Vivre sa Vie

These are the seeds or the germ for a larger body of work in video or stage that I am experimenting with, exploring ideas about the female body as a theater for violence. This is my lived experience and something I want to talk about in my work. Eventually I want to move through these images and get to a place of empowerment, but for now I just need to spend a little time meditating on the fear that I have felt and the violence I have experienced as a woman and a survivor.

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The Title comes from Godard’s movie, My Life to Live, which was a formative work of art to me as a young woman growing up in Virginia under a shadow of violence, misogyny, and patriarchy. For me it was a vision of defiance and revolt, but it was still problematic in many ways,  locating the woman within the male gaze and perpetuating the status quo.

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I’ve been exploring some of these mythologies in my poetry and also interrogating the way in which I perpetuate the status quo in my own depictions of my lived experience–The poet TC Tolbert talks about the tensions he experiences as a trans man, where living as a male is personally radical for him, and yet, being a white straight male is not radical in the dominant culture at all and in many ways perpetuates the hetero-normative standard.

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I feel this tension, too in the ways that my own personal exploration of myself and my experience as a woman may reinforce the very mythologies I am resisting. Is appropriating the Femme subversive, or is it the same old tired stereotypes that reinforces patriarchy? I don’t know, but I’m interested in the conversation. I’m also interested in interrogating my own proclivities for violence, something that is a common reaction to trauma.

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