well what can this body do?
a stinging nettles love story
On a chaotic Uber ride through Miami, I cried in the backseat of a stranger's car while looking out the window as unfamiliar buildings, cars, and palm trees passed us by. My lover provided his hand and silence for comfort. Our airbnb was supposedly only twenty minutes away yet for some reason this driver took the long way making our trip one hour.
But I needed that hour. And Yes…I was tripping on mushrooms and yes I did indeed receive the full download of the secrets of the universe.
I was told, we are here now as incarnate beings so we must simply allow ourselves the knowing of an embodied experience. What can we come to know with our body now that can help support us in our journeys across multiple timelines, in multiple worlds, and when we leave this fleshy form?
Sometimes when I feel lost, I ask myself, “well what can this body do?” and usually the answer is some variation of to feel, to love, to touch, to fuck, to create, to relate, to rest, to witness. And then I either feel extremely grateful or downright overwhelmed only to later arrive back to feeling grateful once more.
My relationships to plants brought me back into deep connection with my body and have to thank my sensual relationship to Nettles for supporting me through that, which was a gift that I was able to share with a sweet friend recently.
Nettles (Stinging Nettle, urtica dioca) is a tall leafy green plant that grows among disturbed areas often along creeks in the Northeastern United States and other places. It is highly nutritive full of vitamins and minerals and can support the kidneys, skin, and skeletal function. I worked with them a lot to help with pandemic induced burn out and general depletion. My relationship with them begin through the careful act of making an infusion, which I would do overnight to extract all the minerals. It would always produce this deep green color which is now my all time favorite color. Nettles has fine hairs on the leaves and stems that release formic acid upon contact. Many people who encountered the plant accidentally during childhood seemed to have adverse reactions but me, a curious adult, felt very intrigued…so I decided to try growing them this year on my patio.
And I found that I could not stop touching them. The sensation was unlike anything I had ever experienced. And beyond just being a tool for kinky exploration (which is fun and enough in and of itself), I also learned more about urtication. Urtication refers to the deliberate stinging of the skin with nettles often used to help with pain control through pain-reliving and anti-inflammatory qualities that come from the chemicals released on impact. I could talk about Nettles forever (and often do) but I go more in depth in a Nettles workbook I created that will be released sometime in 2023 perhaps alongside a series of activations (wink wink shared body)
For my first erotic exploration through visual technologies, I decided to craft a scene that explored power dynamics, boundaries, bondage, human and other-than-human collaboration, and the pain / pleasure / medicine relationship. I have not often been the one directing another from behind / while attached to a camera. And what I realized was that there was this doubling effect - the scene within a scene. The scene of a photographer and the one photographed, the scene between a rope top and the rope / nettle bottom, and then of course the extended existing relationship between me and my friend that contextualizes this experience. All which left me so much to think about but for now, I’d love to just express gratitude in the space that photography allowed for me to communicate my desire to engage in adult play and exploration.