Skin: a boundary, organic, emotional, even semantic. Skin holds the self intact, yet is permeable. Allowing the body to stand as its own entity and spread into other bodies and spaces simultaneously. My voice spreads into a space, enters ears, bounces off walls. My finger prints, the heat of my body in this chair. Where do I end? Where does the other begin?
While practicing Pilates, I envisioned my body–what I often view as a solid mass–as a layering of skins. Like a (sweet and salty) onion. Epidermis, dermis, tendon, muscle, fat, organ, bone, marrow.
The body is a tree: concentric circles marking growth. My bark (epidermis) like a tree’s bark, protects and sheds. It breathes in and exhales the space around, the amoebic body of molecular space. I inhale oxygen, one of the bodies that permeates my current sponge-like shell. My layers retreat and expand in response to this gaseous corpus. All this happens on the surface of my body.
While moving between poses, I now consider the interior membranes, the older, therefore more heavily blanketed–the organs, muscles, bones. I direct muscle to glaze the spine which undulates, rounds, curves, as if responding to muscle’s heated breath. The interaction between muscle and bone mimics the interactions between exterior skins, how a limb or hair might respond to the touch of another limb, a finger, a droplet of water. Expanding, contracting, retreating, relaxing.
The muscle and bone press together and caress each other, flexible brawn fusing with my dependable, yet delicate skeleton. These two elements of my body, as a leaf responds to sunlight, literally dance, pressed against each other in silent conversation.