top of page
Bella & the Beast.png

Welcome Aboard!

--"Izzy, how did you start dancing?"

--"What got you into martial arts?"

--"What kind of dancer/martial artist/writer are you?

--"How do you deal with brain damage, bodily injury and 

     C-PTSD, yet still dance, write, train, live the way you do?"

--"How do you still find joy and beauty amidst pain and loss?"

--"Wow, you should write your memoirs!" 

    This Is My Story

NSFW, 18+

  • Writer's pictureBella Dancer

ART(IST) MUST BE BEAUTIFUL - The Agony, the Bliss, the Transformational Healing Power of Art

We've got some VERY adult art going on today. And not only because there are (gasp!) boobies in it. Board this ship at your own risk. We do, however, serve fabulous dessert. I promised you more glorious crystals, and crystals you shall have by the end of it.


She sits before the vanity, brushing her hair. First, she smooths it downward from her crown to hide her face. Then she brushes it back. Once. Twice. Thrice--but hard! There is ferocity there. A fierce determination to annihilate every snarl. Her eyes harden. Her jaw sets. This is important work. We may have no idea just how important it is.

We are the vanity.

We are the mirror.

She sits facing us in classic black-and-white, but she is not looking at us. She is looking into us--into the reflection of herself made by this mirror.

She speaks. “Art must be beautiful.” A rich, resonant voice with a mellifluous tongue sculpted by her Serbian upbringing.

She answers. “Artist must beautiful.”

Her eyes wander off into the aether of thought for a second, then return to the task at hand. She continues brushing. A center part now. Her strokes grow softer. So, too, her eyes. Here, the thoughts shine through more clearly, weighting her expression with the memories behind them.

The brush snags. She jerks at it. Just a little movement. Enough to break her instrument free from that defect. Enough to break apart the snarl so that proper smoothing may ensue.

Her work resumes with more vigor.

She speaks again. “Art must be beautiful. Artist—ugh—” Another snag that must be forced from existence. “—must be beautiful.” Pain squeezes at her brows—the inner pain, more than the outer. Is that a touch of sorrow she allows us to glimpse? She is naked, here before her mirror.

Her stroking speeds up. A rhythm now. And a pause to gather strength. Her eyes shut as she pushes the mantra into herself so that those words shall pour forth automatically from her lips and pores and arms and legs—

Oh, legs.

Forever thighs.

And ass.

And that belly with its—no!

Those remain hidden from us like her more northward unmentionables, eternally scrutinized and compared. Eternally labeled “not enough” or “way too much.” More than a handful is a waste, remember? Perhaps she is blessed with “perfect” up there. Perhaps she has “the world’s greatest ass” but we will never know for she is seated. Curves matter not today. At this moment, she is perfecting The Face.

She’ll get to all those tummy-tuckers and those butt-cheek-puckers later in her rainbow-striped shorts and knee-high athletic socks. (This is the mid-70s, man. Not yet the era of the Jazzercise Babe in a leotard-verging-into-thong over tights. That is yet to come.)

For now, she is naked and she is brushing and she is chanting what she must. “Art must be beautiful. Artist must be beautiful. Art must be beautiful. Artist must be beautiful. Art must be beautiful. Artist must be beautiful. Art must be beautiful. Artist must be beautiful. Art must be beautiful. Artist must be beautiful...”

She chants and brushes and brushes and chants for a full forty-five minutes and three seconds. Is it enough? Can this ever be enough to hammer it into her? Can she ever be enough? Oh, but now she's too much. That needs to be adjusted.

Easily done. She is, after all, Queen of On-The-Fly Adjustments.

Okay. Maybe only a Princess. Countess? She's got such a long way to go. That's all right. There's a mirror here at this vanity and it will dole out exacting reports of her progress. She studies those reports, tracks the details in a zigzagging graph and color-coded pies, then formulates her plan of attack accordingly.

Sometimes her brush flies, and with it, her hair. Sometimes those bristles crack against her skull.

Rhythmic! Flagellating! Insistence!

Is she whipping her lathered flanks as impetus to keep going? Or is she punishing herself for her slacker's transgressions? (She knows what she’s done.)

