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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Culture is Inscribed on the Body

When I teach my class body art and modification I repeatedly use one line: culture is inscribed on the body. I also use the simplistic but effective analogy to an American traveling abroad. When one travels abroad it is easy to pick out an American. We as a group tend be loud. We tend to be fat. We tend to think every human being on the planet speaks English. We expect to be served. Of course theses are broad generalizations. The point I am trying to get at is that for some of us culture is indeed inscribed on our body. My body is scarred. I have train tracks running up and down my back from my neck to the crack of my ass. I have a scar on the back of my hip. I have large ugly scar on the front part of my hip.  My left hip is dislocated and as result my left leg is short than my right leg. I have a severe sclerosis. I have a cracked tooth and need dental work. Let's put it this way: there is not one symmetrical part of my body. I am scarred and distorted from head to toe.

Survivors have scars. I have scars. I have a body that tells a story. It is a story of survival. I took the best and worst that modern medical care can dish out. Add in a healthy dose of aging and I am battle worn.  I look at my body and cannot help but state to a degree it  is wrecked. This does not bother me one iota. I plan to do further damage. I want my body to continue to be used and to a small degree abused. I want to get everything out of my body. When I am old I want to slide into death knowing I got every last drop of energy out of my body. I want to use my brain to the best of its ability and foster social change for all people with disability. Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead.  Live life to the fullest. Go ahead take chances. Take leaps of faith. We only get one shot at this wonderful thing called life.

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