Attention: People With Body Parts is a body-positive initiative with an emphasis on book-making, letter-writing, and collaborative projects. The project started in 2012 when more than forty people were asked to write to their fingernails, their skin, their cancer. These are the parts that carry stories and histories that layer our lives. They make the individual self-construct and self-destruct, and ultimately make us move.
Throughout this summer, we are working towards our next book, Portable Homes. It will have an emphasis on survivors of domestic violence and intersecting communities who have been told or forced to believe that their bodies are not safe-spaces. From now until August 8, we are collecting letters that survivors have written to one of their body parts to publish in a book about reclamation. Below is a beautiful and brave letter sent to a belly button:
Dear Belly Button,
At seven years old, I was convinced that you were the breathing hole for my future baby. I was too afraid to cover you, afraid to hide my future baby’s mouth—afraid that she would feel stuck like my wrists under the blue sheets on that night our stepfather uncovered you.
I wanted you to be able to breathe, to spit out the words that his wet tongue whispered into you like a wishing well. To spit out the bones, the tongue, the cheek; your story is anything but tongue and cheek. You are real; you tether me to four generations of women whose wishes echoed into someone else’s mouth. You remind me of my future baby: the one that knows that his words, his hurt, are not a secret.
Breathe slowly; I will never cover your mouth. My lifelines and un-brushed hair, my beautiful wrists and crisscrossed toes have all heard the news through your wavering breath.
But you survived.
Stay with me
For more information on our letter-drive and Attention: People With Body Parts, please visit one of the following web-sources: