Mudita – Black Rock City USA

Audacity and the desire to ask for permission to BE, still.

For so long, I tried to receive the kind of attention on my body that would make me feel safe. I looked to you, brothers and sisters, to affirm that I was okay.

Except for today.

Today audacity came before trying to look nice, be nice, and be accepted, as my naked body tore through the lines of observers who were not there to see me. In fact, I became an obstruction, a block, in the line of sight of a body of work burning down. I received a booo as I rose to stand against the grain, to defy an expectation that the best way to be is within the confines of following the rules, like the rule that “thinner is better,” or a size zero is better than a size six.

I rose in a cultural landscape that celebrates radical self-expression, which emboldened me. Still, I did not hear applause as I rose; but I cheered inside my mind. To be inside this skin is to be bold enough to be witnessed and to take action in the name of growth, by my choosing, against the grain of externalized self-hatred.

My sister cheered me on, watching, and as protestors to my desire to stand in front began to complain, she got up close and said “Don’t worry, this is for a really good cause.” My sister, whom I used to use as the standard to which I would most harshly compare myself. She was there, and later when I saw her tears I realized how impactful it is to be transforming so boldly in front of someone who knew so much of my struggles about body image.

With the competitive mind I cultivated as a defense mechanism with my sister, at Burning Man I also experienced the pangs of desire of having other people’s bodies. “Radical self-expression” became another kind of prison in my initial interpretation. I thought I needed to look sexy or cool, using the costumes employed in this landscape to experience acceptance in expression.

I can’t seem to escape the proclivity to compare, but I can curb the act of comparison by the act of love and the refusal to reflect on our unspoken agreements to keep our structures of defensiveness or towers of conformity up.

I stand for embodiment, to embrace my sisters and brothers even in disapproving eyes, and even when I shed my judgements on others.

Let’s burn our judgements down and stand in the truth of radical self-expression.