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dear belly button – a letter from the attention: people with body parts project


By Tails Williams

Attention: People With Body Parts is a body-positive initiative with an emphasis on book-making, letter-writing, and collaborative projects. The international initiative is based in the United States – and soon to be Germany – has been featured multiple times in Lip as a feminist organization to look out for. Some of their upcoming projects include public art events in Chicago and Indonesia and a dance-spoken word tour around North America this January.

Throughout this summer, Attention: People With Body Parts is working towards their next book, Portable Homes. It makes space for 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, they 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 unbrushed hair, my beautiful wrists and crisscrossed toes have all heard the news through your wavering breath.

But you survived.

Breathe slowly,

Stay with me

With love,


For more information on their letter-drive and Attention: People With Body Parts, please visit one of the following web-sources:


Official website




One thought on “dear belly button – a letter from the attention: people with body parts project

  1. That letter is unbelievably moving and incredibly sad, and just completely rocked me.
    This sounds like such a great book to help people in a cathartic way.
    A different approach to looking at people who have suffered abuse and violence without making them look like helpless victims.

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