Now the brushing slows. Now she coaxes herself into belief. Eyes soft or eyes closed, her luscious lips part and her head tilts at that angle.

You know which angle I mean.

You love it when she wears that angle. Surrender. Dare we say submission? Her ecstasy is clear as her strokes grow languorous. You love her languorous stroking, too. You love it when she works that magic on you, like you love watching her work herself over in that rhythm.

The rhythm of “YES.”

The rhythm of “OH YES.”

The rhythm of, “Ohhhhhhhhh…" and "Oh—ah! Ohhhh, yessssssss…more. Please more. Please, may I? Oh, I need more. Your gaze. Your reserved, approving nod. Your withholding, validating whiff of a smile. Can it please be reserved for me? Can I ever be enough to hold your attention? Oh, yes! Yes, please, more? Please want me and only me and always me, forever me. I need you to want me like I need you because I can’t breathe if your eyes aren’t on me, shining with approval!”

But today there is only her reflection. There is no approval here, so her eyes grow dark. Her face hardens once more. Snarling lips. Hateful sneer.






And lightless.

She could tear out her hair with these strokes, leaving bare, pinpricked patches like that old dolly flung around by her mean big brother. He whipped and banged Dolly against the walls until her long, blonde hair broke free and she tumbled to the ground.

He stomped on her just to make himself feel better. Booted her into the wall, then strutted away with his nose in the air and his sneer radiating triumph.

He taught her that sneer. Her second boyfriend taught her another. The third one taught her how to wield ice-chilled knives in her eyes when she faces that mirror. He taught her how to stab them straight into her heart with the quickest glance of “NO” as he shoved her off his lap—completely off the couch, onto the floor.


She landed on her hip. Hard.

“You don’t deserve my love when you act like this.”

(Like this: she was crying.)

And so she brushes her hair diligently. Her eyes widen like those of a child. A little girl—a good little girl. If only she was one of those. Oh, how much easier it would be for him to deal with her. He could just spank her and send her to bed without supper when she gets out of line, instead of having to negotiate with a fucking woman. Fucking argue with a woman. Put up with her eternal fucking back-talk. Because she’s always out of line. She can’t help it.

She’s still breathing.

And so she brushes. And brushes. And chants. Her chanting grows frantic. “ArtmustbebeautifulartistmustbebeautifulArtmustbebeautifulartistmustbebeautifulArtmustbebeautifulartistmustbebeautifulArtmustbebeautifulartistmustbebeautiful...”

She does eventually gift us with a little more of her nakedness. Spanking and spanking and spanking her skull with that brush until AAAGH… Enough. Panting, she flings herself upright and now we can see more. Are you moved? Are you reverent over this act of supreme vulnerability as she allows us to see her like this?

Or are you judging the size of her tits?

(Don't worry. She judges them more than you ever could.)

So how 'bout it? Are they big enough for you? Did you imagine yourself palming them and comparing them to all the other tits you’ve latched the full span of your hands onto because it pleases you?

Maybe it pleases her, too. One would hope. Maybe she likes the way you palm them. Or maybe, if her breast-size is correct enough, what she likes best is the pleased, gratified approval shining down from your gaze. Then she can look into the mirror, judge the size of her tits against all those other tits she sees, and imagine them in your palm to confirm that, since you are palming them with pleasure, they must be more perfect than hers and hers and hers and the ones he surgically had grafted onto his chest.


His are better. Rounder. Plumper. They don’t sag without a bra. They’re not lopsided, and he's way prettier in the face. Tell her, Mirror-Mirror, isn't it a universal truth that, if she's not the fairest, she's worthless except as a service-drudge? (She really doesn't want to be a service drudge.)

And that nubile girl over there with nary a wrinkle and nary a gray hair who doesn’t even have to brush her pixie sport-cut to look that glamorous when she first lifts her head off the pillow—she woke up like that. Her titties have never breastfed anybody so they still smile perfectly at attention for us as she chatters before the mirror. (Don't ask her what she's hiding below her navel. She wishes she could slice that fucker off, but she'd never dare admit that. She'd get flamed as a faker and lose her following, which means she would lose her apartment, just when she got herself free of them.)

