Reading the body

Paul
September 22, 2016

If you want to understand how grisly US president-elect Donald Trump really is, you don't have to listen to a word he says. Instead, try this experiment: go to Youtube and look up any of the videos where Trump is speaking. I recommend you choose one of the Republican candidate debates but any of them will do. Then turn down the volume. That's the real eye-opener. 

Not just the cloud of hair that looks detached from the rest of his body, and from which lightning might strike at any moment, but the infantile pouting, the restless eyes always looking to make sure he is being looked at, his hands – particularly the thumb and index finger – his stance, the way he holds the lectern as if he intends to copulate with it: you see immediately the preening, the smugness, the vanity, the self-satisfaction but above all the barely contained violence. It's quite frightening but it also convinces me that we cannot escape the truth of our bodies - what they tell us about ourselves.

As a massage therapist I've learnt to read a lot about people just by looking at their bodies. I can see defeatism or resilience in the way someone holds their shoulders. I can see timidity or bravura in the chest, whether a person is generous with life or is reserved and needs to open their heart. I can read hesitancy or confidence in the hips or the arms, anger or patience in the angle of their jaw. I do not judge. It's a privilege to have people come to me and allow me to work on their bodies. I like to read their bodies in the way a blind person reads braille – the association between blind people and massage is an ancient one. 

Our bodies reveal so much about ourselves. We cannot hide, even if we wish to.  

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