Open and closed. April 2012. Moscow
“This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.” Franz Kafka, Diaries of Franz Kafka
What could be a good reason for having extra fat around my body? Maybe the extra weight of my body helps me to be less open, protects me from sexual claims or any claims? Extra fat in my culture is such a distance maker. So, today I decided to look into the topic of openness and distance.
I remember, when I was twenty, I loved visiting strip clubs. I was also fascinated by the dancers’ openness. I saw their bravery which was inaccessible to me in my everyday life, a daring step beyond the bounderies of decency. There is nothing new in a naked person. But this bravery, to show one’s most intimate parts, impressed me a great deal, and felt new!
In everyday normal life, we Russian people look closed, gloomy. As if our face says: “keep out!” We rarely smile and rarely express our thoughts directly. Of course we are very expressive when we drink, but usually we look cold, closed and distant. And I never liked this about us and about myself. I always liked that easygoing California style of smiles and hugs and small talk…I love openness!
And how about the distance?
I looked into myself, trying to find a good reason and a good point in what is called “being closed”. Why do I do that? I got up, hugged myself and looked down. This posture usually helps me to keep distance from people. What is good about it?
- I think I often keep quiet and do not express my thoughts or ideas to give space to others. Yes! It is so rare when people yield to others in my culture, in Russia. During the past years, I have almost completely stopped speaking out in social events, thinking proudly of myself, thinking that not having my own position is much better…somehow cooler than being opinionated like everyone around.
- I often keep quiet and do not express my thoughts or ideas. But feel big pressure to do that. I feel I have to, but very often I just need more time than others to formulate them. My words do not just flow, it’s not easy for me to express myself. I need to feel first, to get in touch with myself. I do not want to be superficial.
How interesting! I actually like both (closed and open state), and see a good point in both being “open” California friendly style and being “closed “my Russian deep style. But somehow these two styles do not work well together in my life. I have to go from one culture to another to have both. Well, it’s not entirely true. Now, I go to psychological seminars instead of strip clubs. There I find both — openness and depth. There I learn to speak out and be more in touch with my truth. But still it feels a bit artificial there. How can I do that in real life, everyday life, so I will not need to have a glass of wine to reach that “open state”, to have a flowing conversation with people?
I close my eyes and ask my body for creative help. I’m making a gesture that represents openness with my left hand, and with my right hand a gesture that represents something more introverted, closing myself in a way. How could two energies live inside me without conflict and find their place in my everyday projects? I move my hands, walk around the room. I am trying to feel those two truths, find a rhythm between them. It feels like a dance. It is fast and playful and then slow and meditative. I am doing it more and more…until I congruently feel these two energies in my body movements. “What is the message behind this?” I ask myself.
— Xenia, express yourself courageously, loudly and fearlessly if you really have something new to say, if what you say facilitates and helps the atmosphere, just do it! And until then — keep calm and give space, support and possibilities to others.
Yes, it’s my choice. It’s a great suggestion! Instead of just reacting to my social environment, I need to give myself plenty of time, feel first my own truth and then express it. But it’s so hard to do that in the social world! We do not have a tradition of dialogue. How can I practice that? Where?
I keep moving around the room feeling these two states in my body, trying to think of an environment that would feel friendly to that way of being, match in a way. Maybe a hobby or project that could support me on a daily basis…Social networks! Actually Facebook could be perfect training for such a dialogue. Yep!! Great plan! I need to create a Facebook page where I can share my experiences, thoughts, ideas — support others in their visions, feelings. And I hope that this is how I can find my community. Not necessarily like-minded people, but people who are happy to write about their stuff, read others’. People who are interested in participating in a dialogue. Facebook can be a good safe place to say «no» to men, while remaining in communication with them. Maybe in doing so, I will not have to distance myself physically anymore.