I have been reading a few books that inspire me to create dance about my adoption experience. It has been really helpful to free write in rehearsals in order to generate images that I can translate into my group work. I have been reading these books in particular:
- “The Primal Wound” by Nancy Newton Verrier
- “Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption” edited by Jane Jeong Trenka, Julia Chinyere Oparah and Sun Yung Shin.
- “Parenting as Adoptees” edited by Adam Chau and Kevin Ost-Vollmers
In the “Primal Wound”, Nancy Verrier writes that “Many doctors and psychologists now understand that bonding doesn’t begin at birth, but is a continuum of physiological, psychological, and spiritual events which begin in utero and continue throughout the postnatal bonding period. When this natural evolution is interrupted by a postnatal separation from the biological mother, the resultant experience of abandonment and loss is indelibly imprinted upon the unconscious minds of these children, causing that which I call the ‘primal wound.”
I have been fascinated by images of being in utero, and what a baby may experience there, as a way of remembering or reclaiming a piece of myself. I wonder if my body remembers more than I know. I have been developing movement in the studio in which I articulate the textures of warmth, skin, buoyancy, growth, and show a knowingness of connection to a being that surrounds me. I have been experimenting with using light to suspend my body in a way that creates a mirrored reflection of myself, an image of replication and connection.
I am interested in how to make this moment a form of travel, or right of passage. I have also been playing with images of twins in utero, and how the most intimate place one could be is in creation and growth with another. And what does instinct look like? The intuitive knowing of home, origin, and wanting another? What does it look like for an all body and all sensory experience to know it wants to be close to another?
It has been so inspiring to read, for the first time, perspectives of adoptee voices in “Outsiders Within.” So many books I had access to growing up were mostly from other perspectives speaking on the behalves of adoptees. And therefore, they never quite hit home for me. As more and more adoptees are coming of age now, the more our voices are beginning to reach out and have impact. I finally took the big leap and spat into a tube with Ancestry.com, and one month later, I found out I have 45% Native heritage. I finally saw my reflection when reading Shandra Spears piece called “If I Pull Away” :
“Sensing, but truly never knowing that I was Native
But as an adult woman, a native woman, slogging away,
Wrenching my life back from the white direction imposed by 3 generations of cultural genocide,
Struggling to be the grandmother and great-grandmother
Of a Native family that was supposed to fade away.
Racism and classism and international systems
of oppression create situations in which
babies are moved around.
And it gets covered up under the myth
of loving, white, middle class 1st world adoptive parents,
Who are themselves struggling,
And we are all supposed to be very grateful,
while we struggle to make sense of our lives.”
~ Shandra Spears “If I Pull Away”