I came across the concept of vulnerability via Candice Oneida. I cannot emphasize enough, how much I value her work and her presence. I then followed up her recommendation to Brene Brown, which I must say listen to while doing something else and only had quarter of an ear. But what I remembered of her message was that vulnerability is not weakness, but immensly courageous.
At present I am researching embodiment for a university poster that will outline, inshaallah, a workshop for mothers and daughters on „feminine embodiment, feminine power“. So I found this great ebook with the title „Dem Erleben auf der Spur – Feminismus und die Philosophie des Leibes“ which translates roughly as „On the trail of the lived experience – Feminism and the philosophy of the embodied body“. I guess as I cant find a valid translation for embodiment into german, I also cant find one for Leib into english. Today I listen to a videointerview with Suzanne Scurlock-Durana and they described it as the soul landing deeply into the body (they used different words), but thats the concept, no? The body that is beheld by something other, more, higher than body, the alchemized body. Anya introduced me to this idea of alchemy, from darkness to light, a mystical transformation. But I am jumping ahead.
So this article that I read from the book today is called „The flight from vulnerability“ written by Professor Dr. Debra Bergoffen. It is greatly interesting because it oulines beautifully what has gone awry with vulnerability in patriarchal societies. It outlines the great detriment it causes to men and women that are seperated into the weak-vulnerably woman and the aggressive invulnerable man, a relationship that is stabilized by rape as the ultimate realization of the assumtion.
She starts from two approaches of psychoanalytic/phenomenological theory, which have left me frozen when I read them because they again from a different perspective explained what happened to me.
The first is Lacan, which I remember from my times of studies of political sience, as a criminal, a writer I would, for not clear reasons (which crime? murder? rape?) not have consulted myself. Anyway psychoanalytic thinking always gave me a very bad feeling about myself/triggered me (Thank you Shelly Bullard for your ebook on getting triggered). Again today. So what Bergoffen reports about Lacan says basically that the human condition is to be incomplete, lacking and thus vulnerable. I quote
„Lacan’s description of the mirror stage and its consequent aggressivity is a complex account of how the human infant, in encountering its reflection in the mirror, sees this image of coordinated wholeness as the antidote to its experience of itself as inadequate, fragmented, and unlovable. Taking up its reflection in the mirror, the infant exchanges this experience of itself as a collection of mismatched body parts for the image of an organized, securely bordered, schematized body. It (mis)identifies itself with its reflected image in the hope of guaranteeing its (m)other’s love – of curing itself of the anxiety of vulnerable dependency (page 139).
Subhannallah. The disembodied child. That was intense for me. I remember in my childhood how I spent days and days sitting in front of the mirror, brushing and decorating my dolls hair, imagining stories. And still today I must pinch myself when I look in the mirror as not to get lost in the image as the reality and my bodyreality to be un-feelable.
I sat here frozen, reading on, sitting on the bench, ready to be judged guilty for having been the seductress, when Bergoffen continued and spoke about Merlau-Pontys much more compassionate approach as vulnerability being a condition that is deeply human and the root of the human experience and perfectly integratalbe into a sane existence.
Because this is what I believe to be true. But I see it further even. Embodiment and vulnerability go hand in hand. But there is not just the erotic path that stems from this source. And this is what I have learned from the practitioners of embodiment, even though all streams are pervaded by juiciness and pleasure, there is also the knowledge of abundance, the abundance of God, of the universe, the knowledge how to release trauma, how to release creativity, how to reconnect.
I realize now how great is the lie, instumentalizing our fear; that she makes us flee from vulnerability, thank you Professor Bergoffen, what a great title you chose for your great essay.
So clear is the path. In vulnerability there lies (in german we actually have to words for to lie, lügen und liegen :)))) our truth. May we be courageous, brave, speaking women. May our wounds become our words, our pain our peace.