The Body Pastiche

I love words. I learned to read later than most children but once I figured out what all the fuss was about, I was captured. I read non-stop and collected words that I didn’t know for further scrutiny. That fascination increased over the years as I have come to appreciate the nuances of words, like shades of color layered to create and recreate meaning.

A college professor and friend who is a wordsmith extraordinaire introduced me to the concept of co-opting words: altering the meaning of a word or phrase and then using it for your own purposes.

Co-opting words and their meaning has become an integral part of how I think about and describe the human body. The complexity of the physical, the energetic, and electrical components of the body, not to mention the even more ethereal aspects of being human defies description - no words are available in the English language that capture the intricacies of the body.

So, being the enterprising sort, I chose to co-opt a word from my college communication studies days. The word is pastiche – you artists may be familiar with the idea of pastiche.

In the art world, it refers to a style that imitates another type of work and is usually meant to be flattering rather than a knock-off. A pastiche can be a collage or patchwork of images where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

In the communication world, pastiche means to blend and rework a particular type of communication. For example, the 80s Star Wars series is a pastiche or blending and reworking of the old television westerns, and most Quentin Tarantino movies use pastiche with extremely violent overlays.

The Body Pastiche describes the human body as more than a collection of individual parts. We are a collection of many pieces - many substances that exist in various forms outside of the human body and come together to form the collage of humanness.

Microbes in our intestines make our guts work smoothly, calcium and sodium are intimately involved in sparking our internal electricity, and without water we would be dried up bags of bone.

Each of these elements, and hundreds more, exist apart from the human body and yet come together in a biologic collage or pastiche that is so much more than the individual pieces.

The Body Pastiche is a very specific way of looking at the human body and its interconnectedness. You cannot achieve health by addressing only one part of the whole. Health is achieved when all the pieces of being human - the physical, mental, spiritual and all that lies between - operate in concert.

NOTE: Oakhurst resident Virginia Eaton has been a life-long health and fitness advocate, holds a Masters of Kinesiology, is a certified personal trainer, and behavior change specialist.