She also doesn’t have that one weird, inverted nipple that always takes coaxing to let itself be seen—heaven forbid, touched. The thirty-third boyfriend called it “cute.” He laughed like it was a delightful joke, but there was a steak-knife in his voice. It made her nipple wish it could be sliced off and traded out for a better one.

They’re all better out there. All those versions of Other Boobies and Other Asses and Other Thighs and Other Faces and so she brushes her hair and she chants the mantra.

Doesn’t matter. It’ll never be enough. No matter how hard. No matter how soft. No matter if she grits her teeth and keeps her eyes on the prize, or if she opens and surrenders to it. Loves it. Craves it. Needs it. It will never be enough because she is never enough and she is always too much and so she brushes.

And so she chants.

And so she brushes.

And so she chants.

And so she brushes.

And so.

So there you have it. That was my reaction to the 1975 video performance art of Marina Abramović. (1-6) This piece is called, if you haven’t guessed already, “Art Must Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful.” And yes. I was being literal when I said it is forty-five minutes straight of her looking at herself in the mirror and brushing her hair, saying the same thing over and over, while spanning the gamut of emotions these two phrases evoke in her. (2)

Now you know what she evoked in me.

If you'd like to stick with us, then settle in. In the fashion of today's Muse, this one's going to go on for awhile. And awhile more. And a little longer. It's a lesson in endurance. Multilayered. Dichotomous.

Like her arts.

I remember first hearing about Performance Art when I was a kid. (6) This medium received a lot of disparagement. There was a lot of eye-rolling and sniggering by people who didn't get it. (There still is.) "That's not art!" people would snort. (They still do.)

When Marina Abramović speaks about being an innovator in this artistic medium that was at first called "ridiculous," and while describing the birth of it inside her, she says that she had been a black sheep all her life. That she had felt the need to rebel against everything and everybody in order to create her own space after enduring abuse. (1)

"The worse childhood you have, the better artist you become, because you have things to work with."

Granted, not all art comes from this place. Not even all the best art comes from this place. But a bunch of mine does, and I relate to her sentiments down to my core.

As a performing artist whose career has spanned nearly thirty years in an industry based on—not merely beauty, but youthful beauty (in spite of its slogans to the contrary)—this piece about the mirror hits me where I live. It also hits me as a female-presenting person in a female body. It hits me where I have been The Dog and it hits me where I have been “THAT: such a fine piece of meat."

Unfortunately, it even hits me where I have been touched reverently, devotedly, lovingly, and where I have been “the loveliest creature I have ever beheld in my life,” because if I’m not lovely, if I’m not pretty, if I’m not beautiful…

Why the fuck does anyone want anything to do with me?

I've been diligently trained all my life that there are only a few viable reasons, many of them self-serving. Apparently, beauty is even a prerequisite for friendship with a lot of people, which has never made any sense to me. Hence why it baffled me to learn that the opening search in Bumble's BFF setting to discover friends, not romance and sex, is made via Tinder Swipe.

What in THEEE literal fuck?!

Then again, I remember this phenomenon from when I was one of the "ugly girls" trying to make friends. I especially feel it infiltrating the interactions with heterosexual males who say they want to be my "friend," yet they'd never seek out so much as a conversation with me if they didn't find me sexually attractive.

I’m not rich enough to bypass “ugly,” remember? I'm not kind and sweet enough to topple "visually repulsive." Haven't you told me over and over that I’m not intelligent enough in the prescribed ways of specialization and mastery to overcome “homely”? I’m not skilled enough in some medium where you don’t care what the person behind it looks like because you’re not looking at them, you're looking at the product.

Nope. I’m a dancer. So I AM the product, as well as the medium through which it is produced. I AM the art. My looks are the canvas and I am the paint.

Would anyone have ever flown me across an ocean or even a state line if they didn't enjoy how my visual translation of the music lands in them through the sensations of their eyes--in other words, if they didn't enjoy my looks? This is not a slam on my hosts, producers and audiences, calling them shallow. This is simply the nature of dance. It's a body-based visual medium.

And no. Beauty is not remotely one of the primary things that people love about my dancing. But my smile is. If I didn't have a bit of beauty, I doubt I would have had a dance career. My skills in dance are not astounding enough to bypass "visually repellent." Heck, I almost didn't get hired for the show that catapulted me onto the international stage because I was "too flat-chested" and "too muscular."

