"It is strong how you can feel this kind of reconnection, I feel the presence, the weight, the scars, I can feel it, it my fucking womb and it is powerful. It is not really light, my story, sometimes I am scared thinking ‘my body is strong, my body is strong’, because I need to take care also... sometimes I feel this.
It sad, my story.
The first time I had menstruation I was with my father in my uncles house for the Easter festivities and celebration. I was ten, I was really a baby so it was really very unexpected. I was playing with my father in the bed, jumping around, in the morning time, waking up and at some point he says ‘Nica lets call your mum’; I had menstruation.
I started to cry because it was clear to me that if I had menstruation I could not go to the sea side in the summer, to bathe and to swim in the sea. So I was screaming, desperately ‘I want to go to the seaside, I want to swim!’
Actually one of the teachers at school, just a month before, showed us a book with some strange, at that moment, but a strange picture of vagina, panties, things that at that age you cannot understand at all.
So this is the beginning of the story, at one point I was in a dance school and our teacher would weigh us once a month to see if we were fat or thin enough. I started to stop eating for some time, then my menstruation was not coming. It was a big interruption, because I was super thin, with no energy. Then eventually started to feel better and put on weight, I moved to another city for university and I began a relationship with a man, who I would describe as borderline, but I was too young to understand it, I felt I needed to help him. He was using drugs, cocaine, heroine, he had no family to take care of him since he was a teenager, so he had a lot of trauma. He was selling drugs and the police took him, I paid for him, for the lawyer, I took care of him because no one else wanted to. I called his mother and said ‘look this guy needs help’ and she said she could not, so I felt responsible to help. After one year, I decided to stop the relationship. It wasn't a relationship, I was just helping this man and when I spoke this to him, he didn't really accept it.
I was by my house, there was a little square and I was sitting with a friend, a male friend, we were simply talking, but close to each other. He saw this image and thought we were together, that I had been cheating him or was in another relationship already. He had the key to my house because I hadn’t yet asked for it back, at the end of the relationship we were crazy with that, so, I thought I would wait some time and then ask for the key back.
One night I was sleeping, and he came into the house and abused me, he started to beat me while I was sleeping so it was not possible for me to break this thing or defend myself. In this tragedy he abused me and he destroyed my vagina. I was living with some friends and one came home, finding me naked, full of blood and we made our way to the hospital where they rebuilt me with a little surgery. After that my uterus, and my womb was completely different.
I started to live with this part of me as something completely strange or foreign.
Firstly because of pain that you have, to take care, to put medicine and then because of the pain which is pain in another sense. My menstruation was blocked again and I didn’t menstruate for two years for the trauma that I had.
Another process began, the connection to me, myself, as a woman, to have menstruation, to have a womb. In the beginning I was very angry with myself, I was angry that I couldn't anything about it and toward this man.
It was the beginning of a long process with myself, I had to do some rehabilitation for my perineum, for this zone (points hands to womb and vaginal space) and it was hard. The sensation at the time felt that this part of the body, my womb, my genitals were in front of me but no longer inside of me. It took a long time to recognize these parts as my parts again and to feel neither dirty or guilty for that.
The process was going on, and six month after this situation I met contact improvisation, as a practice, as a dance form and it became my life. I can see the constellation of events; there was something really big which happened about trust, and about touch. It was big in another sense; as a dance practitioner, because I was dancing again, there was a big wow in coming back to my body, finding that it was possible to trust in the relationship, in the contact, and to trust in the whole process. I guess that something new already started there.
Now, after ten years, I had something in my womb, a little dark spot that I have to take care of and control, every six months. The trauma is still inside, this thing was really too big to support and so there is still some trace of it. I spoke to many therapists and it is clear that this thing in my womb, this dark spot, has developed from trauma and the search to create protection from the inside.
I also had a meeting with Jodorowsky’s son Christobal, he is a psychologist studying psychomagic, researching what is the process of psychomagic. I went to him and didn’t really talk, I just said a few words and he said ‘okay, so I guess we need to work in your way to be your woman’.
He gave me some homework. The homework was to paint my portrait with my blood, on the first day of my blood and to hang this portrait on the door of my apartment, so when you came into my apartment there was this bloody face of me. Then I had to wear a skirt everyday for one year, no pants. And the last thing; I had to go to an old market, where they are selling old things, antiques etc. and find these old coins, old money and put them into my vagina inside of a condom to ‘purify’ the vagina, I had to search for a particular metal etc. and this experience, it was great. Again with my trauma, with my story, it was important.
Since I was really a baby, I thought, and I imagined that I want to become a Mum. I imagined myself with this super womb, with these super tits, pushing from the tits milk for everybody and to be naked all the time, showing to everybody I am pregnant with these tits and this big womb containing. Now I don’t know what I feel about it, it is something I see much further now, and at the same time I feel much more connected to myself, my story, my womb and all that I have been through. What was there and is there. It is also to meet that we don’t have to conserve something, but just to process it and bring it with us. It is not that if you have something like that, like me in your story that you don’t work, and you cannot bring it with you. It cannot be that tomorrow I wake up and this never happened to me. At some point I wanted for this to be true, to delete it. Actually, I have some black spot about his face, his body, I don’t remember a thing, I don’t remember this man, my memory has changed it.
It is strong how you can feel this kind of reconnection, I feel the presence, the weight, the scars, I can feel it, it my fucking womb and it is powerful.
It is not really light my story, sometimes I am scared thinking ‘my body is strong, my body is strong’, but I need to take care also, sometimes I feel this. I don’t tell this story usually, because it is difficult to see the reaction of or on the other. Maybe I will never finish the process, but I have had time to stay with it, years and years, but when I talk about it, usually I am heterosexual, so usually I meet men and when you describe this to a men he is either overly sympathetic or freaked out.
Now that I am inside the contact (dance) community it could be an amazing thing to put this into the collective, to say and to put it into the conversation that this side (of touch) is possible, but for me it is impossible to talk about with many people.
I don’t feel I can say it still, so I guess that this is also part of the process, to feel safe when I tell it. It is also not always necessary to say it, but it is question I ask myself. Last year a friend asked me to participate to a conference, or meeting about abuse and violence. She is from an association of women, but I didn’t. I was starting to ask so many practical questions; ‘how many people?’, ‘how will it be?’... it was not necessary to tell, like a story ‘once upon a time...’, so maybe also for your project I feel safer if it is written and there is not me talking about it, so when you showed me the project and I saw how you were doing it, I said I want to do it and with you I feel safe, I feel a door between us, I feel easy to speak with you as if we're friends for many years. I feel if I fall there is a big pillow.
I had no sexual relationship for a long time, I was scared. If I felt something toward someone there was a ‘no, no, no, I cannot’.
This process overlapped with meeting one of the big loves of my life, with whom I spent six years, so one of my longer and most important relationships. I can still feel the ache in me, and how it changed me. Due to the two things, the process with my own body as a dancer and the process with this man when I met him, he was so careful and sweet with my body.
My menstruation came back and I started to put my womb and my genitals back into my body, back to the right place where they have to be.
Sometimes now, I still have images of that time, of that moment. When I had this abuse, he tried to kill me with the fingers of my neck and if you look now very closely you can see traces, but before the marks were more obvious and very clear (points to sides of the neck). Some years ago, I had a relationship with a man who was super egocentric and when we would have sex he would often take me in the same position, holding my neck, the place where I had lived this story. He knew this, this man, and I was freezing, thinking ‘what is going on?’ and he would say to me ‘I’m different, I’m different’
and this is also violence you know?
This is a way to have power, to think you have power and to use it. So traces are remaining, because things are happening and not all of the people are sensitive.