Dear Body

16 Apr

Dear Body,

Every now and then I am aware of you as something oh-so physical and separate from my thoughts and emotions, something meant to be lived in and used hard, and capable of surviving incredible things, and having an astounding capacity for healing.

This is not, actually, a letter about whether or not I believe in the soul. It’s a letter about corporal being, or maybe…being corporal.

Perhaps here I should explain what a complicated relationship we have. I really do appreciate you on a daily basis– the breathing, the eating and sleeping and heart beating. Oh the other hand, we often don’t get along. You often seem unhappy with me, and punish me with a stomachache or a headache, which honestly, make me not too fond of you either. Especially when I have spoiled you by doing yoga and biofeedback and not eating or drinking things I like and going to bed early and getting lots of sleep and such.

But every now and then– especially when you and I suffer minor physical ailments, I am slaphappy amazed at your ability to stand up and shake yourself off. Burns, cuts, and bruises: they’re all part of the record that we’ve been here. That life has been, you know, lived, and left its mark. There just is day-to-day wear and tear, and that’s great. It means we were cooking, or running too fast as children and fell, or really remarkably clumsy with cheese graters.

The other day I was in a coffeeshop across the country (duh) and came across a little sign that said something like, “The goal should not be to arrive at one’s grave in a perfectly attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways at the last moment, having thoroughly used your body up, latte in one hand and chocolate in the other, shouting ‘WHOOOOO! What a ride!'”

Because obviously coffeeshop signs are where I learn most of my great lessons.

But no, prior to that, I was also wandering around alternately cursing and marveling at my aching sinuses, and my neckache (to the right, just below the thumbhandle of my skull), and the way my stomach didn’t hurt even though I’d had 5 (five!) sips of wine the night before. And isn’t it fascinating, that if I stand very still and very straight, and breathe deeply, and stretch my arms up over head, I feel both very anchored and very tall, and I can feel everything inside of me– my liver, and my ribs, and my spine, and my worry about what happens next year, and my what-do-I-make-for-dinner, all take a break from being busy little working things, and stretch along with my muscles?

And if I look to my left elbow, I see the shadow of the burn scar from seventh grade when I was making churros, and the darker outline of the burn from September when I was making biscuits to go with the very first time I ever made fried chicken. If I look down, I see the little bones in my ankles that always get blisters from new shoes, and on my hip is a little round mark from a spider bite from four years ago…and, well, thanks for holding on through all of that.

I like that you are a time-marker, a history-keeper. We’ll just have to keep finding ways to get along– and even though I get mad because you seem more fragile than other people’s bodies, at least we’re good at communicating…right?

Bless,

MM

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One Response to “Dear Body”

  1. Mary Abrums 20 April 2009 at 5:38 pm #

    Ok. This is really beautiful and makes me sooo grateful for myself and my strength too!

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