Many people do See beyond my body and appreciate my looks--the ones that shine out across the auditorium or cut through the lens of the camera to touch that place where we’re all naked.

Others only see that my ass isn’t what it used to be. Half a century compounded by pandemic isolation-depression-inertia-meh will do that to an ass.

As though the sight of my undimpled, unsagging, hard-yet-round, dented, quarter-bouncy butt is a commodity you are entitled to for the simple act of being kicked back on your couch/mall bench/bucket seats as you throw popcorn: either at me or into your mouth to signal your dis/approval of how hard I work to keep your dopamine levels up through the gluttony of your eyes.

I am no great, staggering beauty, but once I turned about fifteen, the scales tipped. Over the course of a couple years, there were suddenly fewer people who were repulsed by my looks than there were people who found the blending of my parents' genes appealing to their eyes.

Now that I'm over forty, can you name which compliment is the single most popular one I ever receive?

It's that I've preserved my youthful beauty so well.

Yup. People of every gender and age say it. I get it in dance, online, in martial arts, while I'm taking a walk on a trail. I even get it when I'm in sweats and a ponytail at the grocery store, and sure. It does feel good. It's nice. Thanks.

But I am so much more than my well-preserved meat and my staying power against my inevitable expired shelf-life in the store of societal value.

It is a well-known fact that, in many circles, females are societally invisible and "worthless" without youthful beauty. (At least, we hope we're invisible. Because when we're not, we're targets for ridicule and abuse.)

Sometimes this invisibility and worthlessness extends to our sexual availability as well. The moment I'm yoinked off the single-and-available-shelf...or the moment a male "friend" finds someone to boink and doesn't need the water-treading substitution of my attention anymore...or the moment they finally get it through their heads that boinking is not going to occur with me...



Now that I am over forty, I experience firsthand what my elderly female friends have always described. Unless it's a day when I'm lookin' gooood--and sometimes even on days when I am dolled up--I am starting to become invisible. Ignored. Brushed off as invaluable.

In many ways, it's actually a relief, and not only because of the lessening of sexual pressure and harassment. More so, it hammers home, without any sex-circus preamble or flirting hoopla, the reality of that other phenomenon I've experienced for my entire romantic and sexual life: that the moment someone's sexual interest in me dropped, their genuine feelings about my worth were finally exposed.

The reality is that, without sexual attraction, I HAD no worth to many of them.

All those hours they spent reading my fiction. All those dance shows they attended when they couldn't have cared less. The long walks, listening to me babble about nature and joy and pain and wonder. All those times talking about life and geeky stuff and the sweeping nuances of the universe into the wee hours.

All revealed to be bullshit.

Hooking mechanisms.

Dangling lie-lures to get my mouth around their worm. It's the same with all those compliments. I'm not very good at receiving those anymore. Not because I disbelieve them. Oh, no. I know what I look like. I know what I'm good at. I know what kind of person I am. But compliments rank right up there with rapt attention, as though my personality and thoughts and gifts were something they'd been "waiting for all their life."


Can I tell you how exhausting and sad it is that it takes going all the way to bed with someone and producing the almighty First Ejaculation of Truth in order to get them to show me who they really are and what they genuinely want from me? At least I don't have to wade through a teeming swamp of that anymore, because the attention is simply not there. Now it's just a small, ankle-high morass. A stinky little puddle I have to splash through on occasion.

Much of this puddle comes from guys in their 20s who think they're going to remind this old, used-up Hag "what it feels like to be sexy again."

Blink? *shifting eyes...stifled snigger...fracturing composure...*



The other primary demographic is men over 65. To them (particularly when they think I'm 35-40), I am the equivalent of that 20-year-old, giggly sports-car-of-myself to the middle-aged guys who used to crowd me and fawn over me and try to take me under their wing. No surprise. Look at the age gap. It's the same generation of those guys.

Apparently the kindest thing, the most generous thing anybody could ever do in my world would be to cross a room or parking lot or lobby to tell me how beautiful I look.

If it was simply an altruistic complimentary act, that would be fine. But they obviously do this with some sort of expectation, because my initial thanks is rarely good enough. They almost always feel the need to reiterate the compliment--more emphatically and at a closer proximity to my body. Several times.

