Monday, December 27, 2010


Next Friday you have been invited to attend Double Exposure: A Two-Spirit Experience and it dawned on me, maybe you think you have no reason to come, or for whatever reason are nervous or unsure if you are going to come. I want to take a few minutes to let you know that you are welcome and we all have reasons to attend.

My boyfriend Zach and I were on the escalator coming down and away from the theatre where we had just seen Where The Wild Things Are. A young mother was a few steps behind us, her 5year old (ish) son was a step above her. She turned her body a bit to face him. They were almost at eye level, “ I wanted us to see this movie so I could talk to you about what happens when you get so upset” she said to him. The little boy wiggled in his body in reaction, sweet sounds came from him as he and his Mom hummed and talked. The boy and I made eye contact for a second and then I looked away. I got to the bottom of the escalator and by the time Zach was beside me I was near sobbing. Something about the scene between the Mother and the Son touched me, stopped me from being able to ignore the emotional pull the movie had on me. This weekend I was talking to a friend about the movie and he thought that crux of the film was that line Max says to his island friends about how everyone needs a Mom. And although after witnessing the scene on the escalator I am apt to agree with him, I think it is more than that. I think the film is about loneliness and our need to have people to look after and look after us. We don’t seem to have the language or the history to really talk about loneliness or our need for physical touch, or a variety of forms of companionship in our culture. We are too busy buying into the myth of self-reliance. In a way it is for this reason that the sleeping in a ‘real pile’ scene from Where the Wild Things Are was all the more touching. The idea of a mass-of-life-loving and breathing on top and intertwined with each other is possible- warms the heart.

I have a friend who lives in Philadelphia and part of his self-care regiment is to attend a group doggy pile once a month. He gets there early so he can be the bottom and feel the weight of all the people he loves and doesn’t know weighing down on him, impacting him.
Later after he told me this I couldn’t help but think that for a man who lost so many of his friends to AIDS, the luxury of being crushed by live bodies must seem like riches. I think in a way my tears on the escalator were for my friend in Philly. And for me. And for people I know that died, and for friends who as they get older get less hugs, and for the people whose jokes I never get, and for the guy on the street who is asking for money and asking to be really truly seen and witnessed. It was a big cry because there are a lot of reasons to cry.

All of this was turning in my head today as I made my way to Richard’s house to meet up with him and the rest of the Double Exposure team to catch up and prepare the costumes for Friday. As we sat around the table talking I realized that so much of organizing is about creating small communities for a focused reason and how close during that organizing people can become. It is powerful to work on something together.
Sitting in Richard’s living room cutting strip for the costumes I noticed that as the strips piled up, the softness on the fabric weighing on itself looked so cozy. It was then it dawned on me that in many ways for me, Double Exposure is a lot like Where the Wild Things Are. Double Exposure is about many things but in a small way it is really about creating a reason, a way for people to gather. There will be food, music, learnings, costumes, culture, new friends and old strangers coming together. And while we may not be piling on top of each other- we will be coming together and letting our energies meet and our experiences overlap. I hope you come, I hope you brings so clean cloth to add to the costumes and I hope you eat, dance, play all that you need to.

Invoke the Halloween spirits, get what you kindly need from community and give what you can.
I look forward to seeing you. Bring friends, kids, parents, loved ones... Ted

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