I have a weird relationship with my body, but not in the way I imagine most women do, poking and prodding at excess flesh around their midsection (except, of course, when I do). No, my failings have always been less visible, I hold them in my chest.
Everything starts and stops around my heart, pumping blood into my lungs. I've spent my whole life mistrusting my body because it suffocated me. Time and time again I had the wind knocked out of me, simply because I wanted to play in the dirt with the other kids. I never thought I had any athletic capabilities because team sports required more cardio than my exercise-induced asthma could handle.
I missed more school than the allotted amount most years until college. When I got to university my mom had to drive up to Boston to take care of me within my first semester. I missed the biggest snowboard trip of the year, I was hospitalized my first time in altitude, you get it. My body just has never really performed in the way that keeps up with my passion to move.
So I think about myself as not having body issues--who cares how it looks, does it function? Because you might look at my body and see strength, but I see shortness of breath. That's part of what has been so revolutionary for me about yoga, I learned how to breathe better, deeper, more fully. I can expand my diaphragm wide enough to house my breath of fire and I can tap into my core strength in ways I didn't even know existed.
To say I've been frustrated with my body this past week is an understatement. I never understood why somebody would risk their body in a physical occupation, you get hurt, it's part of it, but here I am. So I've been better this year about protecting my workouts with safe movements, but then a stupid little bike tumble? Are you serious? Give me a goddamn break, just a few scratches, move along, kid.
But something shook loose inside me when I fell off my bike last week. This feeling of betrayal, dammit body, you're doing it again. I thought we grew out of your failings, but here you go again. Okay ankle, you're gonna swell up now. Damn, those bruises are such a pretty shade of indigo. Dammit dammit dammit.
And just like anything, I continue to listen, to learn, to pray and pray and pray for more compassion in my big ole heart. The heart that has the capacity to love and fuel many, but doesn't take the time to soften for myself. So I spent days in bed, glued doing this thing people call binge-watching TV, I even picked up a novel. And now that I'm starting to feel like myself a bit more I'm bringing back waking up dancing, singing in the shower and writing until my hand (or my nubby little thumbs) grow tired.
I'll keep shaking all of that shit out until I can find that expansion in my ribs once more, when I find my home back in my body again. Oh, and I stop being so damn serious. I can be a really serious kid and sometimes I just need to be a kid. This body is the only one I've got and sometimes it needs maintenance, freedom of expression and rest, daily, and I'm working on that last bit.
So once this silly saddle bruise heals up you can bet your ass I'll be back on my bike commuting again. You can't get much more literal than that.