What is that?

Because that feels anything but complimentary. It's certainly not altruistic. It just feels invasive. And presumptive.

If moving in for a conversation was merely an opener to explore who I am inside this flesh--in other words, if I'm available, interested, and we'd make a compatible connection--I could take the compliment and applaud the bravery.

But way too often, it's not. Usually, they're more concerned with getting meathooks synched around my curves than they are in connecting with the person who actually lives inside said curves. In fact, there are a great many attempts to ignore that person in order to keep enjoying my body.

Sheesh, if I'd just shut up, I'd be so perfect. If only I didn't have thoughts. Why can't I just be a blowup doll with three vacu-sucking holes to provide a variety of sensations? Just fold me up when you're done and tuck me in the closet until you have a use for me again.


Now that I'm almost an Old Hag (I really kinda love being an Old Hag FYI), the compliments have transitioned from how GOOD I look into shocked adulation for how YOUNG I look.

Yes, indeedy! This battle against my inevitable "worthlessness" as an "old woman" has officially become my most widely hailed accomplishment in life.

✊ Woo-fuckin-oot. ✊

Personally, I think my greater feat is my ever-growing amount of experience, and how young at heart I still AM.

This pas de deux with the mirror has been one of the hardest, and most worthwhile dances I've ever learned: to truly gaze into my own eyes and not flinch away from what I see there.

To stop berating, flagellating, and trying to make myself "this enough" and "that enough" and "better," while still eternally endeavoring to be a better version of myself than I was yesterday.

To ensure that my opinion of my reflection is based solely upon who I want to be, regardless of any "should" or "should not" from outside myself.

And that at the end of each day, even when I can't get the smudges cleaned off my mirror, the most important thing is to get right up close and snuggly with who I find there anyway.

Some days, I'm the only one who's willing to do that.

I'm also the only one I can ever count on to do it as often as I need, for as long as I have breath. People move away. People change. I change and other people don't. People die. People get sick and have no spoons to offer me. Some people are just fickle. So in the end, if I learn how to do this—if I learn to love doing it for myself—I will always at least have one person I can count on.

Even when I let myself down.

Especially when I let myself down.


The mirror is one of the dancer’s greatest tools. It is also one of our crippling detriments that we have to battle every day to not become dependent upon. The same is true for the female form in general.

Heck, the same is true for the male form. The stereotypes, prejudices and unrealistic expectations abound--Come on! WTF. Where are my six-pack abs, motherfucker! I can’t bounce a quarter off your butt either, and your face is not the current standard of Gorgeous. How dare you lose all that luscious hair! Why can't you look like Thor? Oh. And FYI, I also judge the horses under your hood and the plumpness of your bank account the way my tits get judged, and let me assure you: when it comes to bank, I don’t know anybody who says, “Naw, man, more than a handful is a waste,” so get on that because otherwise you're not worth my time.

And you over there. You could be soooo gorgeous if-only, but no. There you go, failing to provide the epitome of either masculine OR feminine beauty. What THE fuck were you thinking, mixing your mediums where other people have to endure the sight of you?

And you? Pfffft. You were just painted in the wrong hue. Oh. And your silhouette is all wrong, too.

So all y'all who are currently breathing in a human body: Don’t you dare put up IG pics, go walking around in public, or make art that isn't pretty, uplifting, positive, and Fakebook perfect in all the prescribed ways.

Or we’ll ban your ass.

You just never know. Maybe we’ll do far, far worse to you.



Yup. I'm in one of my moods again. What can I say? I found some crystal sculptures at Crystal Bridges. I posted a photo of them. Somebody commented with a link to the artist brushing her hair in front of a video camera. I fell in lurve and fell down a rabbit hole. The art had some impact. Then my mouth started talking, which means that some reactionary art needed to be made and the keyboard needed to be finger-banged.

After that, nature. Stillness. Silence. Bliss.

I told you we'd get to the crystals. Let's start with another part of the Crystal Spring at Crystal Bridges.

