, art, love, hope, the ecstatic.

The video pieces that I shared at “Girls in Their Bedrooms” were both works that I was inspired to create because my soul was grabbling with love and relationships that I had just ended. The first is called “Out My Mind, Just In Time” and the second “Love Tones.” In both I am featured as the subject, and layer text and music. Thematically, in both I explore my feelings of confusion in love journeys, the vulnerability of transformation and the inherent needs of the soul.

Sharing my videos at “Girls in Their Bedrooms” was new and fun terrain for me. It was empowering to share my work in that space with women who were also doing work based in the quiet intimacy of themselves, the abundance of their own woman-land, queendoms. It made the sharing feel particularly joyful and snuggly.

I spent the evening lying on pillows, sipping wine and taking in the thoughts and words from the souls of women folk. Yes. In the humid-womb warmth of a cozy attic. All laid up with my lover and absorbing Mankwe’s incomparable tones and the way it makes my chest feel, coated in some dirt from some Tanzanian road, I ain’t ever been to. To see Michelle Be sprawled out in the midst of her own words and thoughts and hear her reflections. It was powerful, confident and delicate.

That night I was especially happy to be seeing Ellen’s video love letter to her friend Gabrielle and impacted by Ellen’s filming and editing skills. I was amazed at the multiple elements that Ellen resources as an artist, from animation to poetics, featuring herself in ways that were introspective, honest and fierce. Also, Ellen is just so funny. I have always appreciated her ability to make our most insecure depths as humans recognized in both humor and tragedy. I want to make my stuff more tight and she gave me a standard to aspire to in my work.

Another performance of the evening that stayed with me (can you call this a performance? perhaps ritual or offering makes more sense…) was one of Gabrielle’s. It was the piece she made for the young women who were abducted in Nigeria. Each had her own page. And Gabrielle is reading their names one by one, asking us to name their names, where there is not a name, she is reminding us of “a girl who was snatched.”

Those words had gotten into me and were sticky in my brain and my heart. In fact, I was thinking about that today at 5 a.m. this morning, when I was at my serving job, moving tables and chairs around. Involuntarily, I returned in my mind to the moment of entering the peach room Gabrielle was sitting in, eyes calm and serious, unflinching. I kept hearing her in my head, “a girl who was snatched.”

In that moment, I noticed myself try and disconnect not wanting to feel it, but then I reminded myself that “a girl who was snatched” existed. Had a mama who may have hugged her before she left that day of abduction. Or not. That there were names like, Blessing and Mercy. That the absence of a little girl’s laughter was soul deafening. That these girls were loved and then made to disappear. I sat on the ground with Gabrielle and read the names and had to feel IT. LOSS.

I want there to be more of this type of work and presentations and communion.  So I was VERY happy to be asked to be a part of this From the Hive event.