in collaboration with on being in your body (from november 2017)
dear body: a love letter
i don’t know that i’ve ever thought much about what it means to inhabit you. or how to understand our relationship. or about the ways i feel connected to you. or not. the ways i have been good to you. or not. the ways i listen to you. or not.
i never felt compelled to know you with any sort of intimacy. maybe recognizing how much energy knowing you would require of me.
but i suppose there are seasons when your body asks more of you. asks for more energy. love. tenderness. it has been one of those seasons. and you have asked more of me. as you began speaking in ways i could no longer ignore. i would wake up - every single morning - with the feeling that you were imploding, being torn apart. starting from this place in my stomach. sometimes my legs would shake, incessantly, when i found myself in the midst of conflict. and other times, no matter how hard i tried to focus, i could not plant my feet on the floor. could not do the thing that might help me feel grounded. remember that time i thought i might be going blind because of how viciously that pain in my head raged? or all the times my hands would flood with sweat? or how, more often than not, in therapy, you’d be folded and curled and contorted in a million different ways on that couch - trying to find a position that made you feel safe? do you remember the number of afternoons i’ve had to put you to bed because you could no longer manage to be out in the world? i wonder often if i am dying. if you are dying.
and i’m learning that a lot of me doesn’t feel connected to you. that maybe my refusal to know you, to care for you, to respond to you, will ultimately be the reason for your death. i’m learning that sometimes you feel like a costume. or maybe a cage. i feel trapped in you. suffocated by all the ways i don’t understand you. by all of the messages you’ve sent that i missed. and some days i hate you for it. for the suffering. and the pain. and for all the ways i don’t know how to heal you. or for all complicated and scary ways that you ask to be healed.
but then some days, i feel grateful that i have finally begun to see you. and hear you. that i’ve learned how to recognize and name your pain. grateful that we are learning how to speak to one another. grateful for all the ways you teach me to be present in the world.
i suppose, maybe even on the hard days, i’m just grateful that you’re mine.
with love (and tenderness),