Second, you will think differently about the word ‘heart’ when you’ve finished reading this blog.
This part of my story began in 1988 at a relationship workshop. I remember exactly where I was sitting when the speaker said “When the lower heart is abused, the upper heart shuts down.” It was an enlightening moment for me. I’d never heard anyone call my vulva a heart or lower heart – yet I knew it was true. It also made sense that my upper heart would be affected by what happened to my lower heart.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I’d done all kinds of therapy to heal from what had happened to me. I’ve been a ceramic artist most of my life, and I knew as soon as I heard that quote that I would use clay as yet another way to heal: I would sculpt labia in clay.
It was an empowering and, yes, a healing process, resulting in my feeling more connected with my body, and more positive and loving toward my vulva.
I’ve never stopped. Sculpting labias in clay continues to be a joyful experience. I lovingly sculpt each piece. In creating these sculptures, I realized that the True Origin of the Valentine is a woman’s lower heart. Our upper heart is shaped like a fist. While no two labia are alike, and all are sacred and divine, many have a “heart” shape.
Over 40 years ago I helped found a rape crisis center and learned and taught self-defense classes. With attention and services finally addressing sexual violence, we thought the incidence of rape, domestic violence and incest would fade away. They haven’t! (It would take another blog to discuss the intense backlash against feminism.)
This got me to wondering what if people did not need to fear rape, abuse and violence – We’d have so much more energy to dismantle patriarchal systems of domination. From this chain of thought I coined the phrase “Happy Labias = World Peace.” It’s clearer to me now than it was 40 years ago that boys are sexually abused at high percentages, and that trans people and people with disabilities are abused, violated, and assaulted (as well as murdered) at much higher percentages than cis females…violence affects us all.
“Happy Labias = World Peace”: self-confident, self-loving, setting-boundaries, passionate people, everyone, everywhere, are needed to keep the planet from imploding. Our most urgent life task is to love ourselves so deeply that we can love the whole world, and put that love into action. Love is a verb.
As Audre Lorde wrote years ago: self-care and self-love are revolutionary acts in themselves. I encourage your own self-loving revolt.
(For more Audre Lorde quotes: http://www.azquotes.com/author/9041-Audre_Lorde)
Have you heard the song “What the world needs now”? Andra Day does a great rendition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNQ3vgKNO1g