Say it with me now:


Marina Abramović doesn’t only stir the pot with her art. But rest assured, when the Grandmother of Performance Art stirs, she's capable of wielding a sledgehammer. "Art/ist Must Be Beautiful" hits hard enough. There was also that time where she responded to the widespread opinion that Performance Artists were nothing but a bunch of drama queens vamping and panhandling for attention.

In response, she determined to do nothing except stand onstage as a living clay doll to be molded by her audience. Before her was a table filled with seventy-two objects: a glass of water, a rose, paint, lipstick, a safety pin, a feather, a hammer, scissors, a gun with one bullet...

The instructions:

"There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me as desired. I am the object. During this period I take full responsibility. Duration: 6 hours."

For those six hours, she let her audience do whatever they wanted. ANYTHING they wanted with ANY one of those objects or their own bodies. At first they were hesitant. At first they were creative and polite. But later, when they’d become bold?

They were still creative. But they stopped being polite.

The act of intimately engaging with humanity like that for such a protracted period was so harrowing for her that, by the end of it, she'd acquired a streak of gray hair. (3, 4)

Decades later, during "The Artist Is Present," she engaged intimately with humanity in a completely contrasting way. For three months, she sat in the same chair for eight hours a day, eye-gazing with person after person after person. Her life was changed by this experience, and so were some of theirs. (4)

Eye-gazing is one of the most powerful phenomena I ever have ever known for connecting with other people--and other creatures who possess eyes. It's been one of the most powerful ways in which I have ever connected with myself as well.

She also closed her TED Talk this way. The talk was called "An Art Made of Trust, Vulnerability and Connection." At the end she asked her audience to gaze into the eyes of a stranger for two minutes. (4)

There is power in the gaze. It can heal, and it can destroy. That's why that mirror is so potent. That's why sitting before the vanity of the Like Button hits so hard.

In her art, Marina Abramović has a lot to say about human nature, its darker aspects, and its astounding brilliance. That's one of the many reasons I love it so much, because she continually dances with dichotomy, and she asks the hard, deep questions. She intimately tangos with her fears and with her pain, then uses the art to learn and to transport herself into something greater.

As she says in her TED Talk, and what she espouses at her institute:

"We are always doing things we like in our life. And this is why we're not changing....nothing happens if you always do things the same way. But my method is to do things I'm afraid of--the things I fear, the things I don't know, to go to territory that nobody's ever been. And then also to include the failure. I think failure is important, because if you go, if you experiment, you can fail. If you don't go into that area and you don't fail, you are actually repeating yourself over and over again. And I think that human beings right now need a change, and the only change to be made is a personal-level change. You have to make the change on yourself. Because the only way to change consciousness and to change the world around us is to start with yourself."

Fortunate me, I can go out pretty much any day I like and work with the interactive art of this extraordinary being. I can go learn from her and heal in person with her creativity in one of my favorite places on earth.

The piece is called "Standing Structure for Human Use." It lives in our familiar North Forest at Crystal Bridges. (10)

The first time I ever worked with this piece was when my mom and I visited the museum in June 2019. I had just re-torn my meniscus and was days away from heading to that revolutionary women's retreat in Spain where they had to drive me down the mountains when I first arrived, but I ran up the hill on the last day.

Discovering these crystals in my own back yard was just one among a myriad healing techniques that I stumbled into that summer. (7, 10)

When I work with these crystals, I always allow them to tell me which ones I need and for how long. They to me. This is a thing I don't talk about in detail all that often, but it's how I decide what goes where in my house. It's how I decide which martial arts studio to train at, which tarot card to pull, or which route to drive home. It's how I choose my bananas and which color I need to wear on any given day.

Once a crystal trio has called to me, sometimes I stay with it. Other times, I migrate here and there as new ones beckon. Sometimes it's my front that needs to stand with them; sometimes it's my back. Each trio is different, and each crystal within those trios are unique.

Fortuitously, when I stand with my back to one of these sets, the crystals jut precisely into the three primary injuries that plague the right side of my back:

  • The lumbar issue that messes up my right hip, and that put so much pressure on my knee that the meniscus tore.

  • The electric-jolting spot between my right shoulder blade and my spine, which corresponds to the sharp sideways jag that the vertebrae take.

