Preparing a conversation with women of all ages and walks of life in Sophiatown, centred around questions of security, self-consciousness and strategies and tactics of networking and making sure oneself and others are well and happy, I came across this piece of writing by Audre Lourde about the power of the erotic and find it healing, right in the middle of the sick societies we live in today. Wounded, a friend keeps repeating. Last night at the local petrol station a stranger of my age grabs my arm. I want you to help me, he says. What he wants is possession. He exercises this form of shameless appropriation of privacy and the disrespect for the unity of another being that is so deeply entrenched in patriarchal ways of seeing this world and which will never cease to make me sick and leave me surprised. It might sound minor, but every transgression of personal freedom and integrity leads to another. For sure. So I am looking forward to listening to other people’s voices on ways of being well and together. We only can heal in the acknowledgment of all our ways to feel and to know.
Here is an excerpt from Lourde’s writing>
The erotic functions for me in several ways, and the first is in providing the power which comes from sharing deeply any pursuit with another person. The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.
Another important way in which the erotic connection functions is the open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy, in the way my body stretches to music and opens into response, harkening to its deepest rhythms so every level upon which I sense also opens to the erotically satisfying experience whether it is dancing, building a bookcase, writing a poem, or examining an idea.
That self-connection shared is a measure of the joy which I know myself to be capable of feeling, a reminder of my capacity for feeling. And that deep and irreplaceable knowledge of my capacity for joy comes to demand from all of my life that it be lived within the knowledge that such satisfaction is possible, and does not have to be called marriage, nor god, nor an afterlife.