Where do I begin writing, in two-dimensional words, about the infinitely dimensional body?
How do I translate into words on a page an experience that is so tactile?
Perhaps I should start with my own body. As I write this, my body is laying in my bed, where I’ve been for the last several hours, preoccupied with an intensely hot pain lodged in the space between my navel and my pubic bone. It’s here to not-so-subtly remind me of all the work being done inside me, without my action or effort or need for consent. Like the breath, it is powered by an unknown energy, and I am wholly unaware of it the majority of the time.
As I turn my gaze to my external form–my arms, my hands, and my legs–they look the same as they always have. I recognize their shapes as the shapes I’ve seen every day of my life. Only their color changes throughout the year, becoming a deep tan in the summer months, then fading to a paler shade as the days get shorter. Because of their familiarity, I also see the ways in which the shapes and topography are changing. I see softness in places that used to be firm. I see tiny wrinkles in places that used to be smooth. I see the signs of that simple tiredness that comes from the work of life and living day after day.
When I was younger, I treated my body as if its purpose was to be in service to my desires. I let my mind take the lead and whatever it wanted to do my body would oblige–and my mind wanted to do many things. Over the course of years I learned how to ignore the voice of my body and the signals it would send me in the form of intuitions, or the request for rest, or the hunger to be touched, or the desire to be pleasured. It all became a quiet whisper that I casually pretended I did not hear…
But instead of continuing to shrink its needs smaller and smaller, my body has begun to talk louder. The fatigue becomes so intense it cannot be denied and I must become still. The pain becomes so unbearable that I must sink into it and accept it and sit with it until it feels the weight of my presence and agrees to let go of me. With certain recurring pains, I have cultivated a relationship so intimate that I know all of its edges and shapes. I know just how to calm its rages. In short, I am learning. I heed the call when it asks to be moved, to be stretched, to be touched, to be cared for. I am realizing there are days when it carries me, and there are days when I must carry it.
I come back to that burning orb in my belly and I try to wrap my head around it as it wraps itself around me–overtaking every other thought. I breathe deeply, reminding myself that it’s just another sensation–neither good nor bad. It is part of the experience I wanted when I made the decision to come into this life in female form.
And so as I begin this journey with you, I know it will not be a passive commentary, but an exploration of a mercurial relationship. Like any relationship, its evolution it is a process of discovery. Of peeling back the layers. Of enduring conflict. Of learning what it means to be a better partner. Of learning to ask for things and learning how to give.
I believe that our bodies are the physical manifestation of our thoughts and beliefs and therefore serve as a mirror to our inner state of being–that eternal part of ourselves that comes to experience life in physical form in order to know the beauty and deliciousness of this time and space. And I believe that when we begin to become curious about our bodies, they become a teacher and a vehicle for our self-actualization. I’m so glad you’re here because it means that you too are on this journey and that I am not alone. I hope you can feel by being here that you are not alone, too.