  • The place in my neck that, when it would get out of alignment, used to cause the backup of my cerebrospinal fluid, resulting in seizures. It still gives me chronic spasms and migraine caliber headaches, but it's slowly getting there with every month that we repair the reverse-curve and horizontal swing.

When I have the North Forest mostly to myself, sometimes I spend a lot of time in this spot. This is not a place where I like to be watched, but it happens. Some people look at me like I'm weird for standing there so long with these crystals. I am weird. 😈

But there is power in the elements of this planet, too. Nature is Art. Art is Magic. Nature and Art combined with the intention of the mind create Alchemy, and I believe that this has the power to alter universes.

Of course, what do I know? I'm on disability, twice divorced, monetarily destitute, wracked with injuries from foot to skull, and I've been booted away from countless communal fires over the course of my life.


Is that a tragic tale? Or is it a greater destiny than the one I would have chosen for myself in all my chasing and striving? These most painful of travesties send me into the woods. They send me into myself. They nudge and push and even boot me into places like this, where I listen. Ask. Hear. Answer.

Thank you, Marina, for all the healing you bring to yourself and thus to the world. Thank you, in particular, for this healing gift right here in my back yard. You are a crystal. You are a gem.

The Artist visits her sculpture


--UP NEXT: Okay. I'm finally ready to tell you about what happened after the Satyr Incident. Let's get it over with, shall we? I AM NOT AN OBJECT - More Rape & Death Threats

--OR: Why art matters and why artists are dangerous to bully regimes. (Both the international ones and the ones dominating the dinner table.)

--OR: If you don't want to go back down to the Underworld, you can find all my art adventure photo galleries HERE. The nature photo galleries are HERE. Some posts, like this one, fall under both categories.

--OR: This is not the first time I've written about me and the mirror. I detailed the day I learned this eye-gazing lesson in WABI-SABI - THE BEAUTY OF IMPERFECTION: Learning To Love That Person In the Mirror



1) Body of Art: who is this astounding and controversial performance artist?

2) Marina Abramović - 4 Performances 1975-76

  1. Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful

  2. Freeing the Voice

  3. Freeing the Memory

  4. Freeing the Body

3) Her weighty descripton and photos from Rhythm 0 - the shocking piece where she subjected herself to her audience's whims for 6 hours as a living doll.

4) Her TED Talk: An Art Made of Trust, Vulnerability & Connection including her description of that night she allowed herself to be used as an object by her audience, her experiential institute and "The Artist Is Present."

5) Marina Abramović Institute

--Her Wiki

6) What is Performance Art? - according to the Tate

--And according to our She-Ro of the Day

--Performance Art

7) Crystal Healing: A powerful natural resource or pure bunk? I do not possess the proper scientific equipment to test these things myself, nor do I believe the human race has yet developed the scientific equipment to properly assess every ancient healing technique available to our universe. Therefore, when I use crystals for healing, I use them as a focus point for meditation. Because the mind? Now that sucker can deliver the miraculous in ways I have personally experienced. It is a mysterious tool. It rarely works in the ways I think that it will. Except on the days when it wants to surprise me. Or play a joke on me. Or be very, very kind and generous. Thus I am constantly running experiments. I'm a geek like that.

8) Body Image

--Battling Our Bodies: Understanding & Overcoming Negative Body Images

--An Illustrated Account: What historical ideals of women's shapes teach us about women's self-perception and body decisions today

--Alok: A Gender Non-Conforming Performance Artists of Color chimes in on Body Image

--"I'm Supposed to Be Thick" - Managing Body Image Anxieties Among Black American Women. A study on racialized standards of beauty.

--Body Image: Office on Women's Health

--The Superhero Effect: Impact on Male Body Image

--For Queer Men of Color, Pressure to Have a Perfect Body is About Race, Too

--The Truth About Being A Girl

--I could go on and on. There are so many. Too many. Your turn - shoo, go hunting.

9) The Social Mirror

--Social Media and Mental Health

--How Can We Minimize Instagram's Harmful Effects?

--This is Your Brain Off Facebook

--The past, present and future of body image in America

10) Crystal Bridges

--What is Crystal Bridges? My home away from home.

--That time faerie lights came to the North Forest

--The day when I geeked out over all the theater tech that created the faerie lights


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page