I recently got this wonderful little book called A Guide to Writing Yourself. It’s about the concepts of embodiment, disembodiment, the connection or lack of connection to your body. It explores all the things surrounding these concepts.
This was my next step, the thing I needed and didn’t know it.
I’ve had issues with all this for as long as I can remember, which is no surprise. But I’ve never really been able to connect with someone who knows how to help me. Emotionally, I’m in a pretty good place. Physically, I still seem stuck.
This book is giving me everything I need right now. It’s asking all the right questions, saying all the right things. It’s both breathtakingly and simplistically beautiful, and also really really difficult to actually think about (and answer) the questions it poses.
The question I’ve been thinking about (it helps me to just take one at a time, and I chose the first one that caught my attention) is: When do I feel most embodied?
This is an interesting question for a person who has spent most of her life out of touch, physically offline, a body escape artist extraordinaire. I’ve been ruminating on it for a day or two.
It would make sense for me to come up with an answer that has to do with something pleasant. Like taking a bubble bath, or eating a really delicious meal (sadly I’m not a foodie), or smelling a field of lavender. But even though those things are mildly pleasant for me, they are not when I feel most embodied.
It finally hit me this morning:
I feel most embodied when I’m uncomfortable.
This is the truth, and I know it in the depths of my being, because of the fact that I am just so good at escaping when things become too painful. Slipping out and away from my body when I reach the limits of my pain threshold is so natural to me, it’s automatic.
But when I’m just uncomfortable, that escape hatch hasn’t been triggered yet.
This answers a question I’ve always had about myself even from when I was very young: why do I make such a big deal out of a paper cut, but feel nothing when one of my insiders slashes my whole damn arm with a razor blade? It’s because the paper cut is uncomfortable, but not enough to push me out of my body. So I feel it even more intensely than I feel stronger levels of physical pain. Obviously the self-injury is much more extreme, so it doesn’t take long for me to flip outside myself and not feel any of it.
What I hope to discover is how to invite myself – however slowly it needs to be – to come back, and stay. Even though it feels dangerous and scary, and to be honest downright common (I have enjoyed my super powers at times), I want to return. For good. With everything that that entails. The wonderful, the horrific, the mundane, the uncomfortable. Because as much as I have appreciated my body’s incredible ability to protect me from more than I could handle, I’d like to take back that burden. I am strong now, and I can handle it.
My body, in all its glorious imperfections, deserves a rest. And it deserves to start experiencing pleasure, not just discomfort.
I am ready.
I highly recommend checking this book out if you feel that these topics resonate with you. Please note that if you’re not ready, that’s totally okay. There was a point where I didn’t want to have anything to do with my body – I didn’t want to talk about it, think about it, or even acknowledge that it existed. It’s okay to be wherever you are.