Some days it appears we trudge around as galactic robots, as monochromatic wanna-be’s, as people desperately straining to connect with each other and the tattered versions of ourselves. It also feels like we don’t talk about this disconnection often. It is much easier to ask someone out for drinks or a lunch at a cool vegetarian spot than it is to ask them if they are in their body. Most of us would agree this kind of getting to the point is not the jam. And how would the conversation go anyway?
Hey do you want to go for drinks Friday?
Sure we've been trying to get together forever!
Good because I wanted to talk about you not being in your body. Love those boots!
What do you mean I’m not in my body? I am totally in my body. Look, don’t you see me in my body?
(This is the part where you use your experience and your imagination to decide what might or might not happen afterwards.)
“We’ve all been taught to walk around like have our shit together.”
I was afraid of my body because it did things I did not know it could do. I was afraid of my body because it did things I did know that it could do: Que, sumimasen, what chu talking bout Willis—say what? I was oh-no about my body because it included a map to places underground and beneath the sea. I was terrified because I couldn't swim even though my body is 70 percent water. How could I learn to float when I hated lying on my back? I was don’t touch in my body because it had a silent alarm. It had a false alarm. It was alarmed. My body was a place where the cops didn’t visit—where the address was mythological, purgatory, suck it up and pink quicksand. It is here in the oh-no and don’t touch that I decided that I didn’t have to be in my body. I decided that I would visit my body like the spirit of an old friend. I’d come check on me in times of extreme emotions. Pain made me envision my body as one big exit sign, my entrance always awkward, the wrong way and battling automatic trigger doors.
Fear of being in my body often boogie man-ed in the form of take me out, take me down, take me nowhere or…take me. I came to the conclusion after a take me out experience that I did not want a ball of trauma to throw itself between my breast, lymph nodes, uterus or colon. I did not want a ball of trauma to dribble on me. And how do you prevent a ball from bouncing its way (in)side?
I grew a beautiful ball of trauma. Her hair a tangle of betrayal, truth, fear and distrust. She came as a reminder that wounded, waiting for bad things to happen and severed limbs is not the way I desired to live. I named her Luna when I know for sure she was the Martyr I could not be.
You know you are in your body when you don’t misplace pieces of yourself like keys or a wallet.
When you tell people all afterglow and joy that you finally have arrived in your body they look at you as if you are blue sun or a newborn sock. When you arrive in your body you are okay with blue sun and newborn sock. You go around pointing at the blue sun and barefoot in your newborn socks. You are okay with pow and shazaam. You are okay with new pages in a sacred text. You are okay with mighty full instead of barely half. Lately I have been thinking about what I would tell people who may be experiencing running away from being present and in their bodies—not as a know-it-all but as an I-feel-you. I get it.
I decided I would say the following:
If you have to be in your body and you want to be in your body, you have to first hallelujah/knee slap/cabbage patch/high five/ booty bump/ yayyyy!, you are alive:
1. When you wake up do not complain or ask why you must wake up. Do not say you
Don’t want to wake up or that you hate days like this. Somewhere there is a woman hovering over her body on a day like this asking why.
2. When you take what you have been trained to think is a deep breath, go deeper still. Imagine your particular deep as not deep but parallel to a line with no start or finish.
3. When you eat, stop. Do not let yourself chew until the food has settled in the shape of your tongue. Ask yourself what did you do to deserve this food blessing? Tell yourself the truth—absolutely nothing. Give thanks. As you begin to chew honor each tooth. Even the ones you hardly see. Sometimes a back street molar gets no street credit, bonus marks or lettered accolades for having to be twice as hard, twice as strong and the most humble.
4. Tell your whole self it is divine. Do not leave out your anus or the dirty bottoms of your feet or angsty crooked toes. Do not leave out the lone hair or a cratered nipple or a fresh stretchmark on a not so new piece of skin. Say the word divine as if it’s a foreign language you desperately want to learn. Enunciation is the key. Divine. Take the word divine and add it to your hot drink, put it on your toilet tissue and wipe. Divine. Mix this word with your jojoba oil, slather it in your hair and on your elbows careful not to miss the place your false alarm used to be. Careful not to miss the oh-no and take out.
5. Do something that makes you feel wooo plus oh wow! The something cannot be a thing that gives you nightmares or a thing that makes you go the next day for a batter of test—rather this thing must make you feel the kind of proud that inflates on the inside. This thing must make you feel like first time flying with a new set of wings. These wings, ones you've been keeping in storage.
6. Feel something. Say self, what are you missing? Say self, what do you want to feel? Asking questions means you are alive.
7. Get naked for reasons other than showering, or sexual intimacy. Watch your heartbeat in the mirror. Count the number of beats for the length of time you are able to stare at your glorious body. Be in your body. Say, self I am alive.
8. Breathe. Remind yourself every hour to do so. Pretend this breathing and reminding every hour is a necessary medicine for a week. Not like take three of these and call me in the morning, more like take this every hour with water kind of medicine.
9. When you feel the sudden urge to mimic the dead—remind yourself you are alive.
10. Experience the kind of pleasure that makes you want to shout about it, write about it or tell someone about it. This kind of pleasure should be experienced without hesitation. This kind of experience is different than the alive experience mentioned in number 6.
11. Train your eyes to see beyond what you can see. You are already seeing the reflection of a thing—try to see the details in the reflection. Don’t just I see it, see. it.
12. Tell a truth. I do not believe a truth alone will set you free, but I do believe a truth will unbutton you.
13. Eat foods you haven’t tasted. Stop taking your taste buds for granted. They are alive.
Celebrate the way you would celebrate on your birthday only not on your birthday. This celebration has to clearly be labeled as a YOU celebration.
14. This whole in your body, be present task takes practice. It’s not easy. Some days are challenging and nonrefundable and require caffeine and extra patience. In fact you may read this on Thursday and be stoked! You may then turn around and read this on Friday and feel like it’s an infomercial for comfortable shoes or a hot cheeto diet and that’s okay. It means you are alive. You are in observation mode.
15. Try it for three days straight and journal about how you feel. Feel free to try these numbers 1-14 out of order.